Madley Croft is quick to admit a deep personal avoidance and perfectionism slowed the album down. Although “Mid Air” sounds a lot like Madley Croft and Fred again.. originally started five years ago, he said, “I needed a little time to really grow into how these songs, if I felt comfortable with them as kind. of upbeat as they are.”
If “Mid Air” has a central thesis, it’s “Enjoy Your Life,” one of the last songs finished for the LP, which originated when dance-pop heroine Robyn invited Madley Croft to watch a performance by Beverly Glenn-Copeland, the electronic music trailblazer, in 2019. “Back then, I didn’t know Glenn, but obviously, when Robyn says something amazing is going to happen, you just go, right?” Madley Croft said. Watching Copeland perform “Life,” and hearing the echoing lyrics “My mom tells me, ‘Enjoy your life,’” Madley Croft had a moment of revelation. “I was like: Oh my God.”
He again inspired Fred.., and Jamie xx joined their sessions. When his bandmate heard the lyrics, he thought a disco track of the same name by Nigerian disco singer Oby Onyioha.
“And then we started this journey of trying to make all the elements fit together,” he said. The song went through countless iterations, becoming convoluted. In a last-ditch effort to save the track, Madley Croft took it to Stuart Price, the decorated dance producer who helped Madonna recapture the nightclubs with “Confessions on a Dance Floor.” Price has a streamlined, bolder take on the song. After an hour, he became comfortable with its larger, more unapologetically pop-oriented direction.
“All the songs I did on the album went in a certain direction. And they sounded really good, but they also didn’t sound like Romy’s dream,” says Jamie xx. “The whole album felt exactly like what he loves it, and I’m so happy for him.” In December, the band reunited for their first songwriting session in years — both Madley Croft and Jamie xx cited it as one of the better in the history of band: less important, more open and more generous of the trio.
In April, while she was rehearsing in Shoreditch, Madley Croft was reluctant. When he moved to the front of the DJ decks and took the microphone in his hand, his movements were silent. Slowly, with each subsequent run-through of each song, they grew.