BAER has just dropped her new EP ‘The Pink Formosa’. The record is a reflective piece on BAER’s personhood, unfurling her thoughts on who she is, where she comes from and the love she seeks. We invited BAER to unpack each track, in order that we might learn more about the inspiration behind her songwriting.
Waiting For The Fall
This song describes the struggle for balance between insanity and sanity of chasing dreams and living life to the fullest. It’s about flirting with the edge of life, of doing anything just to experience as deeply and as much as you can. Why do we do it, knowing that the next hit might cause us to completely crash? It’s about that peak of the high, when you’re at the very tip of it, but with one more push you might tip over and plummet down. I’ve been through so many extremes in my career as an artist – those super high moments when you create something magical and feel that something is on the brink of happening, but then another feeling comes along, almost like – if I put so much emotional investment into something, it could really break my heart if it doesn’t happen. And often it does.
Another example is when I’m so tuned in to my feelings that it sometimes completely takes over me. I almost wonder sometimes if I LIKE to feel crazy, to feel pain, to smoke myself into oblivion and laugh and cry because it makes me feel alive and feeds my thirst and creativity as an artist. I was also inspired by the lives of young legends that died, like Jimmy Hendrix, Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain, etc. It’s a continuous journey of balancing between my emotions and my mental sanity, because at the end of the day, I don’t want to die young. Overall, I feel like this is common sentiment among youth – high highs, low lows.
Musically, the song started completely acoustic. Roland and I really toyed over many different ways to produce it, as we had such a specific vision for it. It actually went through so many rounds and even different people, but it was never the exact sound I was looking for. I really wanted to blend an urban soulful sensibility into folksy singer-songwriter pop vibes, kind of like Four Five Seconds. I also spent a good amount of time on the vocal delivery and production of the song as I really wanted it to convey those emotions, and stand out as a unique element in this genre. Roland was really patient and really took the time to perfect the production of the song to my vision; it couldn’t have been any other producer!
This song paints a visual picture of the upcoming EP, The Pink Formosa. The lyrics use ‘the river’ as a metaphor to describe a meeting place between an ex-lover and I, which also refers to somewhere on my body…you get the idea 😉 Using the concept of the water and the river, I took imagery from the famous Chinese poet, Li Bai, from his poem about sending off an old friend at the river. I also took inspiration from an ancient Chinese folklore and tried to create a fantastical imagery in the bridge of the song.
For the production of the song, I worked closely with my longtime collaborator Zuric (who produced my debut single Breathe The Same) to dial in on the sonic elements and produce this oriental, flowy feeling. I also worked closely with video director Drew Kirsch to bring this to the audience visually, and our video captures styles of East and West. The music video of River gives my fans a glimpse of the aesthetic that I hope to create with The Pink Formosa.
What Does It Matter
I started writing this song when I took a solo trip to Ojai last summer. I was hiking up Meditation Mount, and when I reached the top and stared down at the vast scenery, with all these grand mountains and fields of green, I just had this sudden humbling realization that we are all part of something that is so much bigger than us, and that no matter what happens today, or tomorrow, or what happened five years ago, everything keeps moving and karma will eventually solve everything. So often, we focus our energy on the smallest, pettiest details and miss out on what’s really important in life.
When did we stop loving? When did we stop believing, stop dreaming? I hope this song will urge people to live their best, to their fullest potential, so we all move the world in a positive direction. Released as the first single, this song is an introduction to the rest of the EP.
“Tuscany” is a fantastical dream condensed down into three minutes and thirty seconds. It takes influence from the surrealist lyricism of Frank Ocean, the shoe-gazed guitars of Slowdive, and the hard-hitting immediacy of Drake. It tells the story of a nostalgic memory of the past – a setting so pure and perfect, but also unreachable, which BAER compares to “Tuscany”.
“Most Days” is an emotional ballad dedicated to my parents, who live in Taiwan, while I pursue my dreams in Los Angeles. It is the final track of The Pink Formosa, as a thank you to my mother and father. The piano parts are re-played by Marvin Marcell (Jack and Jack, Earl St. Clair), and the string arrangement was played and written by Ro Rowan (Lorde).