Missy Higgins – Solastalgia
Solastalgia – a kind of mash up of the words ‘solace’ and ‘nostalgia’ – is a kind of distress brought on by environmental changes close to your home. A word to describe how we feel when things around our home aren’t the way they used to be when we were younger.
On her album of the same name, Missy Higgins is spending a lot of time looking forward. She wonders how we will reconcile the way we treated the planet in the future and wonders what life will be like for her children.
There are so many things we do in our everyday life that are potentially contributing to the problems of the world, but we're so entrenched in how we live that it's really hard to break out of that habit.Missy Higgins — Double J, 2018
“My priorities have changed and my thoughts are gravitating towards different things like, well, the end of the world!" she said in a statement issued with the record.
And those themes begin right from the outset, with opening track ‘Starting Again’.
“It's a song that I wrote about having my first child, Sammy, and all the anxieties surrounding having a child and bringing a new little human into a world that felt unstable and a future that was very much unknown,” Higgins tells Double J.
Later in the record, she gets more specific. In ‘How Was I To Know’, she sings about the concerns about how our actions today are impacting the future.
“It's a song I wrote about various characters from the future looking back to now, talking about what they did wrong, what they did to contribute to climate change or the end of the world, asking the question honestly: 'How was I to know?',” she says.
“Because I feel like, me included, there are so many things that we do in our everyday life that are potentially contributing to the problems of the world, but we're so entrenched in how we live that it's really hard to break out of that habit.”
Then, in ‘Hallucinate’, she turns the spotlight on herself and takes ownership of her own actions.
“‘Hallucinate’ is about all the questions that I found myself asking myself and asking the universe once I'd woken up to the fact that we might not be heading in the best direction,” she says.
“The fact that I'd had a child a year earlier meant that I was very anxious and looking into his future and going 'What are the answers? What should I do to protect this future for him? What's my responsibility as a human?’
“The lyrics are 'tell me the answer, tell me the truth'; I guess it's a song about suddenly awakening.”
Amidst the anxiety and concern, Higgins has also found reason to celebrate the most joyous parts of her life on this new album as well. Lead single ‘Futon Couch’ is unabashed pop that tells the story of the moment she met her husband.
“I was sitting on a futon couch in the living room of my friend's house in Broome. Dan walked out of the spare room that he was living in at the time and we just got talking and it felt very familiar straight away. It felt like we had begun a long time before we'd met, and I had some premonitions about our story unfolding into the future.”
Such happiness in song isn’t something that people closest to Higgins are used to. But it’s going down well.
“I'm so happy with how people have reacted to ‘Futon Couch’, because it's a very pop song for me,” she says. “I'd never written a song that was this kind of upbeat and happy and unashamedly pop.
“A lot of my friends think it's the best song that I've ever written, because it's happy for once, usually my songs are really depressing.”