Kinetic energy is the order of the day with Little Hurt’s new single “My Head Hurts”. It is a cataloging of complaint, but vocalist Colin Dieden throws himself into his singing with such abandon it sounds almost exultant. The brash, chest-puffed out musical character of the music has a strong pop rock pedigree yet a balanced approach never leaning too far in any direction. It sounds almost defiant, a shout from deep within the soul announcing that he is still standing despite these countless slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
The song’s existence confirms this idea. There’s always a note of victory present in even the saddest songs because the songwriter and performer have woven art out of the threads of their personal pain. Colin Dieden expresses the discontent plaguing his life with stark clarity – there’s no mincing his language. The first person perspective he adopts for the lyrics lends additional urgency to the song.
It doesn’t lack urgency, however. The marriage of the assertive arrangement and Dieden’s impassioned vocals packs plenty of wallop and gives “My Head Hurts” a surprising dramatic edge. He maintains that edge throughout the near three minute entirety of the track. The duration points, once again, to the unerring focus Little Hurt brings to this song – Little Hurt doesn’t waste any time, his or the listeners, and dives deep into the heart of “My Head Hurts” at high speed.
His vocal performance is far from manner. Little Hurt surrounds every aspect of this track, particularly the vocals, with seething concentration and renders his emotional state in a manner akin to a high wire act. It sounds like his voice could run off the rails at any time, but it never does. He puts everything on the line in an attempt to convince listeners how close he is to the edge and it is a rousing success.
The chorus has a rousing touch. The simmering incomprehension running through the verses, how did things get this bad, comes to a head with the refrain and Dieden blasts out the lyrics with double the passion heard throughout the verses. It’s a bracing moment and never hits a false note. The movement into the song’s second half comes off without a hitch. There’s nothing missing from this number. Little Hurt utilizes fundamentals and an inspired performance to make this one of the more impressive tracks I’ve heard in 2020.
I confess a lack of familiarity with the band and Colin Dieden before hearing this release. I’ll be following Little Hurt from this point forward. When talking heads of every persuasion babble about the death of popular music, rock in particular, think of artists such as this who continue carrying the banner forward for new generations. They are not cleaning up financially like their predecessors, but perhaps that’s best for the art to retain the rugged individuality inherent to the best examples of its power. “My Head Hurts” hits all the right places for me and shows Little Hurt are a project evolving by leaps and bounds.
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