With the release of 2018’s full-length debut album Thick Skin, Mackay, Australia-born, Brisbane, Australia-based singer/songwriter Tia Gostelow exploded into the national and international scenes. Album single “Strangers” received over 10 million Spotify streams — and adding to a breakthrough year, Gostelow opened for the likes of Ball Park Music, Frightened Rabbit, The Rubens and Gomez and played sets across the international festival circuit, including Falls Festival and SXSW. Thick Skin also landed a Triple J album feature, which may have led to her appearing on the station’s covers series Like A Version.
Last year, Gostelow went on her first national headlining tour, which she followed up with tours across the States, the UK and the European Union. During that same period of time, the rising Aussie artist started work on her Oscar Dawson-produced sophomore album, an effort that will reportedly see Gostelow moving away from the guitar-based indie and folk sound of her debut and towards a lush synth pop soundscape. The album’s third single, The Money War-written “Always” sees Gostelow and Dawson collaborating with Dawson’s Holy Holy bandmate Tim Carroll, who contributes vocals to the song.
Centered around atmospheric electronics, shimmering synth arpeggios, a disco inspired bass line, a soaring hook and alternating boy-girl verses sung by Carroll and Gostelow, the song is a swooning and earnest declaration of love and devotion through a difficult and confusing time for both parties. Of all the things we claim to understand about the workings of world, the one we can’t quite grasp is love. Love simply doesn’t make sense. The song manages to capture something that should feel familiar to most — if not, all — of us: that tiny fluttering aches and sighs of a new love/new crush/new situationship and the creeping fear that because of your past relationships and your baggage that you might screw it all up. “I really wanted to have a big 80’s synth-pop, big drums kind of sound that everybody wants to dance to,” Gostelow says. “It kind of reminds me of an 80’s prom in a rom-com movie.”
Adds Gostelow, “I really connected with it lyrically straight away, when I first heard it I had the feeling it was about being in love with someone but not physically being able to be with them and also pushing through all of the hard parts in a relationship because you know the good outweighs the bad. It just fit perfectly within the record as I’ve really highlighted my feelings about being away from my loved ones, feeling lonely and I guess just trying to figure out who I am as a 20-year old woman.”