For Marley Striem, it all started with the bass.
Once she honed all of her creative energies in on the instrument, things began to click in a way that they hadn’t before. “I was always experimenting with songwriting, but it wasn’t until I began studying bass guitar as my primary instrument, that I took a deeper dive into making my own music,” Striem tells American Songwriter.
“I was doing bass sessions for all kinds of genres and it led to a deeper understanding of production and songwriting that made me want to keep exploring my own sound and establish myself as a recording artist,” she says. “I was exploring jazz, metal, prog rock, R&B, pop, and so much more that there were way too many songs playing in my head all day long to not write some of my own!”
It was as if Striem had opened the floodgates on her musical potential. She had almost always been singing and playing the piano—growing up in New York she was drawn to the sonic side of life—but this was something different. It was a beginning. And as her introduction into this new world, Striem dropped her debut EP in 2021. Now, just a short while later, she’s released her latest single titled “Bottles.”
“‘Bottles’ is about watching your friends party away their problems instead of addressing them,” Striem says. “The title ‘Bottles’ really has a double meaning in the song, as it addresses the idea of using bottles to bottle up all the emotions. The song considers both the struggles of abusing drinking as a coping mechanism and the struggles of watching a loved one go through that and not being able to get through to them.”
As Striem sings “Bottles,” you’re captivated by its strong, rhythmic foundation and its dance-pop musings. She specifically leaned into “Daft Punk, Tove Lo, and MIA’s ‘Paper Planes’ era” to build this irresistible three-minute-and-twenty-second tune. And if we were to set the scene, listening to “Bottles” feels like sharing a laugh with friends in a cozy apartment, or walking near the coast of France early in the morning after a long night out. These feelings and settings were intentionally created, as Striem usually likes to “make songs that make people feel good,” she says. “Lyrically, I always want to write the song that you can romanticize life to; the soundtrack to your life in every good and bad moment.”
The act of actually creating this song, though, started in 2020 when Striem’s friend and co-writer Alex Spangler brought her the first verse of “Bottles.”
“He told me he was going to get rid of the song if I didn’t take it over because he was done and didn’t know what to do with it,” she says. “I loved everything about it and jumped on it right away. It started with us writing lines back and forth on acoustic guitar, but from the getgo, it had the same great syncopated rhythm in the verses. For a while, I envisioned this song to be produced very stripped down and acoustic, but the song took on a life of its own when I brought it to Grammy-nominated producer Tyler Cain in Nashville this past April.”
And voila! “Bottles.”
Overall, though, Striem just wants her listeners to remember “that there is always someone in your corner no matter how hard things are, and party to make good memories, not to hide from the bad ones.”
Listen to “Bottles” by Marley Striem below.
Photo courtesy of Gibson