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“50% party, 50% healing”: How Lauv Strips It Back On Release All 4 Nothing

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

All of those nights, they would just be all for nothing. 

27-year-old musician Lauv — born Ari Staprans Leff — admits, throughout his discography, that he had plenty of those invisible nights spent towards impossible endings. To listeners of his 2020 album ~how i’m feeling~ this may come as no secret, since he confided in melodies to express these sometimes more bitter-than-sweet coming-of-age thoughts. 

But, as he sings the story of  “a boy who broke his own heart”  in his latest record All 4 Nothing, Lauv dawns on his past to find that, although his songs went big (multi-platinum, actually) and his dreams did come true, he still is meandering the journey of finding himself. This time, though? It looks like it’s kind of okay to be lost. 

“hold on to who you are”

“I would probably tell him to hold on. Hold on to who you are, and just stick with that.” This is the advice the I Like Me Better singer says he would give his college self  — and the one that, utmostly, the album is all about. While his debut was all about embracing the different shapes Lauv comes in (from existential to “spicy” and hopeless romantic), this time around the artist shows that there aren’t really any sides at all. 

“I can speak for myself when I say you feel ashamed of the parts of yourself that are darker sometimes”, he confesses. “When you have the spotlight, you want to show the lighter side. But those are the two things I was doing to cope with finding groundness in myself, so the album turned into very much of that fifty fifty”. 

When compared to his 2018 project I met you when I was 18 — and even to ~how i’m feeling~ — the growth and emotional contrast in All 4 Nothing seems a lot more monumental than the four year period that passed in between records. While the first two compilations talked a lot about love, youth and feeling isolated, his latest album tackles even more mature and introspective themes, like the downfalls of substance abuse and feeling unworthy of happiness. 

But, to Lauv, All 4 Nothing is only a natural progression of all that loneliness that trickled into his lyrics (and music titles): “I would say that it’s sort of getting out of the woods and being, ‘Oh, yeah, life’, you know?”

freestyling: the fun backstage

Don’t be fooled, though. All 4 Nothing is, as he tells Her Campus, an album that’s also split between “50% healing and 50% party”. After all, we’ve known that earworm pop and blue lyrics both build up into his two strongest suits. 

“I think that, on this album, one of the things that allowed me to grow and make it different was that I actually took a more zoomed out approach”, he explains. By distancing himself from his control freakness in terms of producing, Lauv says he managed to create a new soundscape, especially on tracks like Bad Trip and I Don’t Have A Problem, and tap into unexplored talents, like freestyling. “There’s no Lauv songs that sound like that, so I’m really excited. It has made music making fun in a different way”, he adds.

This technique —  or rather, the lack thereof —  also allowed the singer-songwriter to strip back on his lyricism to let a more raw side shine through. Lauv says that, before, he felt like he was filtering himself. So, this time, some of the songs are more straight up: “it’s all there for people to see, in a way that’s not trying to be polished for a pop record”. 

Molly in Mexico is an example of this newfound darker side, in which he simply told what he was going through as it happened, ugly truth and all. That was, according to the musician, the hardest and scariest part of All 4 Nothing. But it was also the most gratifying one — connecting with his listeners, in the end, has always been important to Lauv, and he found in this album that the best way to do that was to just peel everything else away and be himself.

mental health, music & connecting

His advocacy for mental health is also an underlying theme in the sophomore album. Battles with depression and obsessive compulsive disorder have always bled through Lauv’s songs, but the artist admits that, up until a few years ago, he had no understanding of mental health issues, despite writing and bonding with listeners over them.

 “At a certain point, I was in such a bad place that I was resistant to going to somebody like a psychiatrist because I felt like there was such a stigma”, he admits. And it was only the openness to wanting to heal that was able to pluck All 4 Nothing out of him: “once I experienced [these struggles] firsthand and started to have language for it, I was naturally driven to want to talk about it.”

With the help of coming in touch with his inner child and meditation, he was able to — besides of writing a whole album, of course —  take better care of himself, finding that balance also encompasses the darkness and the lows. 

“I heard somewhere that, as kids, we are all born with this innate confidence and ability to be stars in whatever that might be”, the singer-songwriter wrote in an Instagram post. “But, along the way, it’s easy to lose that as the world beats it out of us, and a lot of us forget”.

With All 4 Nothing, though, the message of letting yourself free, get lost and like whatever life is seems clear.

All 4 Nothing is set out to be released on August 5th through Virgin.

Isabella Gemignani

Casper Libero '23

Isabella Gemignani is a National Writer for Her Campus and editor-in-chief of Her Campus Casper Libero. She covers everything culture-related for the national website - and oversees her chapter's content production, which involves editorial, social media, podcast and events verticals and makes up a team of over 100 girls. Beyond Her Campus, Isabella writes for the architecture and design magazine Casa e Jardim, Brazil's oldest magazine currently in the editorial market. With a 70-year-old history, Casa e Jardim is known for its traditional culture, gastronomy and lifestyle curation. When not writing – which is rare –, Isabella can be found reading classic novels and looking for new music releases that remind her of the feeling she had when she listened to AM for the first time.