In our new music feature Origins, artists give us a peek behind the curtains, providing insights into the inspirations behind their latest single. Today, Beach Bunny talk about updating the pronouns in “Cloud 9” and working with Tegan and Sara.
Some seventeen years separate Beach Bunny from Tegan and Sara, but hearing them on the same track allows the listener to feel the unbroken chain that connects generation to generation, inspiration to inspiration. On one end, our former Artist of the Month Beach Bunny are perfectly of-the-moment, and their effortless melodies made them among the first sensations of the young platform TikTok; at the other end are the 40-year-old twins whose penchant for perfect tunes might have vaulted them to superstardom if their gender politics weren’t so far ahead of their time. These artist came up in very different eras, and explore the indie pop landscape in their own unique ways. But press play on the new version of “Cloud 9” and you can sense a ripple of movement linking one to the other.
“Cloud 9” originally appeared on Beach Bunny’s 2020 debut Honeymoon, and when Tegan and Sara approached the track they wanted to personalize it. That involved changing the pronouns in the chorus, singing “she loves me,” where Lili Trifilio had sang “he.”
“We’re massive fans of Beach Bunny,” Tegan and Sara wrote in a statement. “When we heard ‘Cloud 9’ for the first time we fell in love with the brilliant lyrics and addictive melody. We love that Lili was up to let us experiment with changing the pronoun in the chorus to she. The efforts made to make the song relatable to everyone, isn’t just about inclusivity, we think it’s a great indication of the flexibility and creative spirit of the band at its core!”
Beach Bunny agreed to the changes, and subsequently altered the pronouns in the third chorus to “they” to make the song relatable to even more fans. In an interview with Consequence, Trifilio explained the Origins of this new version of “Cloud 9”, including the original songwriting impulse, the impact of Tegan and Sara, and the desire to make “lightness and love accessible to everyone.”
The song makes me feel like flying through the clouds in a dreamscape. I associate love with the feeling of lightness and wanted the lyrics to reflect that vibe. I think about soaring through pink clouds with a lover, our energy extending to the heavens and the stars even when our bodies are no longer here.
The imagery of cloud 9 is soft and gentle — nurturing almost. Like the feeling of a long hug after an exhausting day. Or someone carefully applying a bandaid over a deep cut. Love is sweet and careful and patient. I was inspired by the nurturing I’ve received in my own relationship, and universal ideals of healthy relationships I’ve witnessed around me. I wanted to write a song that let go of the idea of wishing for a healthy relationship and simply put, described one.
Desire for Inclusivity
Lastly, the new version of cloud 9 was inspired for a desire of inclusivity. Tegan and Sara have been idols of mine since high school and being able to work with them on a song that accomplished broader representation was a dream come true. Their ear worm and colorful melodies accompanied by warm lush voices made the perfect compliment to this track. Ultimately the goal was to make this feeling of lightness and love accessible to everyone.