Best Ex – ‘Good at Feeling Bad’ EP review

Best Ex Good at Feeling Bad EP review Alcopop Records No Sleep Records 2020

Mariel Loveland (ex Candy Hearts) says her ‘Good at Feeling Bad’ Ep is ‘a middle finger from a woman who’s over it and finds happiness regardless of the things that constantly try to knock us down’. Covering the major events from the past two years in Mariel’s life – including a devastating break-up from a toxic relationship – the result is a personal and powerful collection of pop songs with perfect hooks.

The EP opens with recent single ‘Gap Tooth (On My Mind)’, a beats-heavy, electronica-tinged break-up anthem that focuses on the aforementioned partner (‘Your mind is a beautiful prison. You’re trapped in yur own existence’) and the ways Mariel wanted to deal with this personal situation: ‘Maybe I’ll go out and kiss a couple of guys’. There’s also an underlying sadness as Mariel admits ‘I’m terrified’. The breezy Tegan and Sara-esque power pop of ‘Lemons’ follows with its hooks and deeply personal observations: ‘I was drunk, I was drinking now I’m in a bathroom in Penn station wondering ‘how did I get here?”

‘Bad Love’ is a contemporary tale of a failed romance, complete with ‘the bitter taste of lukewarm beer and all the other girls your brought here’, while ‘Feed the Sharks’ heads into the kind of electronic and melodic pop sound made by Let’s Eat Grandma. This song again is full of heartbreak and self-depreciation as Mariel reveals she has ‘broken down’ and admits ‘I’m sick of telling myself I am now what you did to me. I am not the awful things you want me to be’. The piano ballad ‘Two of Us’ is another song full of Mariel’s anecdotes about quiet taxi rides and the nervous energy she felt when she invited a suitor in to her home when she was just 19: ‘We’re both broken in the same places’.

The EP closes with the title track and its jangly indie-pop hooks bring to mind The 1975 or any number of Jack Antonoff-associated projects as Mariel reveals how she finds solace in tough times with a Diet Coke and her favourite shows. She sings about how ‘all my friends are outside getting high, you’re the only one feeling my vibe’ before focusing on how she’s starting to manage the more negative aspects of modern life: ‘By now my darkness has a pedigree. I’m getting good at haing something wrong with me. I’m good at feeling bad’.

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