Escapism is a fantastic concept. The thrill of losing yourself in the music or in the moment pretty much defined the narrative for Georgia’s club-coercing last record, the universally adored and critically acclaimed Seeking Thrills which well and truly cemented Georgia as one of the UK’s premier producers and songwriters in London. From her collaborations with Mura Masa, Gorillaz, Shygirl, Baby Tate, Dan Carey and David Jackson, to remixes including Jessie Ware, Metronomy, Declan McKenna and Dodie, endless days in the studio with Years and Years’ Olly Alexander and the Queen of Country, Shania Twain (Georgia worked on Twain’s recent #1 album), it’s safe to say there’s probably nothing Georgia can’t put her hand to.
Over the three years since its release, Seeking Thrills continued to grow in popularity, touching and healing people as they found acceptance on the dancefloor: from the BBCR1 playlists to the queer clubs in Berlin to stadium shows supporting Haim. However, for Georgia, what had begun as a powerful and personal message about sobriety and experiencing the club in its truest and most authentic form had lost it way. Her search for total escapism masked that something deeper was amiss: “I hit a point after Seeking Thrills, where for me escapism came to mean running away from a world that I was afraid of.” Nevertheless, out of this pain came inspiration, out of this inspiration came adventure, and out of this adventure came Georgia’s dynamite third studio album, Euphoric.
Having written her last two albums within a three-metre radius of her bedroom, it was important for Georgia to find a new physical and emotional space in which to write. After 10 years of being her own main collaborator, a crucial part of the writing process was learning to relinquish control and let go of the established techniques she worked by. “I wanted an adventure! Being a self-produced musician, it’s easy to get stuck on one thing or in one place, but music can take you to so many places and I just wanted to make a record that embodied the sound of me actually living!” Sometimes, the biggest adventures can start small, and for Georgia it was a DM from esteemed producer Rostam (Haim, Carly Rae Jepsen, Clairo) who fell in love with Georgia’s voice after hearing her on the Mura Masa track ‘Live Like We’re Dancing’, and before she knew it Georgia was on a flight to LA: “The adventure had begun!” Instantly, her and Rostam clicked, and within their first few hours together they had written ‘It’s Euphoric’, the song that would go on to dictate the entirety of the album’s colourful soundscape.
For Georgia, this record is a surrender, “To my issues, to my past, to my flaws and to the healing process” and through it she was able to guide herself to a new healthy form of unconstrained liberation. Even ‘It’s Euphoric’, the album’s first single, is powered by a gentle ecstasy rather than a thundering drop or a trance-y rhythmic inertia. We’re led into the song by this grounding bassline which she toys with through her playful vocal rhythms (I wasn’t saying much/ It was on the tip of my tongue). Georgia and Rostam became obsessed with creating simple pop songs that were only made up of maybe four or five parts but sounded immediate and emotive. Because, as the lyrics suggest, sometimes joy can be found in the space you create or in that which is left unsaid - like the silent excitement of two people whose hearts explode just from simply standing next to each other.
Inspired by the film The Beach, we can hear Georgia’s adoration of key late 90s and early 00s pop: All Saints’ ‘Pure Shores’ and Madonna’s ‘Ray of Light’ seeping through. (The legendary producer of those records William Orbit even features on ‘Give It Up For Love’ after Georgia contributed to his recent album The Painter). There’s a silkiness and a dreaminess to this era of music which works so well with Georgia’s voice, and Rostam was determined to make it a focal point on the album. On ‘Give It Up For Love’, like a perfect reflection of her own spiritual journey, the song explodes from the hazy, underwater production of the verse, into a vibrant and technicolour chorus, and we hear Georgia’s voice in total clarity, joyfully encapsulating the sound of her surrender as she proclaims, give it up for love!
Writing, producing, and collaborating with other people for the first time allowed Georgia to focus her energy on her songwriting & vocal performance. There are rules to great pop songwriting that Georgia had chosen, perhaps subconsciously, to ignore, because she’d always seen herself as more of a disrupter: “There’s a rawness and subversiveness that is bred into most London producers.” And, even on the more emotional songs like ‘So What’, written with Justin Parker (Lana Dey, ‘Video Games’ and Rihanna’s ‘Stay’) Georgia would “take elements of the classic dance record structure and apply them to a ballad.” What we’re left with is a song that never stops doing exactly what it was written to do, despite its tenderness: make you feel good. It’s Georgia’s favourite track on the album, and there’s a nuance to the pop-writing of ‘So What’ - it’s a song that lets its melody and lyrics breathe, allowing it to build a little nest in your heart whilst remaining a total earworm.
Just like how the downtown LA skyline shape-shifts into the dusty mountains and then again into the never-bluer sky, for Georgia, the concept of the dancefloor too had shifted from the club into nature and the elements around her. She continued her journey with Euphoria, heading from sunny LA to Buffalo in Upstate New York to oversee David Fridmann mix the record. David has mixed the likes of MGMT, Flaming Lips and Tame Impala, and there seemed no better way to encapsulate the sophistication of the record and its shifting sonic landscape than taking it from the pristine West Coast sunshine to the eerie, snowy terrain of Buffalo and into the hands of a master of psychedelia and distortion.
From the ambient, earthy ‘Mountain Song’ to the Saturday-night-festival-banger ‘Some Things You’ll Never Know’ no matter where we are on the spectrum of dance music, there is an innate pulse that flows through the album, making it a living, breathing thing. Many of the songs were written organically too, on guitars, on the bass or on her Wurlitzer- it was important for Georgia to be able to play every song on the album sat down at the piano, giving the record a timeless feel and helping it to live beyond the dancefloor. Euphoric isn’t just about happiness, it’s about an intense feeling of excitement. So, whether it’s the sun-soaked Ibiza banger ‘All Night’ or the soundtrack to the pre-drinks with your best mates ‘Friends Will Never Let You Go’, Georgia is out there to make us feel unstoppable: “Go! Go! Go! Get out and experience something new! Let yourself go and rave for 48 hours…” Then smile and feel the tingle in your feet still when you get into work on a Monday morning.
Euphoric is the sound of life and of living in the now rather than escaping. It’s the sound of love and adventure. There is a heartbeat heard in every song, a vibrating energy that takes us through a boundaryless audio map of Georgia’s journey: 10 little explorations, 10 lessons learned, 10 steps towards health, happiness, freedom, and euphoria.