After releasing three albums of searing, searching guitar rock, Torres' Mackenzie Scott says she needed to reassess. It's a "delusional pursuit," as she calls it, to try to make a living as a musician right now. Did she even still want to do it? What was even worth writing about?
Scott found herself "emotionally overloaded" — drained by the global political scene, romantic heartache and a family health scare. And in April of 2018, she was dropped by 4AD, the label that had released 2017's "Three Futures" and with whom she was supposed to have had a three-album deal. On Twitter, she said the label dropped her for "not being commercially successful enough."
"I wish them all the best," she said in a tweet. "Also, f*** the music industry."
Eventually, the turmoil was enough to prompt Scott back into writing music. The resulting album, "Silver Tongue", is the first Scott produced by herself, for reasons both practical (it's expensive to pay a producer) and personal. More so than ever before, she says, she was able to enter the studio with a precise vision for what she wanted to record, and she didn't need to rely on someone else to make it happen.
"Silver Tongue" is fixated on desire, and Scott paints the sensation as something desperate and strange. The songs sometimes touch on the rush of infatuation, but more often situate themselves in the places where love intersects with fear, jealousy, shame or ignorance. "I was trying to write myself out of a tunnel," Scott says of the album's creation. "A tunnel of burning, dark desire." On the album's cover, painted by her girlfriend, the artist Jenna Gribbon, Scott stares directly and intensely at the listener with her arm outstretched: Inviting you in, but on her terms.