Lily & Madeleine
Keep It Together
Keep It Together is the sound of Lily, 18, and Madeleine, 21, asserting themselves as young women and very much coming in to their own as they learn to navigate adulthood and all that comes with it. On “For The Weak,” an upbeat, chiming slice of indie rock, the pair pines, “so I just gotta know/Is hoping for the weak,” while the sultry “Chicago” deals with a love affair in the Windy City. The album culminates with the devastating “Nothing,” that sees the protagonist self empowered after a broken heart.
Recorded at home in Bloomington, Ind. with producer Paul Mahern, who also helmed Lily & Madeleine’s lauded debut and sophomore albums, the 10-song record is a mature and dynamic statement from two distinct musical personalities, grounded and bound by kinship, that melds seamlessly into an ethereal and enthralling collection. With the help of friends and touring band members Shannon Hayden (cello, mandolin, guitar, Moog) and Kate Siefker (drums, percussion, guitar, bass), Lily & Madeleine take their songs into exciting new territory. Album opener, "Not Gonna," sets the tone for the album and serves as a confident mission statement both thematically and musically as the duo’s beautiful melodies and impeccable harmonies are buoyed by orchestral strings, electronic flourishes, analog synth, piano and a pulsing groove.
Keep It Together is our third full-length album and it’s a bit of a departure from our last two records. We arranged all the songs with our friends Kate Siefker (drums, percussion, synth, bass) and Shannon Hayden (cello, guitar, mandolin, synth). Working with a closer-knit team of just four ladies helped tighten our sound and unify each track into a complete collection. Our live performances with Kate and Shannon will be will be very tightly arranged because they were directly involved in the orchestration/recording process.
Lily and I wrote many of the songs separately and came together to revise/finish them. I hope listeners are able to see our unique personalities through our different lyrical themes. “Keep it together” is a lyric from the first track “Not Gonna,” which Lily wrote. This simple phrase has a lot of meaning to us: keep your shit together, keep our relationship as sisters together, pressure to keep our image a certain way as young ladies.
Women, and young women especially, are multifaceted, yet are often trapped in certain roles. As Nicki Minaj has said, "If you speak up for yourself, you're a bitch. If you party too much, you're a whore. Men don't get called these things." I admit I'm constantly afraid of saying something too "edgy" and offending someone or being "too nice" (what is too nice??) and not being true to myself. Lily and I started making music when we were teenagers, but we're adults now and we're thinking about the future. I don't want to be afraid of my future because I'm a young woman. I want to do my best to be my best and create kick ass art without hesitation.
One of my favorite tracks is “Nothing,” which I wrote. This song is a dramatization of personal experience. While writing this album I thought about my romantic relationships and friendships and considered how these bonds affect me positively or negatively (or both). I’ve learned a lot about myself through my musical career so far and these songs sort of look back on who I was a year ago and who I’m becoming now.
Keep It Together is the most personal body of work that Madeleine and I have created. It feels especially vulnerable to me because I was a lot more involved in the writing process for this album. Each song represents a moment in time that is either a past memory or an event that I could experience in the future: these songs feel just like little parts of me.
This album is very honest too and has a good mix of drama and simplicity. I wanted some of the songs, like “Westfield” and “Smoke Tricks”, to feel like simple and steady streams of thought, which balances out the drama of songs like “Chicago” and “Nothing”.
Along with reflecting on the personal bonds that Madeleine and I both have, I also really wanted to focus more on the bigger picture and write about the experience of being a white woman in America and a college-age kid in the 21st century. As I attempt to further discover who I am as an individual, the way society wants me to define myself is becoming clearer. It seems to me that young people are the same everywhere: regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic class. All young adults are in the same boat, trying to figure out what makes us individuals and trying to find our value in society. I see the same situations reoccurring within my age group: my peers are dealing with eating disorders, drugs problems, and abusive/manipulative relationships constantly.
Madeleine and I are used to answering the same unintelligent questions (“What’s it like being sisters?” “Do you ever worry about picking out the perfect outfits for your performances?” “What do your boyfriends think about dating someone famous??”), but I believe with this album, people will pay more attention to our creation instead of our appearances and our “story” as a band. I can only speak for my own experiences, but my greatest hope for this album (as with every album we make) is that people will continue to listen closely and relate.