Song Exploder: How the Lumineers Turned Strife Into Their New Single ‘Ophelia’
On the Song Exploder podcast, host Hrishikesh Hirway talks to musicians who take apart their songs and, piece by piece, tell the stories of how they were made. Listen below.
The Lumineers‘ new album, Cleopatra, out this month, was a long time coming. The folk-rock band’s 2012 debut took nearly a year and a half to go platinum, but got there thanks to months of relentless touring; that schedule, it may not surprise you to learn, took a toll on the members’ relationships. Thankfully, they ended up processing the strife in their songs. In this episode, founding members Wes Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites break down one of them, “Ophelia.” It began with a piano melody sketch years before the band’s debut album, and the two musicians walk through its evolution, from building out the chorus, to the frustration of consistent verses, to shelving the idea for years until coming back to it during the sessions for Cleopatra. To Schultz and Fraites, the iterations and slow, grinding progress explains how the final track is not just a product of what they put into it, but what they decided to leave out.