After making her alternative pop prowess known with the release of three powerful singles, Tatum’s debut EP Bloodsport reinforces her lyrical narrative of a love-turned-toxic.
The 5-track EP, which was released today and produced by Paul Gala (Bad Future Records), is a medley of love songs about the anguishing ambivalence of being in love with someone who is wholly destructive on every level and the inevitable pain that comes with love.
Tatum’s new single “Unholy” is a tantalising track featuring Cape Town rap tour de force PHFAT, whose hard-hitting verse adds weight to the narrative, which puts the collective facade of piety up against the individual capability for evil that leaves the listener asking themselves what evil might actually look like.
“Unholy” is a director’s cut production dripping in emotion – only to drop into a free flying drum sketch with vocal accompaniment twisting further than just a “hook”.
Tatum explains “Unholy”
“Unholy is about a friend who grew up in a violent household and everyone used to judge her for misbehaving when they all knew how bad her circumstances were. Even though they all pretend to be such good and religious people, the most “holier than thou” are often the unholiest of all”
PHFAT comments on the colab
“I had a strange email land in my inbox late last year about a potential co-lab with an unknown singer. I listened to the track and thought “oooh, this is lovely” So I mailed them back and said “I would love to feature on your track.
What followed was five months of back and forth single line emails saying “Any luck with that verse Mike?” and me responding with “the end of the week I promise”.
It turns out all I needed was a national lockdown and a good dose of existential dread to match the sombre mood of the song. I’m excited to see what Tatum does with her career. She has a refreshing take on the darker aspects of pop music and (rather counter-intuitively) I think it puts her in good stead to stand out from the very safe sound that radio has backed for so long.”
More info about the title track on the EP, “Bloodsport”
For Tatum, the EP’s title track “Bloodsport” is about how much love hurts, when the end is so dramatic and explosive that it destroys both people. That love in turn is transformed into a “Bloodsport”, because it cannot exist without a huge amount of pain, and so it becomes a sort of disastrous art.
Tatum explains the track’s lyrical theme
“‘Bloodsport’ compares love to an epic battle where both parties walk away injured and bloody. All love comes at a cost and there is always a devastating end to love whether it’s through a break-up or death, love always ends painfully.”
Completing the EP is the final track “Youngblood”, an otherworldly love story that chronicles being in love with a ghost. Whether or not the boy was once alive is up for interpretation, but it evokes the feeling of being in love with a dreamlike entity whose pull is so strong, it feels totally real.
After Tatum’s first three singles, “Broken”, “Fever” and “Bloodsport”, received playlist support from streaming services across the board, were featured on lauded tastemaker sites Record Of The Day, The Line of Best Fit, Earmilk and CLASH, and were included on an internationally syndicated radio show that airs on over 70 radio stations and six continents worldwide, there is much excitement around the trajectory of her debut EP in 2020.
Curious the EP? You can stream / download Tatum’s EP HERE.
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