3WW

Songfacts®:

  • The opening track of Alt-J's third album Relaxer opens with a 90-second acoustic guitar instrumental before the band's Joe Newman and Gus Unger-Hamilton plus Wolf Alice's Ellie Rowsell start contributing vocals. The title '3WW' stands for "3 worn words," those three words being "I love you."
  • The abstract story features the three singers singing about three different characters. Gus Unger-Hamilton croons from a "wayward lad's" point of view, Joe Newman takes a third party's perspective and Ellie Roswell represents two girls whom Unger-Hamilton has an amorous encounter with.

    According to a newsletter the band sent out to fans, the song "traces the adventures of a wayward lad on England's northeast coast, culminating in the whispering of three worn words."
  • The song features strings from the London Metropolitan Orchestra.
  • Alt-J's primary lyrical goal is to sing about love in a way that hasn't been expressed before. Joe Newman explained to NME how they tried to do that with this song:

    "With '3WW', that's the story of a young man who travels the country and spends a night with these girls by the campfire," he said. "And they send him a note saying, 'We may have said last night that we loved you, but that's not necessarily true."

    Love was just a way of getting us to our destination,'" Newman concluded. "In a way, it's an anti-love song, filled with sex."

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