Lindsay Ellyn offers tribute to girls who leave a lasting impression in her new track, “Hard to Forget” — and especially those who do it on their own terms.
Premiering exclusively on Sounds Like Nashville today (April 8), the grooving make-your-own-brand anthem is like a self-esteem factory full of love for the misfits of the world. And while it doesn’t necessarily celebrate rule breaking just for the hell of it… it does look up to the unintentional rebels all around us.
Built on a breezy mix of country nostalgia and indie-rock quirks, “Hard to Forget” is part of the newcomer’s upcoming debut album, Queen of Nothing. It features reverb-heavy guitars and a wobbly beat that’ll surely put a smile on your face, and comes across as a loving portrait of someone Ellyn always hoped she’d become. But in some ways, she already has.
The singer-songwriter tells Sounds Like Nashville it was inspired by a memory she still can’t shake — one of a bunch of unruly teen girls who lived in her apartment complex growing up.
“When you’re a young girl, there’s nothing more alluring or more dangerous than older teenagers who unapologetically break all the rules,” Ellyn explains. “‘Billie’ is really an amalgamation of my memory of these girls, who were like a magical breed to me as a young, impressionable pre-teen. I was a rule follower, they were rule-breakers. Shoplifting … hanging out with boys … smoking cigarettes underage … just bold and unapologetic.
“There was one girl who would skateboard around the neighborhood and walk around with bloody knees from wiping out while skating, which I thought was so punk rock,” she goes on. “Now, as an adult, I can look back with some sensitivity and realize that these were girls who were getting into ‘trouble’ for things that weren’t really their fault — absentee parents, early exposure to drugs, unhealthy attention from older men. For whatever reason, the way I remember these girls is imprinted in my memory. That’s really what this song is about.”
In “Hard to Forget,” those girls (and countless more like them) are celebrated in an aspirational sort of way. It feels like Ellyn wishes she was that cool, in other words. But as it turns out, this track may be more auto-biographical than she’s letting on. Ellyn is something of a rule-breaker herself.
The New Jersey native went to college to study fashion and ended up become a journalist in that image-focused industry, and is still to this day a senior copywriter at a Nashville creative agency. But she’s also determined to follow her inner “Billie,” so to speak, and metaphorically skate around life jumping over stuff and getting bruises.
In just a few weeks, Lindsay Ellyn will put out her album debut at the age of 36, dropping Queen of Nothing on May 14 and refusing to be anything other than exactly who she wants to be. “Hard to Forget” officially arrives tomorrow, and the albums declarative title track and first single came out in March.