The Lookout is a studio album by American folk musician Laura Veirs, released on Raven Marching Band Records on April 13, 2018 to positive critical reception. Veirs recorded the work around her collaboration case/lang/veirs and continued a streak of working with her husband Tucker Martine as producer.
The music card might say, ‘write in 5/4’; the lyric card might be ‘use the first line of a poem’ and the mood might be ‘sad’ or whatever. I was tricking myself into feeling surprised and forcing myself to try something new. There were aspects of it that were super annoying (because you had to do what the cards told you to), but it forced me to be disciplined and do the work.
While touring and recording with case/lang/veirs, Veirs spent a year writing songs for the album, totaling 117 but only recording 14 that made up the final 12-song playlist for The Lookout. Her writing process involved a structured approach of four hour days four days a week, alongside a stochastic approach that involve using prompts for a song’s mood, lyrical theme, and musical theme. Leading up to the release of the album, Veirs posted several of these cards onto her social media accounts and created a music video for “Everybody Needs You”, released on January 30, 2018. Digital streaming for “Watch Fire” and a music video for “Lightning Rod” preceded the album. She promoted the release with a short tour of Europe and North America.
Veirs’ lyrical content is written in response to personal anxieties and insecurities as well as the political climate after the 2016 United States presidential election and the album is summed up with “Zozobra” as a hopeful song to provide solace to listeners. Although these themes were not deliberate, the title The Lookout came from the need that emerged for all of us to take care of one another in trying times. The song is also an ode to honor her husband Tucker Martine. Motherhood inspired her writing and her children perform vocals on one song.