Premiere: LIZ Announces Debut Album ‘Planet Y2K,’ Drops New Single “Intuition”
LIZ is making music fun again. In the process she’s proving pop doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure or a dirty word. In an age of downtempo singles and emo vibes, the “Diamond In The Dark” hitmaker is doing things her own way. How so? By throwing it back to the sugary sweet sound of the late ’90s and early millennium. That comes across perfectly on singles like “BTR 2GTHR” and “Lottery.” And we’ll get even more on her long-awaited, debut album Planet Y2K. As the title suggests, the collection is inspired by the golden era in pop history. And it’s coming very soon.
Planet Y2K arrives November 15 via Moving Castle. Clocking in at 16 songs, the tracklist features familiar numbers like “Last Call (Afterparty Mix)” and “Laguna Nights.” Other titles pay tribute to a time when life just seemed easier. There’s “Mood Ring,” “Baby Blue” and “Mickey” (one of the first songs created for the era) to name a few. Alongside the good news, LIZ is also sharing another taste of the LP. We’re partnering with her today to bring you an exclusive first listen to “Intuition.” Produced and written by Jimmy Harry, her latest is a true retro gem in that it comes directly from the ’90s.
And it’s a seriously cute anthem with a loved-up message. “I don’t know how I know, but I know I wanna be with you. Intuition tells me true,” she sings over candy-coated beats. Listening to the shamelessly fun track instantly evokes thoughts of watching Princess Diaries on your blowup furniture. That’s a fact LIZ is well-aware of. “This song is so bubblegum, it’s punk,” she explained in a press release. “It’s kind of my rebellion against trying to be ‘cool’…whatever that is these days. Making and expressing myself through pop music is genuine to who I am, so I think THAT’S cool.”
But wait, there’s more. Last week I had the chance to ask LIZ some questions about her eagerly anticipated project. She opened up about how “Intuition” came together and revealed that a certain pop icon was involved with the original demo. We also broke down several other songs on the collection. Keep reading for teasers of what to expect from a trio she described as “pretty emo and ethereal.” Then we touched on two of the LP’s most exciting collabs – her Slayyyter-assisted “Diamond In The Dark” and the Kim Petras co-written “BTR 2GTHR.” Fun fact: The latter was almost a true duet.
Press play on “Intuition” below. After doing that check out the rest of the Planet Y2K tracklist, pre-save it and get familiarized with the project by diving into our exclusive Q&A.
Planet Y2K Cover Art
Planet Y2K Tracklist
How does it feel to be so close to the release of Planet Y2K?
Omg it’s exciting, but I’m also freaking out a little. It’s kind of a lot of pressure, since all my other releases in the past were free mixtapes. But fuck it, I’m just as proud of this project as I was of those.
The album draws from late ‘90s and early millennium pop projects, which comes across well on several singles we’ve already heard. What inspired that decision?
That era has always been a running theme in my music since the very beginning when I was releasing on Mad Decent, but this project was particularly inspired by more dance oriented euro artists and producers from the late 90’s/early 00’s…like DJ Sammy, Vengaboys, Max Martin, etc.
What do you hope listeners take from the album?
I hope my lyrics and stories resonate with people, but most of all, I hope to create a fun safe space for listeners to feel free to indulge in pop music (which is often considered a guilty pleasure).
I also wanted to talk about “Intuition.” This is such a perfect tribute to bubblegum pop, which makes sense since it was originally written in the ‘90s. How did you stumble across the song and why were you drawn to it?
A few weeks ago, the album was pretty much done, but I felt it needed a couple more flavors to round out the kind of project I wanted to accomplish. So, I called a couple writer/producer friends of mine who I’ve known for years and asked if they had any favorite unreleased demos in their arsenal from that time period. Jimmy Harry sent me “Intuition” and I fell in love with it. Probably part of the reason why was Kylie Minogue was on the demo. She’s one of my idols, so it was a sign!
After you decided to take it on, what if anything did you have to do to modernize it?
Honestly, a lot of the production is exactly the same, which is a testament to how trends circle back years later. Jimmy just had to recreate a bunch of the parts because files were missing from the session. (Back then, you had to save sessions and data files onto cd roms.)
Are there any other true retro gems (ones that were originally written years ago) like this on Planet Y2K?
Yes! “Electricity” was written by some friends of mine who I worked with around age 15/16 who also wrote for major pop-stars like Britney and Avril back in the early 00’s. They sent me a handful of songs, but I liked this one the best. I had AObeats reproduce it and I changed some of the lyrics. I could just imagine *NSYNC’s music video to this one.
Oh also! “Everybody” is an interpolation of DJ Bobo’s “Everybody”, which Jesse Saint John and I added a bunch of new parts to.
Several of the titles on the tracklist harken back to the era. A couple of my favorites are “Baby Blue” and “Mood Ring.” I was hoping you could give a hint about what to expect on those two.
Both of these songs are pretty emo and ethereal, but still have dance elements. “Mood Ring” has got some light vibes of The Prodigy and Darude, and “Baby Blue” has more ATB and Dario G nuances. “Hearts Don’t Break” is another in this family but the main reference for that one was Robyn.
Stylistically, I love how you’re merging the past with a more modern aesthetic in your art. How are you striking on that balance?
The goal is always to keep my shit futuristic, even though I’m referencing a past time period sonically. But, it all make sense because the aesthetic during the Millennium was super spacey and intergalactic. It was also full of unknowns. I remember being at a family friend’s NYE party on Y2K and we were all bracing ourselves for the computers, tv’s and fax machines to blow up. But yeah, I’ve always gotta have that balance of nostalgia and future. The Millennium was an extremely seminal time for me.
What is your favorite trend from the ‘90s or early aughts that you wish would come back into style?
Umm mystique? Social media has kind of ruined that. There isn’t as much excitement anymore when an artist releases a video or a photoshoot or a project or an interview. But social media isn’t going anywhere, so I would have to say…rhinestoned bandanas?
Also, what were some of your favorite songs from the era?
Guess what? I made a Spotify playlist of my inspo for this project to get my listeners ready for the release!
I was hoping to talk a bit about a couple singles we’ve already heard off the LP, starting with “BTR 2GTHR.” How did Kim Petras get involved with writing that?
One day, Kim and I went on a lunch/shopping date and were reminiscing about early 00’s euro dance pop culture. Since she’s from Germany, she grew up in the thick of it. We wanted to experiment and make something with that vibe…so, we did! Besides “Mickey”, it was pretty much the first song that was done for the album, and it truly set the tone for the whole project.
Was there ever any discussion of turning it into a true duet? I’d love to hear the two of you on a song.
It was a duet at first, but ended up just being my song. Her BG’s are still in there though. I would love love love to do a proper duet with her. I’ve known her for years and have always thought she was a superstar.
Another one I wanted to ask about was “Diamond In The Dark.” I think Slayyyter is such a fun rising talent who is also drawing a lot of inspiration from a similar era of pop. How did you get linked up with her?
Yeah! Slayyyter and I met through Robokid who produced the majority of this album. He’s also Slayyyter’s main producer. I did “Diamond” with Dylan Brady and thought it would be cool for people to hear more of a vulnerable side of her on a track. I texted her the song and she sent back a verse in like 20 minutes.
A lot of these songs would translate nicely in a live setting. Are there any plans for performances in the near future?
I’d love to tour this project. James Orlando and I have also conceptualized a more immersive installation experience surrounding this project. Currently finding the right partners for it. TBA!
The current state of pop is so different from what inspired this project. However, I’m wondering if there are any other current artists who are inspiring you right now?
I love Rosalía…I feel like we are very like minded. I saw her open for Juanes in LA and most of the crowd had no idea who she was yet. But, I was blown away and immediately became a stan. Lil Nas X is great. Billie Eilish reminds me a lot of how I felt when Avril Lavigne first came out, but sonically, she’s got flavors of Fiona Apple (who I was also obsessed with growing up). It’s also awesome to see what 100 gecs are doing – Dylan Brady is one of the most authentic and talented people I’ve gotten to work with.
Now is an interesting time to be releasing Planet Y2K, since we’re approaching the end of another decade. Out of curiosity, what musical trends from today do you see coming back into style again 10 or even 20 years from now?
I guess time will tell! Maybe chopped vocal samples when everyone abandons them soon?
One last question: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I’m gonna plan for the future, of course! Work on this installation and hopefully book tour dates, and also sell the fuck out of my dope merch we’re designing. I’ve started on sessions for my next body of work as well. It’s going to be a bit more R&B driven a la my earlier releases. I’m also planning a trip to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park with my friend as a little celebration for releasing my project. I watch their reality show on Animal Planet, and I’m just obsessed with animals in general…so, that will be joyful for me. :)