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Alice Merton reflects on personal & professional relationships with new album, ‘S.I.D.E.S.’

Paper Plane Records/Mom+Pop

If you recently went through a breakup of any kind, perhaps you’ll find comfort in Alice Merton‘s new album, S.I.D.E.S. As the “No Roots” artist tells ABC Audio, the record reflects changes to relationships in her life both personal and professional, including a “very long work relationship” she had with someone for over five years.

“[I was] feeling like I wasn’t treated with the same respect that I was always giving that person,” Merton shares. “Things were said where I felt, like, ‘You wouldn’t really say that if I were a guy.’ … There was a lot of controlling.”

She adds, “It’s a lot of ending one relationship, but at the same time having to let go of someone I really adored working with for a long time.”

That’s felt throughout S.I.D.E.S. as Merton continually addresses an unspecified “you” in nearly every song on the album. The hazy lead single “Vertigo,” though, is an exception.

“What I felt through ‘Vertigo,’ that was also kind of about a relationship, turned into something completely different with the pandemic happening,” Merton explains. “All these things started happening, and I felt so not in control of all the events.”

“I think the writing started becoming a little bit different, as well,” she continues. “It became very focused on this ‘you’ character.”

Just as the exact identity of the “you” in S.I.D.E.S. remains unclear throughout the record, Merton is keeping the exact meaning of the album title, which is presented as an acronym, close to the vest.

“Last time I put out an album I was very open and honest, and it really scared me,” Merton says. “I’m open and honest on this one, as well, but I really felt it would be great to keep something for myself.”

S.I.D.E.S. is out now.

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