Finneas discusses the creation of and inspiration for his single “I Lost a Friend” for the first installment of Rolling Stone‘s new series “The Breakdown.” The track is one of three new singles he has released this year in between touring with his sister Billie Eilish.
“It was a point at my life in the beginning of the summer last year where a close, long-term friend of mine and I sort of had a falling out and stopped talking,” Finneas recalls. “I wanted to be really careful with writing this song. I think it’s really easy to be the altruistic hero of your own narrative and story. I wanted to be really careful to not do that in this song.”
He describes the process of writing the song as “talk-through,” meaning finding rhymes after setting up a line. He illustrates this by performing the pre-chorus. “I know I’ll be alright/But I’m not tonight/I’ll be lying awake/Counting all the mistakes I’ve made/Replaying fights,” he sings.
Dissecting the pre-chorus further, Finneas reflects on how common it is for him (and others) to stay awake at night “replaying fights,” as the lyric goes. “I find that when I’m in an argument and I’m angry, I can’t even form a sentence well,” he says. “You say something and then later you’re like ‘That’s not even what I meant at all!'”
For the production, he wanted a sound that reflected the story. He found a synthesizer that sounded like a static-y radio frequency.
As personal as the story was for Finneas, it carries a universal appeal with many fans of the song messaging him about their own friend break-ups in recent months. “I think it’s a funny thing! I think in modern communication studies, we put a lot of emphasis on our relationships and our family relationships. Our relationships with our parents, and our siblings. I felt that there was this gap in content about communication with people who are super close to you in your peer group,” he explains. “Just an overwhelmingly personal song.”