After self-writing-and-producing their first two albums, The Bones of What You Believe and its 2015 follow-up, Every Open Eye, the band opened up the process on their 2018 offering, Love Is Dead, welcoming outside influence in the form of GRAMMY Producer of the Year Greg Kurstin. The band toured extensively until the end of 2019, returning home with the intent of going back to their insular beginnings to make new music.
“Be successful but only in the way we want you to be. Speak up for yourself but not so loudly that you steal men’s thunder. Be attractive but only for the benefit of men, and certainly don’t be vain. Strive to be The Hot Sad Girl but don’t actually be sad in a way that’s inconvenient for anyone. Be smart but not smart enough to ask for more than what you’re being given.”
Mayberry continues: “‘He Said She Said’ is my way of reckoning with things I’ve accepted that I know I shouldn’t have. Things I pretended weren’t damaging to me. It was the first song we wrote when we started back up, and the opening line (“He said, You bore me to death”) was the first lyric that came out. All the verse lines are tongue-in-cheek or paraphrased versions of things that have actually been said to me by men in my life. Being a woman is fucking exhausting and it felt better to scream it into a pop song than scream it into the void. After the past year, I think we can all relate to feeling like we’re losing our minds.”