Best Ex (aka Mariel Loveland) underwent a complete rebrand following Candy Hearts back in 2017, but it’s safe to say this new venture is more personal and relatable than ever before as she releases sophomore EP, ‘Good At Feeling Bad’.
Opener ‘Gap Tooth (On My Mind)’ throws us straight into the general theme of this record, battling with a few years of ups and downs, and this track provides the perfect introduction into picking apart a seemingly messy break-up, yet stills manages to be an infectiously catchy sing-along; a notorious talent that Loveland possesses.
Throughout the EP, there’s a very evident strong influence of Taylor Swift weaving through the songs. ‘Bad Love’ encompasses a sexy feminine vibe, whilst the short sharp rhyming “I keep coming back for more / My heart’s an open door / A prisoner of war” provide a real badass element. Likewise, ‘Feed The Sharks’ and its effectively repetitive chorus almost mirrors Swift‘s ‘Out Of The Woods’ perfectly.
Given that Loveland‘s past music lies in the pop-punk word, it’s safe to say her new adventure in indie-pop has paid off perfectly. The upbeat dance aesthetic of ‘Lemons’ is the perfect self-love anthem, with “I can be my own best friend” bound to be relatable mantra for many a listener. Continuing this power pop frenzy, the titular track pulls out a nostalgia 80s beat, with an air of Carly Rae Jepson making it a perfect closing track.
‘Two Of Us’ provides a much needed pause in the record as a beautifully written ballad. Its anthemic chorus is surprisingly one of the only times on ‘Good At Feeling Bad’ where you can sense some form of pop-punk background, as the anthemic piano melody combined with her powerful vocals oozes a sense of classic Mayday Parade.
There’s no denying that a total rebrand for any musician is always a risky move, but Loveland‘s decade-long career has proved she knows exactly the best direction for her music.
Although this EP feels more of a self-reflection of perhaps not the greatest years of her life, its relatability to many is what will undoubtedly take ‘Good At Feeling Bad’ from strength-to-strength. It’ll be exciting to see where Best Ex hopefully takes a full-length album in the not too distant future.