The road to Anna McClellan’s Yes and No was not just a metaphorical one. Born out of a long solo road trip McClellan took in 2015, the songs map her emotions of the two year period in which they were written like a highway is laid out before its driver. With decent savings, she set off due west, keyboard laid across the backseat, with little plan other than a call ahead to some friends and the idea that playing shows along the way would be cool. Though the trip lasted only four months, McClellan continued bouncing around from New York to Omaha and back, until finally settling in NYC in January of 2017. It is fitting that these songs were conceived in a period of restlessness.
McClellan’s singular voice mixes earnest intensity with nonchalant melancholy that puts the listener in a distant place, far away from other humans, as most of the subject matter deals with loneliness and internal emotional navigation. Often though, the songs stray outward and upward, pondering the confused nature of people, elaborating on the one thing we all cling to: the knowledge that no one is excluded from feeling weird sometimes.
“Onychophagy is the scientific term for nail-biting, a sub group of OCD, and I considered using it as the song title. And then I was like, I’m no scientist, I make songs. Nail-biting Song. It’s just a song about stress, and the internal rabbit hole one goes down, sitting at a table trapped in thought. All the time wasted thinking about what to do.”