Multidimensional artist Nat Ćmiel, a.k.a. yeule, shares their first offering of 2023 with the single "sulky baby" alongside announcing signing to Ninja Tune. The track blends 2000s alt-rock and shoegaze infused with melancholic satire. yeule has described the song as a conversation with a younger version of themselves.
Ćmiel keeps a collection of journals that they refer to as 'scars' and for "sulky baby" yeule began to sing the scribbled words of their childhood reflections aloud. It came out all in a flood with one of the pages transforming into an early iteration of the new single. The torn pages from their journal are like torn memories highlighting the mortality of the page, crumpled and stained. The lyrics aim to romanticize their memories to ultimately find closure and healing. The single is also accompanied by a video directed by Jaxon Whittington, which visually portrays yeule confronting their childhood self.
yeule opens up about the meaning behind the song sharing,"'sulky baby' was like a 2000s alt-rock shoegaze hybrid tinted in sad satire. I felt like I was talking to a younger version of me, stopping her from crying, looking back at the ways I betrayed and neglected that innocence from myself. I failed to protect her and I felt like I needed to go back in time and fulfill what she was starved of. So that she could return to my side. So that I can smile like a little kid again. The song gives quite vivid descriptions of a depression I felt with almost a burning passion, yet I tried to give it a light-hearted tone. I think romanticizing is not always that bad. It helps to do it sometimes when you're dealing with a repressed memory. I think it is called an advantaged delusion? Sometimes, that's the only way I can remember parts of me I don't want to remember, so that I can lay her to rest and heal. My mother used to tell me as a child, not to sulk all the time. I guess that's why sulking is so special to me."
The release of "sulky baby" represents a new direction for yeule as the artist explores softer textures and disembodied arrangements that feature yeule's ethereal vocals front and center. The single follows the release of their celebrated 2022 album Glitch Princess, which received a Best New Album stamp from Pitchfork with The FADER describing as, "a challenging piece of work but one that doesn't shy away from bold pop moments." Glitch Princess was the undiluted excerpt of a downpour of emotions following Ćmiel’s experiences with sobriety - a redirection of chaotic energy into verse and the opportunity to confront their own vices.