Our WNXP Record of the Week is God I Hate This Place, the debut EP from Nashville-based artist Annie DiRusso. On the five-song collection DiRusso combs through the confessional and the coming of age, digging into her sometimes traumatic past from the uncertain perch of the present. The songs channel the spirit of Alanis, the guitar tones of Weezer and the lyrical bluntness of Liz Phair. That’s not to say it’s a simple exercise in nostalgia. Like many of her peers, including fellow Nashvillian and sometime co-writer Briston Maroney, she takes the sounds of her parents’ era and fuses them with her own substance.
DiRusso has been releasing singles and building a following since 2020 and began her artist path writing songs in her Belmont University dorm room. After opening for fellow Nashville-based artist Samia last year, this EP ushers in a new era for DiRusso including her first major, headlining tour (featuring a hometown stop of course).
Below, DiRusso walks us through some of the EP’s tracks.
“Emerson was funny because it released on the same day that the EP name, God I Hate This Place, was announced. And I don’t hate my hometown (laughs). I actually love Croton-on-Hudson (New York) and I love the street I grew up on (Emerson). The photo shoot also took place in croton so I could see why it seemed as though I was saying that I hated my hometown or maybe like my family or my street but really it was just that I was in a lot of places I loved and I still couldn’t get out of the state of mind that I hated so much. The ‘place’ that I’m talking about is the state of mind. It just followed me from Nashville to New York to tour, anywhere while I was writing these songs.”
“What’s most important to me about any given song is always gonna be the lyrics. Because I spend the most time figuring out if each word is exactly what I wanna say, which is an impossible task. But I usually will eventually land on something. And so I wanted to make sure for the EP that all of the sounds were going towards the lyrics. Nauseous opens with that spinning around, dizzying, nauseating feeling and then my voice comes in. And you can hear the lyrics and we add little sounds here and there to make it feel like you’re kind of living the lyrics and that’s one of my favorite things.”
“That was kind of a studio created song in a lot of respects. I’d been playing around with those chords for a really long time and we came up with the distorted chorus idea and that shaped the whole song for me. I had those words and it made those words come to life. They’re really simple words ‘I love you but it’s no use. It’s no good. I don’t love you how I should.’ But they’re so heavy and I felt like distorting (the chorus) and adding all that space made them feel as heavy as I wanted them to.”
“I’ve had that song for awhile but I’ve been very scared to release it. Because I went back and forth on if it was something that I really wanted to say. And I know now that it is something I really want to say and the thing that was holding me back was just fear and perception and stuff like that.
I think that the song is pretty straightforward – I really hate the amount of time that my mind lives in that space of thinking about my body when there are like 100 other cool things I could be thinking about. Say that’s like 50% of my ‘brain time,’ and at times of my life it’s been way more than that, spent on thinking about something so trivial. I could be doing way cooler stuff. It’s realizing that it comes in waves. There’s moments where I feel great, like this is not the fact of my life. But the fact of my life is that it comes back around and it always has and I have a sense that it always will. Realizing that was a tough feeling. And the song is kind of about that. ‘I leave it in different places but I know it’s still following me.’ But it also does make me feel hopeful to think back on where I was and where I am now and hopefully where I could be in the future.”