The closer you are to someone, the crueler you can treat them, but if they love you, they’re inclined to forgive you. My Idea’s Lily Konigsberg and Nate Amos forgive each other now, but they were in a bad way when they recorded CRY MFER — which is not to say their debut album is some kind of sonic bum out. CRY MFER proves you can still make pop music while spiraling, as evidenced by the existence of “Breathe You,” a bop all about fucking Nate constructed while “high as shit in my room making fun of Justin Bieber,” the vocals of which Lily tracked while “blindly sad” and “genuinely devastated.” They’re best friends now, and they were best friends when they recorded CRY MFER last year, but they didn’t know that yet. (“We definitely were like, oh, maybe we're in love?” Lily recalls; it was a confusing time.) CRY MFER is the sound of two people figuring out what they mean to one another “in the midst of,” quoth Nate, “a bunch of other chaos,” up to and including being drunk as skunks; when listening to the album, Nate can “smell” the aforementioned chaos. “Thank God we're not those people [anymore],” Lily, with the clarity of newfound sobriety, marvels.
When not using the other party as an emotional punching bag, Nate and Lily used one another as a creative filter and sounding board. In life, as in art, they share a language, a hive mind, finishing each other’s sentences while lounging on Lily’s parents’ couch in the Hudson Valley. The duo joined forces in the Fall of 2020, when Lily, after a few years gobbing away in the punk trio Palberta, solicited Nate (who, at the time, was popping away as half of dance duo Water From Your Eyes) as a potential producer for her solo record; the subsequent songwriting competition that followed resulted in dozens of tracks and one EP, That’s My Idea. No strangers to productivity, Nate’s Water From Your Eyes recently released their fifth album, and Lily recently released her solo LP, both to high marks. CRY MFER is, true to the band’s vision, a beautiful mess of different sounds, completely and effortlessly genreless (though if pressed to label it, the band settles on “Truth or Dare Pop”). While a milieu of myriad styles, from folk to dance, the album’s main througH-line is truth, regardless of how much the expression thereof may hurt. Its lyrics aren’t “particularly diary-ish,” Nate says, they’re “a little more…” “Diarrhea-ish,” Lily jokes. It’s a reaction against the self-seriousness that runs rampant throughout indie music, which comes as no surprise when you learn the duo originally wanted to call themselves The Grammys (Why? Because when the two of them started working together, “we were like, we're gonna get a Grammy,” Lily says). They aren’t ashamed to admit they listen to Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, in much the same way they aren’t ashamed to use a vocoder or lyrically play the heel.
My Idea has only just begun, but already misery is in the rearview. CRY MFER is a punisher, to be sure, but it’s also a banger; reflecting on the time period during which it was recorded, Nate breathes a sigh of relief: “Oof. Well, we made it, and we got something out of it, too.” And so, dear listener, have you.
1. Cry Mfer
3. Baby I’m The Man
4. Lily’s Phone
5. Breathe You
6. Not Afraid Anymore
8. One Tree Hill (feat. Thanks For Coming)
9. I Can’t Dance Part 2
10. Pretty You
11. I Should Have Never Generated You
13. Yr A Blur