STORY OF SONG
“Bags” was the first single from American singer-songwriter Clairo’s (real name Claire Cottrill) debut studio album ‘Immunity”, which was released in May 2019. Written as well as produced by Clairo, with help from co-writer Faye Ramos and producer Rostam Batmanglij. It is one of Clairo’s most loved songs from the “Immunity” album. “Bags” is a nervous love ballad about a potential lover, but in an interview with NME, Clairo had this to say about the track’s energy: “The whole song has this nervous energy. There’s a mix of really calculated parts to reflect the calculated energy you have in a first experience with someone and moments where it feels really playful, like flirtiness.’
In a video for music publication Genius and their YouTube channel, Clairo broke down “Bags” and its meaning, song-writing process and creating new future colleagues through the song’s creation:
Genius: What inspired this song?
Clairo: I think this song is definitely about one of my first experiences with a girl, but I think as a whole it’s just about being comfortable or becoming comfortable in between spaces. Whether that’s relationships or if you relate it to something bigger in your life. It’s definitely about me learning to be comfortable in a place of the unknown and kind of just letting something be,and being okay with not knowing the outcome of something.
G: How did you link up with Rostam?
C: So Rostam and I met a long time ago and he was a fan of my song, “Flaming hot Cheetos,” and from then on we started working together kind of on and off. Then I went to LA for a month to start writing the record. And you know, we blocked out time and made probably like five songs in three days. We kind of just then realized that our, we work really well together. And from then on I decided to make the album with him. It was one of the best decisions I’d ever made. I started bringing songs like, “Bags,” to Rostam, songs that I had written on my own to him. Instead of them being like, you know, demos forever, it was really nice to sit down with Rostam and really flush out the songs, that meant a lot to me. From there, we kind of just lay out all of this, but the different tracks and he just saw elements that he could add to it. Whether it’s extra guitar or the specific levels, you know, he was one of the first people to really push me to have my vocals be in the front of any song that we’ve worked on. It’s a really weird process for me to, to hear me so clearly. I think it was important though because I finally feel like my writing is talking about something important and I have something to say. He was the person that really pushed me to have people hear what I’m going to say, rather than it being in the background, like all of my other music. He just pushed me in ways that I’d never push myself, or I think it’s important to have another person in the room with you kind of making you uncomfortable but in in the best way.
G: What’s it like working with Rostam?
C: He trusts me as not only a songwriter but as a producer. And I think that I trust him as well with it. Obviously he’s a legend, you know, and making a record with him and learning so much about the album process through him was one of the most important experiences I’ve ever had. He was able to see my vision without me really having to express exactly what I wanted. I would just bring a song to him and he would just know what to do, because he knows me. I think that’s probably the most important thing is that we respect each other not only as artists and producers, but as people. So he really, you know, sat down with me and wanted to know what it was about and then went from there.
There is currently no music video for “Bags”, however the audio upload on Clairo’s YouTube channel has over 6 million views with 132 thousand likes. On Spotify, the song has 32 million streams around the world.
Release Date: 24th May 2019
Songwriter/s: Claire Cottrill & Faye Ramos
Producer/s: Claire Cottrill & Rostam Batmanglij
Label: Fader Label
Chart Rankings & Accolades: “Bags” reached #46 on Belgium charts, #32 in New Zealand and #35 on the US Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart. The song has many accolades, with BBC listing it as #10 on their “Top 10 Songs of 2019”, #48 on Billboard “100 Best Songs of 2019”, #8 on the Dazed “20 Best Songs of 2019”, #2 on Flood’s “10 Best Songs of 2019” list, #9 on The Guardian’s “The 20 Best Songs of 2019” and The New York Times’ “The 54 Best Songs of 2019”; #14 on NME’s “The 50 Best Songs of 2019” and #4 on Paste’s “The 50 Best Songs of 2019” list; #3 on Pitchfork’s “The 100 Best Songs of 2019”, #3 on Pitchfork’s “The 100 Best Songs of 2019” and on The Ringer’s “The 10 Best Songs of 2019” list; #48 on Rolling Stone’s “The Best 50 Songs of 2019” and #27 on Uproxx’s “The 50 Best Songs of 2019” list.
The lyrics to “Bags” can be accessed here: LINK