Photography Callum Harrison

Beabadoobee decodes every track on Fake It Flowers

The bleach-haired alt-rock queen breaks down the meaning behind all the songs on her debut album of Y2K bangers.

by Jenna Mahale
16 October 2020, 9:04am

Photography Callum Harrison

Beabadoobee is ready to lay it all out on the table. The 20-year-old Londoner is done pretending to be something she’s not, and she’s fully expecting to get some concerned texts about it. “My whole life, I've always acted so happy all the time,” she told us over the phone this week. “There's the bubbly Bea everyone sees, but there's so much that I've experienced in so little time, and it's affected me a lot.” Fake It Flowers, her debut album, documents that.

“I want anyone, especially other girls, to know it's okay to be annoying, it's okay to whine about your feelings, it's okay to be a bitch, it's okay to make mistakes,” she continues. “Just as long as you're yourself and you're comfortable.”

In the run-up to the big release, we got Bea to talk us through every gem of a track on her deeply personal first record. Expect future baby names, cathartic screams and tattoo references. Bea even has her “pete davidson” á la Sweetner moment -- although unlike Ariana, hers cryptically goes by the name of “Horen Sarrison”. Let’s dive in.

“This song is about a situation in my childhood that, through therapy, I’ve realised has affected me a lot as a young woman. So it’s me growing from that, and I guess not getting over it but accepting it as a part of my life. It really talks about the surface level of that. I chose to write about it because I wanted to get it off my chest, and it really did help.”

Worth It
“It’s about teen infidelity, really. It's about the mistakes one can make, not knowing what to do when you're alone, and relying on unhealthy habits. But then growing from them! I think when I wrote this song, it was almost like closing that chapter of my life.”

Dye It Red
“This one’s not about me, and I really don’t want anyone to think it’s about Soren! A friend told me this story, about what was essentially an abusive relationship. And it made me really angry, because this is just something that happens so often these days. At times, I feel like I've fallen into that trap, where I feel like I'm only doing things to impress my boyfriend. But every time I sing this song it reminds me that I am my own person, and I can do whatever the fuck I want."

Back To Mars
"I wanted an interlude moment in the album, something to kind of transition the mood to a darker, more personal point. I wanted it to feel very nostalgic. I’ve never been but I’ve always wanted to go to my boyfriend’s family’s house in France. I've seen pictures and it just looks so ethereal but so home-y at the same time? It just seems like a really peaceful place that would heal a lot of things.”

Charlie Brown
“There were so many points in my life where I felt like [self-harm] was the only way out of me feeling sad. I think it's because I was so addicted to it, and I was so dependent on it. It felt like it was the only solution to everything. And the temptation of doing that in really hard situations is what I talk about in ‘Charlie Brown’. I have a tattoo on my arm of a Peanuts strip. It was my first introduction to the idea of 'it's okay to not be okay'. And the friendship that Charlie and Snoopy have with each other is just so sweet. It's a nice reminder to myself that I have so many people around me that I can talk to when I feel sad.”

Emo Song
“This is like an in-depth version of 'Care', and it’s one of the most personal songs on the album. It talks about the same situation in my childhood -- how it’s shaped my view in life as a young woman -- trust issues and all that. I don't think I can sing it live just yet. I mean, we’re not going to be performing live for a while, so I guess I’m probably going to get over it by then?”

“‘Sorry’ is addressed to a friend. It's just the idea of not being able to be there for someone because sometimes it's too hard to watch. So this song is just an apology to that person, knowing what they could have been. This is one of my proudest moments on the album, writing that song, because it was really, really hard and so emotionally draining.”

Further Away
"This one's just about my experience in secondary school and the people who were mean to me, and just accepting and understanding that they're never going to know who I really am. I just realised that you can never get everyone to like you, but it's whatever. As long as your mom fucking likes you, you're good.”

Horen Sarisson
“I did this thing called a spoonerism, where I switched around the letters in Soren’s first and last names. I thought I was being really funny. It's just like six minutes of me talking about how I'm in love with this boy. I’m just super whipped.”

How Was Your Day?
“I think this is one of the most real moments in the album. It's actually one of the only songs I recorded during lockdown, and we did it in my boyfriend's garden with the help of his brother on a four-track cassette recorder. And I thought it made sense to record it that way, because the song is just so vulnerable. Living with Soren over lockdown, I just healed so much from everything that had happened on tour. The original lyrics were way more depressing, but like a second before I recorded it, I was like, ‘Crap, I'm gonna change this last lyric!’ Because my feelings had changed so much, and I felt so much happier.”

“I think I’m a very dependent person, and I always kind of need someone there with me. But it’s also trying to reconcile that with the fact that I am okay by myself -- I literally went on tour for like a year! But I’m really not used to being away from people I love.”

Yoshimi Forest Magdalene
“They’re the names of my future children. I mean, it would be cool to have three children, but I don't mind if I have one or two. I love the name Yoshimi because I love that Flaming Lips album. Forest is because I love Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. And Magdalene because there's a Pixies song called ‘Magdalena’, and I think it's sick.”

Fake It Flowers is out now

If you find yourself struggling with some of the mental health issues discussed in this article, call or text 116 123 to speak to a Samaritan.