02 chelsea peretti drops quarantine album
CNN  — 

This is way better than that celebrity attempt at “Imagine.”

During our coronavirus quarantine, Chelsea Peretti has released an EP of music all about coffee. Yes, an entire album about coffee. Titled “Foam And Flotsam,” it features five songs that will be part of her upcoming debut album, which has 20 songs in total, she tells CNN.

While Peretti has been working on the project for nearly a year, it just so happens that it dropped as she’s been social distancing at home in Los Angeles due to the pandemic.

“I wish I could say that I threw [the album] together, but I spent a sizeable portion of time on it,” Peretti tells CNN. “We were just going to throw something together about coffee and put it up and kind of as a joke, like try to submit it for a Grammy, but then we got more and more into this album and I think we spent nearly a year on it at this point.”

01 chelsea peretti drops quarantine album

Oddly, the songs that Peretti released also speak to the time we’re in, with subjects like needing a soundproof bathroom and desperately searching for oatmilk for her coffee. But she says that’s purely coincidence.

“As soon as this quarantine happened, I’m like, wait a minute, now I have to look at all these songs through this lens of quarantine and being trapped and what still holds up and what feels weird now,” she says, explaining that the songs are “weirdly like this museum of [life before quarantine] [now] pet peeves that if you’re not being social …now that is what people are experiencing because they’re trapped in their houses right now and everyone’s sharing bathrooms.”

She continues: “I think that because the songs were coming from a genuine place, even though many of them are comedic, I think they hold up in a way, but it may be a different way than we wrote them.”

She wrote the songs with producer Kool Kojak and says there are “massive” guests coming up on the full album, like Wale, Kathleen Hanna, Reggie Watts, Juliette Lewis, Nick Kroll, Hannibal Buress, Terry Crews, Chika, Patti Harrison, and Andy Milonakis, among others. Peretti is especially excited for everyone to hear her anthem with Richard Marx.

“We wanted him for this song that I wrote with Kojak and I always imagined his voice doing it and I know him from before, so I finally asked him to do it and he said yes, but then the quarantine happens,” she says, “We had to do that remotely, which has its own challenges. But he sounds amazing and it’s like my dream because writing it, the way that the melody came to me, I was imagining his voice, which is very specific and amazing.”

Many of the album’s songs also have a video, which she filmed before the quarantine and has been editing from home since. Peretti says her influences for the visuals come from a variety of sources, ranging from the sadness in the Ryan Gosling drama “Blue Valentine,” to the synchronized dance moves of the Backstreet Boys and Justin Timberlake’s style.

Peretti’s tune, “Oatmilk,” is a sad yearning for just that.

“I wanted to do ‘Oatmilk’ like that cause the song was so full of yearning and sadness and I thought it would be funny for it to be really emo and sad,” she says, “But then we were influenced by a Justin Timberlake song. So it just started going in a very different direction from how we had initially [thought.]”

Despite the silly feel of the album, Peretti says she actually feels pretty good about the project.

“I’ve just never really followed through in such a thorough way,” she says, “I also have this incredible team of people helping me. And so that also helps because I probably wouldn’t have had the follow through. It was this weird thing where it just kept going and going.”

She jokes that she’s now a “musician,” starting her sentences with, “as a musician…” and deadpans that she may change the full album release date on a whim, because “as a professional musician now that it’s kind of like cool to push your date.”

And what’s up with the coffee theme? A press release for the album reads: “Coffee. On its surface that is what this powerful and inspired concept album is about. But as the listener follows Chelsea down the caffeinated rabbit hole they will quickly lose their bearings, as ‘coffee’ is simply a signifier for the choppy seas of addiction, the foam and flotsam of anxiety, loneliness, shame, and mortality.”

Her hopes for a Grammy and humor aside, Peretti says she’s just happy the songs are giving people “something to do while they’re anxious or stuck in their house.”

“That’s, that’s the best I can hope for,” she says.