Little Hurt’s “Cooler If U Did” is the next step in an outside-the-box and cathartic solo journey that began in 2019 for Colin Dieden. The former front man for smash indie act The Mowgli’s craved a more personal space for his music in the aftermath of The Mowgli’s stirring success and adopted the moniker Little Hurt for the music emerging from that place. The songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist clearly owes his allegiances to high-end pop music, first and foremost, but “Cooler If U Did” has a bubbling melting pot of influences clearly audible after even a single listen. Dieden isn’t afraid to take his music in directions other songwriters will not go and the daring pays off with one of 2022’s best all-around singles.
You can hear the bare-bones beginnings of this song, likely Dieden with an acoustic guitar, peeking out throughout the song. The jangle you hear during assorted passages of “Cooler If U Did” fleshes the song out further than it otherwise would be but the added weight is strictly musical. It isn’t the pseudo-folkie trappings of the track that draws listener’s attention, however. Instead, it’s the glistening pop textures abundant from beginning to end and the unpredictable habit he evidences early for steering listeners through inventive changes and unexpected flourishes.
Older listeners will learn a lesson here. You may read this review or go into hearing the song for the first time expecting a disposable pop confection but Little Hurt surprises you. The seeming shallowness of the song title with its childlike spelling is an artful ruse. Little Hurt’s lyrical content, instead, is occasionally profane and caustic, but it’s a point of view full of insight as well. It sometimes comes in a near-torrential flood of images and associations, but Dieden is in control throughout and there are plenty of times when you can hear him aiming for and achieving very specific results.
His vocal contributes a lot to the song’s overall success. There is some post-production manipulation, but precious little in the end. He’s alternately playful, biting, hard-charging, and always full of energy throughout the performance. It’s an orchestrated performance, however, as Dieden fully understands when to modulate his vocal and how to tailor it to the musical arrangement. We’re hearing the result of his experience coming to the fore here, both with The Mowgli’s and post-2019. It shows how far he’s come.
SMART URL: https://orcd.co/cooler
Betting on himself with this project has scored an unqualified personal and artistic success. We get the feeling hearing Little Hurt that we’re getting the “real” Colin Dieden, 200 proof with no chaser, hearing his latest single “Cooler If U Did”. This single from his forthcoming EP later this year is an excellent harbinger of great things to come. Betting on him to blow past even the impressive achievement of this song increasingly looks like a sure thing and his career has the potential to go untold places from here. The new singles ask us to take the trip with him promising it will sound this awesome the entire way.
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