Best Ex’s new EP, Good At Feeling Bad, brings a change of musical direction to the NYC-based artist Mariel Loveland, who has traded in her pop-punk crown for a more wholesome one with a slight edge of indie to it.
The follow up to Loveland’s 2017 debut, Ice Cream Anti Social, details her recovery from abuse and the strength she found during this time. With Good At Feeling Bad, the artist has not only changed her sound but has created a new identity for herself with producer Andy Tongren of Young Rising Sons behind her. Through this partnership, they have managed to fuse together dribbling’s of melancholia with a strong pop powerhouse vibe.
Gap Tooth (On My Mind) opens up this selection of shimmering catchy pop songs with a delicate vocal intro that paves the way for waves of light harmonies and a booming, synth-led, hook-filled chorus. It has radio play written all over it, with Best Ex giving us the perfect example of how to write a pop tune. This track really shows Loveland can keep up with the elite, with hints of Picture This and a touch of Bastille lingering somewhere deep within the song.
Good At Feeling Bad progresses smoothly with the guitar-driven Lemons picking up the momentum with its power punk tones and thumping bass lines. It instantly adds a bit more of a punch to the EP and is sure to delight fans everywhere.
The melancholy of Bad Love displays another side to Best Ex’s songwriting quill. Loveland’s voice is clear and touchingly poignant as she sings about her past relationship. The rawness of her words, coupled with an almost eerie sounding synth makes for an uncomfortable listen, but somehow still manages to maintain the groove of pop she has laboured on.
Feed The Sharks is where Loveland portrays the online abuse she has suffered in the past, perfectly summoning up her experiences. The artist has created a simple mid-tempo power-pop song that gradually builds into a flurry of synths and guitars that have been carefully layered in all the right places. With a memorable chorus that has an infectious sound to it, it’s bound to be an instant crowd-pleaser.
The EP ends flawlessly, with the title track, Good At Feeling Bad, perfectly illustrating the songwriting transformation of Best Ex. It’s a groovy, danceable tune that successfully completes a record full of pop worthy feel-good songs that makes it almost impossible not to enjoy.
Overall, Good At Feeling Bad is a smooth transition to pop for the artist. After a couple of listens, it seems as though the person Loveland is breaking up with is her old identity as she embraces the more musically adventurous and upbeat Best Ex.