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“This record is ultimately about women and the ways in which we love men. It is the byproduct of me healing my need for male validation, or rather not letting male validation control my choices. The one thing I keep taking away from life through all the shuffle is that there is always both. Intense happiness and intense sadness mingle. The longer I’m alive, the more I can’t feel one without the other. It is the crushing beauty of existing.” -- Anna McClellan
The road to Anna McClellan’s Yes and No was not just a metaphorical one. Born out of a long solo road trip McClellan took in 2015, the songs map her emotions of the two year period in which they were written like a highway is laid out before its driver. With decent savings, she set off due west, keyboard laid across the backseat, with little plan other than a call ahead to some friends and the idea that playing shows along the way would be cool. Though the trip lasted only four months, McClellan continued bouncing around from New York to Omaha and back, until finally settling in NYC in January of 2017. It is fitting that these songs were conceived in a period of restlessness.
McClellan’s singular voice mixes earnest intensity with nonchalant melancholy that puts the listener in a distant place, far away from other humans, as most of the subject matter deals with loneliness and internal emotional navigation. Often though, the songs stray outward and upward, pondering the confused nature of people, elaborating on the one thing we all cling to: the knowledge that no one is excluded from feeling weird sometimes.
500 / Black