Natasha announced on 28 January 2019 via social media that a new album was coming soon, but didn't give any release date.
When interviewed on the red carpet before the Ivor Novello ceremony on 23 May 2019, Natasha said the album was finished. She hinted that the music would be "very energized and dance-y."
On 3 June, she teased a release on 10 June 2019 through early that month, posting short videos to her social media accounts. One featured a snippet of music and a number for a hotline on a poster, which, when dialled, asked callers to leave a message about a lost girl named Nikki. She formally announced the album and release of the lead single, "Kids In The Dark", on 10 June.
Music and composition
Loosely centered around a new character (Nikki Pink) and a gang of biker women who roam the sunset streets of an eerie, make-believe vision of LA, it’s essentially a love letter to the ’80s sci-fi and fantasy films of her youth. She wrote the songs while working on a script of her own, and the starry-eyed, big-screen synth-pop of “Kids in the Dark” sounds like the soundtrack to the big romantic clinch in her own coming-of-age flick.
Khan has cited 1980s music and cinema as an inspiration for the record, citing artists such as Bananarama, Cyndi Lauper and The Blue Nile as well as film composer John Williams in an interview with The Line of Best Fit.
Last year, JJ Abrams' production company Bad Robot approached Khan to contribute a song to their Stephen King series Castle Rock. After meeting the show’s music supervisor Charles Scott IV, the pair wrote “Kids in the Dark,” in just one day, and from there their collaboration continued to evolve. “As always, the music just comes along and takes over,” she says. “I’d found my partner in crime.”
Bonding over a love of horror films and '80s music and movies, their songs became Bat for Lashes' latest album Lost Girls. A collection centered around Nikki Pink and a sandy-haired boy she meets on an internet forum, the fictional pair investigate small towns that are being terrorized by a mysterious gang of biker girls. “What Nikki doesn’t realize is these girls are subconsciously summoning her to this town because they want to take her in and make her the head witch,” explains Khan. “It’s a metaphor for me meeting someone and falling in love with someone who’s great, but needing to integrate these personalities and female aspects of myself that range from very dark to very light.”
Khan has always glided through an emotional dreamworld: pristine vocals yoked with nostalgia-pop synths, songs populated by a varied cast of characters, dark, filmic visuals. Whether donning a blonde wig and exploring her divided self circa Two Suns or going full-on conceptual for her fourth album The Bride, Khan peels back her own layers by wrapping them in new mythologies — creating worlds that say as much about her present self as they do her deeper desires and imagined adventures.
“A lot of the songs are very emotional and come from my own experiences, but they’re all in this universe because I like to locate them somewhere in my psyche and give them a home,” Khan explains. “It’s like David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust. Nikki is fleshed out by me, but within the construct of her I’m able to explore more poetic ideas.”
The Lost Girls album campaign launched Bat For Lashes hotly anticipated fifth studio album, and her first self-release. Serving as Creative Producer, Lief helped bring to life Khan’s rich vision for the Lost Girls universe, crafting with Khan the social strategy, campaign and visuals surrounding the album.
Before the album announcement, Nikki Pink is introduced through tantalising social media clues on the official Bat For Lashes Instagram and Khan teases new music with a series of short videos.
Following a 'lost girl' poster, a mysterious LOST GIRLS HOTLINE gets inundated with strange and intriguing #BATPHONERS messages about Nikki’s whereabouts. A global audience suspends their belief, and join the girls. Bat For Lashes continues the story of Nikki Pink with snippets of new music, leading up to the first video release, where we find out what happened to Nikki.
The first video Kids In The Dark, written & directed by Khan, features Nikki with her gang of Lost Girls, introducing how she became one of them was released on July 2, 2019. The video is released on YouTube, using a live countdown with Khan on live chat with her audience.
Bat For Lashes expands the universe, as the second single The Hunger releases with another video written & directed by Khan released on August 5, 2019. Shot entirely on iPhone, seeing Khan film herself spreading magic and light through a triumphant ceremonial performance.
The album is finally released on September 6, 2019. Bat For Lashes' first self-released album cut through, reaching fans globally without the support of a major label. Lief tapped into the power of Bat For Lashes’ established fan-base and a curious new audience to reach audiences in a more holistic way, in turn creating a world that is cohesive, memorable, and which is larger than the sum of its parts.
On the October 2019 issue of Uncut magazine, Natasha explained why there’s a snake emblem on the Lost Girls cover:
“Obviously my dad is from Pakistan and I’ve spent lots of time there. It’s not so much in the sound of the music but I realised that my memories of going to Pakistan as a child have influenced the ‘Lost Girls’ concept. All my cousins rode motorbikes and I used to jump om the back and we’d ride down these dusty roads into the town to get bottles of Pepsi – they were obsessed with US culture too, but there were also people with pet monkeys on their shoulders and snake charmers. Then I realised the emblem for the ‘Lost Girls’ was a hand with a snake in the air and they all ride bikes and they live in the desert. So I think moving to [Los Angeles] stirred up those memories in my subconscious.”
- Note: "Feel For You", "Jasmine" and "Desert Man" were released as promotional singles. Only "Kids in the Dark" and "The Hunger" had music videos, both directed by Khan.
|1.||"Kids In The Dark"||Natasha Khan, Charles Scott IV||Natasha Khan, Charles Scott IV||03:29|
|2.||"The Hunger"||Khan, Scott IV||Khan, Scott IV||05:00|
|3.||"Feel For You"||Khan, Jennifer Decilveo||Khan, Jennifer Decilveo||03:39|
|4.||"Desert Man"||Khan, Decilveo||Khan, Decilveo||03:26|
|5.||"Jasmine"||Khan, Scott IV||Khan, Scott IV||02:55|
|6.||"Vampires"||Khan, Scott IV||Khan, Scott IV||03:02|
|7.||"So Good"||Khan, Scott IV||Khan, Scott IV||03:33|
|8.||"Safe Tonight"||Natasha Khan||Khan, Scott IV, MNEK||04:17|
|9.||"Peach Sky"||Khan, Decilveo||Khan, Decilveo||04:35|
|10.||"Mountains"||Natasha Khan||Khan, Scott IV||04:31|
Rough Trade exclusive bonus track
|11.||"Desert Man" (Piano Vocal Version)||03:29|
Limited Edition Box Set
The album had a limited edition box set with the 'Sunrise Edition' vinyl plus a cassette tape. It included:
- Black outer (and black inside) with red foil emblem
- Lost Girls "Sunrise Edition" LP - Ltd edition crystal clear vinyl with splatter effect
- 7” "Sunset" picture disc w/ exclusive track "Desert Man Piano/Vocal version"
- Lost Girls limited edtion cassette
- Lost Girls set of 10 postcards
- Lost Girls fold out poster
- Lost Girls "Missing" poster
Credits adapted from the liner notes of Lost Girls.
- Natasha Khan - vocals, piano (track 4), organ (track 2), guitar (track 6), synths, programming (all tracks)
- Charles Scott IV - bass guitar (tracks 1–2, 4–6, 10), synths, drums (track 2), programming
- Jennifer Delciveo - backing vocals, synths and programming (tracks 4, 9)
- Juliana Barwick - backing vocals (tracks 2 and 7)
- Alex White - saxophone (track 6)
- Uzoechi Emenike - backing vocals, bass guitar, synths and programming (track 8)
- John Carroll Kirby - synths (track 7)
- Leland Taylor - backing vocals (track 10)
- Natasha Khan - production, mixing
- Charles Scott IV - production, mixing
- Jennifer Delciveo - additional production (tracks 3, 4, 9)
- MNEK - additional production (track 8)
- Justin Bates - additional engineering
- Tyler Karmen - additional engineering
- Tony Cousins - mastering at Metropolis Mastering
- Logan White - photography
- Margo Mars - creative producer
- Fraser Muggeridge Studio - design, layout
- Art prints shot by Logan White.
- "Bat For Lashes on the ‘alien’ world of ‘Lost Girls’". NME. 4 September 2019.
- "Just to let you know, the album’s coming soon... I promise it will be worth the wait". Instagram.
- "Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes) - The Ivors 2019 Best Television Soundtrack Winner". 23 May 2019. YouTube.
- "Bat for Lashes Announces New Album Lost Girls, Shares New Song: Listen". Pitchfork.