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The Blossoms release new album 'Ribbon Around The Bomb'


BLOSSOMS: (Singing) Ooh-la-la, ooh-la-la, ooh-la-la, Juliet.


Spring has a new sound - the British pop band Blossoms. It just released an album that's sweet, breezy and poetic.


BLOSSOMS: (Singing) Love is everything you said it was. Love is rain upon the roof at night.

RASCOE: Blossoms formed in 2013, back when two of its members were on a school trip to an amusement park. Fast forward to today, and the band has gained millions of fans, performed on some of the world's biggest stages, and earned BRIT Award and Mercury Prize nominations. Blossoms frontman Tom Ogden joins us now to talk about the band's fourth studio album, which is called "Ribbon Around The Bomb." Thank you so much for joining us.

TOM OGDEN: No, thanks for having me on.

RASCOE: So I wanted to start by asking you - the name of your album - I understand that it came from an experience when you were in Mexico, right?

OGDEN: Yeah. So we were out there at the back end of 2019, playing a festival, and my now wife - so my girlfriend at the time, Katie, came out to the show. We stayed in Mexico City and, you know, did a few touristy things. And we went to Frida Kahlo's house, which is now, like, a museum. One of the notes that they had next to, like, the artwork had described her - I think it was a painting or something, as a ribbon around a bomb. And I liked the imagery it evoked - you know, something explosive and quite destructive but surrounded by something quite beautiful. And definitely there's, you know, beautiful strings on the sound of the record and, you know, uplifting kind of upbeat kind of songs, but there's a kind of a little darkness to a lot of the lyrics, I think.


BLOSSOMS: (Singing) Throw me a line, set my sails. I've been down running wild in my head.

RASCOE: Your album is kind of like a book, like, with chapters. And it follows this character, the writer. I thought it was very interesting to take on this character of the writer because the writer is you, right?

OGDEN: Definitely. I initially thought, oh, it's a character. But then I was like, no, it's not. It's just me (laughter).

RASCOE: And it felt like in that song, "The Writer," it's about - right? - like, struggling and having writer's block.

OGDEN: Yeah, but then I suppose it defeats the object of it because then I wrote a song about it.


BLOSSOMS: (Singing) And if I've got to, I'll write you. Once I find my verse.

OGDEN: To be fair, sometimes you sit down at the guitar and nothing happens and you chase it a little bit and you feel, like, frustrated because if something happens to you, the songs tend to fall out of you because you're feeling a certain way. And, you know, when your life's pretty happy and things are going quite well, you've got to look elsewhere. It's that fear of, well, what if I've got nothing to write about? What if I'm not inspired?

RASCOE: Now, you talk about being very happy. There is a love song - I really kind of was drawn to it. It musically seems different from the rest of the album. It's kind of like retro, disco-inspired.


BLOSSOMS: (Singing) It's all that you care for. I'm here, and this is love's true devotion. I rise, then I fall. Won't you please piece my heart back together again?

RASCOE: It is a bop. It's a bop (laughter).

OGDEN: Yeah, it's like a bit of that Bee Gees thing we kind of wanted to go for a little bit more. And we're big fans of ABBA and all that kind of stuff, so they were a big influence on that record. They're - the two love songs on the record are next to each other - "Everything About You" and "Care For." And "Care For" is more about how being with this person's changed me. So, you know the opening line - I was a jealous man. I'm my old self again...


OGDEN: ...I've got to learn something from my mistakes. And then it flips from her perspective, and I start talking about her - she only gets better. In our dynamic, she's usually the quite positive person and I'm quite pessimistic. She sometimes is like, why - you know, can't understand why you would think like that, I suppose. And they're the moments where you don't have a lot patience - especially aspects of myself I'm aware of, but sometimes you just can't help the way you are, can you? And it's kind of - you know, you take that with someone, don't you?


RASCOE: Your album, like, culminates in this seven-minute song called "Visions." One of the lyrics on the song was, was I complete at age 23? Why were you asking yourself that?

OGDEN: The lockdown kind of forced me to be reflective. Like, how did I get here after all this time? And we achieved a lot at quite a young age. And our first album had just gone to No. 1. I found the woman I want to stay with for the rest of my life. It's kind of like these things - people spend years trying to get that kind of thing. And that line just came out because I thought - it made me think, was I complete at 23? Like, I had it all then. So it's about reflection and looking back at what you have.


BLOSSOMS: (Singing) Visions coming down, going upstream before my eyes. They don't make sound, and I'm lost somehow. More than you'll ever know.

OGDEN: Feels like the last five years have just flown by, and it's kind of like we just needed a little reset in terms of my own aspirations and dreams, I suppose.

RASCOE: So where do you think you go from here?

OGDEN: I don't know. Just strive to be happy, don't you? And stay inspired and live a bit more in the moment, I suppose. Being in a band, you kind of constantly - your life's usually planned out ahead of you for months and years sometimes in advance. And you don't tend to take stock of what you achieve. And rather than constantly be like, whoa, what's happening six months down the line? - just enjoy the moment and that's it really.


BLOSSOMS: (Singing) One, two, three, four. She said life gets no better and no worse.

RASCOE: Tom Ogden is the lead singer and guitarist of the English pop band Blossoms. Thank you so very much.

OGDEN: Great. Thanks a lot.


BLOSSOMS: (Singing) Ribbon around the bomb. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ayesha Rascoe
Ayesha Rascoe is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday and the Saturday episodes of Up First. As host of the morning news magazine, she interviews news makers, entertainers, politicians and more about the stories that everyone is talking about or that everyone should be talking about.
Andrew Craig
Andrew Craig is a journalist from Denver, Colorado. He loves to learn about the world and tell stories that raise critical questions and inspire empathy. A graduate of Yale University (BA '14) and The University of Texas at Austin (MA '18), he began working for NPR in 2019. His hobbies include reading, people watching and exploring new places.