Learn to Swim
On the surface, SadGirl’s 2019 album Water harkened back to the feel-good music of the ‘50s and ‘60s, but like so many of the greats from the Sun, Motown, and Stax catalogs, the sunny melodies often hid turbulent underlying themes. The use of water as a metaphor continued within the SadGirl camp as mastermind Misha Lindes composed their new single “Learn to Swim.” Originally conceived as the beginning of a follow-up album, the song’s themes of fluidity and transformation—learning to swim rather than treading water—took on a new scope in the wake of the pandemic. “With all of the shake-ups and cancellations, I felt like the song needed to get out there,” says Lindes. “It seemed too relevant to everything that was going on. I want people to know we’re still here and we’re gonna be here after this has all settled down. Adapt and thrive.” The sentimental acoustic guitar chords, woozy melodies on keyboards and electric guitar, and lullaby vocals were recorded to 8-track tape in Lindes’ living room, giving the dreamy pop song an added patina, a reminder of the distance of time and our constant journey forward.