Album Premiere + Interview: Maggie Gently – ‘Wherever You Want to Go’

Posted: by The Editor

Photo by Christine La

Maggie Gently’s Peppermint was one of my favorite albums of 2022, a tender, blushing half hour of catchy indie rock. Two years later she’s back with her sophomore LP; it’s called Wherever You Want to Go, and it might be even better. She’s already released a third of the record as singles: the jittery bop “Redecorate,” the soft and jangly “Sad Songs,” and the towering, breathy “Breakthrough.”

They already showcased a more confident, steadier version of the San Francisco singer, and they’re only scratching the surface. Many of Wherever You Want to Go’s best songs, like the swooning “Forever” and the tense, dreamy “My Problem,” aren’t out yet. Or, weren’t. We’re excited to bring you an exclusive premiere of Wherever You Want to Go before its official release tomorrow. It’s a great next step for Maggie Gently, and it’s got a ton of her best songs to date. I haven’t even mentioned “Your Touch” yet, or the way that track taps into some of the attitude that made Charly Bliss’s Young Enough a modern classic.

I can go on and on–but you can just see for yourself. Check out Wherever You Want to Go below, along with a brief Q&A with Maggie Gently.

Why did you call the album Wherever You Want to Go?

The title comes from the first lyric from the third single (track tw0 on the album) called “Breakthrough.” In the context of the song, the line is a bit romantic, or maybe desperate: “I’ll start the car / wherever you want to go.” This album has a lot of love songs, and these themes of love, commitment, the satisfaction of making someone else happy, and needing to be needed felt like a good place to ground the album. Also, I like that as an album title, the line “wherever you want to go” is an invitation to take the music with you in any direction, and relate to it however you need to.

What makes this LP different from Peppermint in your mind?

For me, songwriting and art-making can sometimes be a practice of communicating with myself. It’s like giving myself affirmations, helping me to believe kind (and true) things about myself or the world. This is definitely not the case with all my songs, but in Peppermint, the lessons I was trying to internalize were affirmations about trusting my intuition, making choices that prioritized my own well being even though they were hard. I was basically telling myself, “you made the right choice, everything is going to be okay.” In Wherever You Want to Go, the songs felt like vehicles for telling other kinds of stories. There are still some shadows of needing to forgive myself for things, but overall, the songs are trying to communicate gratitude and love. I wrote this album over the course of a few years, during which I turned 30 (I’m turning 32 later this month), I got engaged and married, I started a new career as a librarian… I made some big commitments and big decisions, and I think my lyrics deal with these themes of putting down roots and consciously deciding how I want my life to look.

Musically, I think Wherever You Want to Go builds on what I was figuring out with Peppermint. I worked with two producers on this record: my long-time collaborator and friend Brian Ishiba (Joy Weather) did “Your Touch” and “Fireworks,” and Wolfy (Sentimental Records) did the rest. I also worked with both of them to record different instruments. This was my first time working with Wolfy, and I really love his touch on the songs, and of course Brian is a songwriter and musician I admire greatly in his own right. I feel so lucky to have worked with both of them on this album. And my engineer Grace Coleman (Different Fur) has had such a huge influence on the sound. She is the best, and I think working with trusted musicians and artists at different stages helped to bring in some cool elements that I couldn’t have gotten to on my own. I was very inspired by Jimmy Eat World in my songwriting for this album, and I loved layering in the dark guitars and the super clean rock sounds. I was also very influenced by The Beths and Remember Sports.

What do you want fans to take away from Wherever You Want to Go?

I hope folks can feel their humanity is affirmed a little bit by my perspectives in this album (and honestly, by music in general). Life is hard, and I think indie music is a great outlet for writers to be honest and admit to feelings and behavior that are not perfect, but are completely human. And if the songs make you nod your head or tap along on your steering wheel, I count that as a win.

Wherever You Want to Go is out tomorrow.

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

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