As singer of the beloved indie rock band The Mowglis, Colin Dieden helped craft plenty of the group’s energetic, festival-pleasing music, and he’s not missed a step with his new solo project Little Hurt. Launching the project in the midst of all the madness that was 2020 was certainly not easy, and Dieden has used the project to dig deep into his own personal battles with depression, mental health and his parents’ divorce. Yet, if you were to listen passively to these seven buoyant, upbeat nuggets, you might completely misdiagnose the content of these masterfully crafted tracks.
Pretty much any song here could work as a single, but “Alaska” was certainly a great choice for the first one. The funky bass and handclap rhythms, paired with Dieden’s attitude-laden delivery instantly catches your attention. Musically, the chorus sounds simple in nature, built around the hook “Sorry I had to move to Alaska”, but factor in the mariachi horns that give the track a sudden vibrancy, and it becomes clear there’s some pop genius happening. And while the lyrics reflect a person looking for escape and change, it’s brought to life by a daydreamer’s grandiosity.
Things are more danceable on “Better Drugs”, with the synth lines and tom tom drum tailoring the track perfectly for indie and alternative playlists. Lines like “I need better love or better drugs” will most certainly be sung along when Little Hurt is finally able to play live again. While the guitars are played down in this track, they’re kicked into high gear on “My Head Hurts”. While the lyrics on this one do verge on whiny (“Everything just gets worse, my eyes burn. Oh my God my head hurts!”), they are delivered with such bombastic bravado that it burns away any emo-leanings.
“Good as It Gets” and “It’s Okay Not to be Ok” compete for the title of “catchiest song on the album”, as both blast off with insanely catchy, pop rock singalong choruses. The former, with it’s call and response “Maybes” is another one that will be a joy to hear in a live setting.
“I Don’t Wanna Be Here” slows things down, incorporating a lo-fi hip-hop beat and sunny alt. pop vibe, even as Dieden recalls “losing myself now at another stranger’s place” and “dreaming of a way to disappear like a ghost”. It strangely feels like a song that would play well at a party, even though the lyrics describe finding one’s self at a party and wanting to be anywhere else.
Album closer “Messed Up” is an admittedly personal one for Dieden, who says of the track “I wanted to talk about some things I’d never spoken about in my music before, in particular how my parent’s divorce affected me. And why I’ve struggled with love, and with myself.” It’s a heavier track, with off-key chanting and a more angsty delivery than on previous songs, yet remains no less memorable.
Little Hurt is a project waiting to be discovered by the masses. The songs here are radio and playlist ready, and will easily win over audiences when played live. Until shows can happen again, take a listen to the album here.