“How can a ballad that I recorded in an apartment that says tramp, a**, damn, steak, beer, screw, all in the first verse ever do anything at all?” Ginny Blackmore asked with a laugh. “It doesn’t sound pretty.”
Blackmore’s first single, “Bones,” isn’t pretty. The song is a raw look at a girl who just isn’t getting the love she deserves and might be verging on a manic episode because of it.
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Over a perfectly produced yet minimalist beat, she talks of putting a brush through her hair for this ungrateful guy and making him dinner every night. But she gets nothing back in return, made clear with the heartbreaking line, “It sucks being a woman in love with an unkind man.” She’s eventually left standing in front of a mirror telling herself she’s beautiful, something her male companion never seemed to do.
The New Zealand native told Radio.com that her first instinct when she feels something is to sing it. The night she wrote “Bones,” she was alone in her Los Angeles apartment, drinking wine and having, what she calls, an “especially girly moment.”
“I’m very dramatic. It’s probably embarrassing,” she says, right before launching into a story about how the night she wrote “Bones” she was actually giving herself a pep talk in front of the mirror. She was saying things like, “You are attractive, Ginny. Someone will love you. You’re wonderful.”
“I just sang and the first verse came out freestyle,” she explained. “It’s just what I felt in the moment, the first thing that popped in my head.”
Blackmore makes it clear that the emotions in the song are 100 percent her own, but the story isn’t taken directly from her actual life. It’s a mix of things other women — her best friend, her mom, her nana, her aunt and her sister — have told her through the years. “It just turned into this ball of womanhood that I’ve experienced,” Blackmore said. It’s also not about any one guy in particular. So don’t even bother asking.
By the end of that night, she had finished the song and sent a message to U.K. producer Step Manahan looking for a sad beat. Every time Blackmore emails him, she writes the same message: “You’ll hate it. But listen to it anyway.” She assures him that if he truly can’t stand the song, he can take his beat back. But when he heard “Bones,” he was more than happy to give it up. Though her new song excited Manahan, she wasn’t so sure it would be a hit outside of her bedroom. She was afraid lines like, “Come and lay your bones down with me,” would seem odd to most people. She worried her raw lyrics would be a little too intense, maybe even a little too human, for the average radio listener. But people seem to appreciate Blackmore’s honesty.
“I thought people would think it’s ridiculous — ‘You can’t say steak and beer in a ballad!’ But they liked it and I just went with it,” she said.