It’s been in the making since 2014
The Frenchmen actually started working on Ti Amo soon after dropping Bankrupt!. They bunkered down in a former Paris operahouse to work on the project eight hours a day. “We did a lot of experimenting,” Thomas Mars said of the recording process. “We could go back and say, ‘Let’s get the MIDI from February 12th,’ or, ‘Let’s get the first take.'”
Mars also spoke to Rolling Stone toward the beginning of Ti Amo‘s album-making process, likening it to “the beginning of something – the base of the pyramid.”
Ti Amo uses a wide range of global influences
Guitarist Laurent Brancowitz explained in an interview with The New York Times that the new project recalls “summer and Italian discos.” The profile also mentioned that album cut “Fleur De Lys” was built around a Fela Kuti beat. Phoenix reiterated the inter-continental theme in a press release, saying Ti Amo is “also a record about our European, Latin roots, a fantasized version of Italy.” That’s a lot of continents to fit into a compact album.
The cover does not feature the band
Although Phoenix don’t really put that much effort into being an enigma, the band members haven’t appeared on an album cover since 2006’s It’s Never Been Like That.
— Phoenix (@wearephoenix) April 27, 2017
This album is 10 songs long
Phoenix albums traditionally are edited to a lean 10 songs, unless you’re counting bonus tracks and deluxe editions. The times may have changed, but the 10-track album length hasn’t.
2. “Ti Amo”
4. “Fior Di Latte”
6. “Goodbye Soleil”
7. ‘Fleur De Lys”
8. “Role Model”
9. “Via Veneto”
The project is partly influenced by tragedy
The mood surrounding Paris has intensified in the years following Bankrupt!‘s release, following anti-immigration sentiment and calamitous terrorist attacks. Phoenix guitarist Christian Mazzalai was trapped in the studio during a police lockdown in the midst of the attack at Bataclan theatre. Lead singer Thomas Mars recalled that, “At some point when we were in the studio, there was a slight sense of guilt… But we were comforted by the idea that the four of us working wasn’t escapism or denial.”
“I think the record came out of darkness, out of concern,” said Glassnote head Daniel Glass told the New York Times. “But what’s resulted is this incredibly colorful record.”
It’s not a total departure, however
Phoenix said in a press release with Ti Amo‘s announcement that the album will focus on “simple, pure emotions: love, desire, lust, and innocence.” They’ve all been core themes throughout Phoenix’s discography.
Phoenix have been playing some of Ti Amo‘s cuts
Phoenix offered a taste of their new stuff in concert. The quartet debuted “Ti Amo,” “Lovelife,” and “Role Model,” in addition to “J-Boy,” for an Antwerp, Belgium crowd for a pair of shows last month. Some more previously unheard Phoenix music appeared in Sofia Coppola’s 30-second Calvin Klein ad, but the song’s title hasn’t been announced.
Only two singles have been officially released
But! You can hear a teaser of another song
The little synth flourish at the start of the video for “J-Boy” is taken from “Lovelife,” as fans who Shazamed the song might know. Watch the video—which is excellent, by the way—below.