Clementine Creevy has always been “a lone wolf.” That’s what she yelped on the glorious intro to Cherry Glazerr’s 2017 album, Apocalipstick, and it’s the central theme of her band’s follow-up, Stuffed & Ready. But now, the focus has shifted from her renegade character in the patriarchal music industry toward her own self-reflection during moments of solitude. Although the 22-year-old assures Billboard during a recent phone call that she hasn’t lost her cheekiness, the 10 songs on Stuffed & Ready are significantly darker than any of her previous material. Take the chorus of its third track, “Wasted Nun”: “I’m a wasted nun and I don’t have fun.”
“That song is about a woman searching for enlightenment, but instead she turns to self-destruction because she can’t find it,” Creevy says. “It’s sort of just a self-loathing lyric. About her. An ‘other’—unclear,” she says coyly.
It’s a stark contrast to a silly song like “Grilled Cheese” from her 2014 breakout, Haxel Princess, which she wrote in her mid-teens. But Stuffed & Ready is as much a reckoning with her ugliest thoughts as it is a battle against her own perfectionist tendencies.
“It’s all about this idea that when you’re stuffed, you’re incapacitated, and you don’t want to move, but you get up and do it anyways. If you’re sitting around waiting for perfection, it’s a waste of time compared to just working on your craft and doing what you love,” she says.
During some time off before a busy few months of U.S. and U.K. dates, Creevy spoke with Billboard about isolation, taking breaks from the internet and learning not to “fuck with perfection.”
There were a lot of songs on Apocalipstick that were humorous, or if they did tackle serious subjects, you did so in sort of a cheeky way. Stuffed & Ready is a lot darker, lyrically. Why do you think that is?
I think the lyrics on this record are more vulnerable, introspective, self-reflective. And a little bit more straightforward about how I’m feeling and why it is the way I’m feeling…. I think that makes for a slightly more vulnerable record, but I don’t know if it’s less cheeky or confident. I think it’s just that there’s less obfuscation here.
What sort of headspace were you in during the making of this record?
I was working on a lot of the melodies over the past year or so. And I always start with guitar lines and melodies. Melodies come to me first, they pop into my head, I record them, and then I translate them onto the guitar. And then I turn that into a song and I add lyrics last. A lot of the melodies came from touring a lot and feeling more comfortable and confident with my guitar. From that I feel like because my playing got better, I felt like I had more room to talk. So I feel like some of the songs are sort of arranged simply, and there’s a lot of room for wordiness. And I think a lot of the songs are wordier than I’ve done in the past…. I felt really inspired by moments of silence and clarity. When you’re on the road so much, those moments are rare. And I took time in those moments to write.
You’ve always been a bold songwriter in terms of writing about sexism and the gross behavior of men, but were you at all apprehensive to write a line like, “I don’t want people to know how much time I spend alone.”
I don’t know if I would say nervous. Sometimes I think people are gonna laugh at me. That’s my main concern. But if they do, that’s fine because I suppose you shouldn’t take life too seriously, anyways.
And when I say I’m scared of people laughing at me, I don’t mean generally speaking, I just mean when it comes to vulnerable-ass lyrics. So I did consider, “what if people think I’m really weird and fucked up? And what if people worry about me? Cause I’m so fucked up and weird.” But I think that’s pretty normal when you’re talking about your feelings and I got over that pretty quickly because I don’t really care. I think I just wanted to talk about how I felt, and if somebody can’t relate then that’s OK. That’s good for them [laughs].
Solitude and isolation are definitely two through lines on the album. Are those feelings something you’ve recently begun to struggle with, or have you felt that way all your life?
I think I’ve dealt with feelings of loneliness my whole life. While I was making this album I felt, like, a newfound solitude, when I am actually alone. Meaning when I’m, like, completely alone. That includes the internet, too. I think because we live in this connected, globalized world that feeling totally alone—it’s taken on a new sort of feeling for us. Because you’re never really alone, you know? And I think I was just ruminating on that a lot.
Were you taking purposeful breaks from the internet?
Yeah. I delete my apps every few days just because I’m addicted to them and I have to do that in order to stay off of them. And it feels really good to do. I feel like there’s a lot of really righteous pushback against the ways in which we are treated by apps and corporations and how they make us feel. I feel like there’s a unified discontent with it, and I think that’s really cool.
Was there any specific musical vision you wanted to carry out for Stuffed & Ready?
I kind of wanted to not maximalize anything and sort of have more scrutiny with what’s good and what’s not and keep things simple. And so when I discovered something that sounded good, I would just keep it the way it is instead of harmonizing, or stacking, and trying to maximalize every moment.
Was maximalizing something you found yourself doing on your last couple records?
Yeah, definitely. On Apocalipstick I think it suffered from that. I love the record the way it is, I wouldn’t change anything about it. Because it exists as it is and it’s just a snapshot in time and I don’t feel compelled to ever change any of my past records or songs. But I learned from it in that way. With confidence came me being, like, “don’t fuck with perfection. If it’s good don’t fuck with it, just leave it how it is.”
My favorite song on here is “Stupid Fish,” which is the heaviest Cherry Glazerr song to date. What inspired the anger, and specifically that explosive climax where you scream, in that song?
That song I love because it’s really heavy but it’s also kind of rumination on this theory I have that nobody knows what they’re doing and everyone’s just shooting in the dark and no one has answers for anything. And we’re all just, like, fuckin’ fakin’ it. And that’s what that song is about. I think a lot of the moments of anger on the record, including that one, [come from] when you really sit with yourself, you get really angry with yourself—at least for myself when it comes to thinking about more existential stuff. Sometimes when I was playing that song and singing it in the studio I just felt overwhelmed by feeling alone in my own perspective.