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We had the pleasure of interviewing Best Ex over Zoom video!
“Good At Feeling Bad (release date: May 22, 2020 via No Sleep Records and Alcopop Records in the UK) is the follow-up to Best Ex’s debut EP ICE CREAM ANTI-SOCIAL(2017), and it’s a balance of the yin and yang of Mariel Loveland’s life from the past two years (with some lyrics dating back to 2015). Loveland says that over the course of writing this album, she’s gotten a little bit better at existing in her daily life in spite of whatever undesirable and earth-shattering thing is happening. “It’s like I’ve found a compartment somewhere in my body to just throw all the bad stuff, roll my eyes, and hope the locker still closes all the way at the end of the day,” she explains. “I’m not sure you ever get over the fear of happily waking up to read the news and discovering awful things about people you love, your life, or the world. But, at this point, when something bad happens, I think, ‘Oh, of course’. That’s when I decided to name my EP Good At Feeling Bad.”
The second single off the EP, the dazzling indie synth pop “Gap Tooth(On My Mind)“, is about the terrible feeling of getting lost in someone else’s life. “When I wrote it, I had been living on and off in England for the last few years with my then-boyfriend and his family,” she explains to FLOOD who premiered the video. “I started to realize over the course of our relationship that my life completely dissolved into his, which I think can happen when you’re dealing with a partner who’s suffering from depression. I had become so obsessed with caring for him and making him happy that one day, I woke up with an entirely different life in a foreign country. The future looked fantastic, so when he decided to dump me in a short phone call right before the holidays, it felt like someone had broken in and robbed me of my entire life in the middle of the night. I spent all of Christmas crying and the entire New Year’s begging my mom to come pick me up from my brother’s house. A few months later, I wrote this song.”
The first single off the EP, “Bad Love“, is a melancholic dark pop song that revels in minor keys while Loveland’s clear and emotive vocals tell the universal story of poor decisions turning into bad love. Likewise she says, “Lemons” though one of the peppiest tracks on the album, came from a really lonely place of realizing that most of the friends she thought she’d have forever – the kind of people she pictured next to her at her future wedding or babysitting their future kids – were quick to ditch her when things got tough. The most difficult track to write, however, was the menacing “Feed The Sharks.” She started writing this track nearly a year after admitting publicly that she suffered abuse and it absolutely spiraled in the press in a way she didn’t think was possible. “This is going to sound painfully millennial, but I remember standing on a street corner with an acai bowl, so happy they included this beautiful edible flower in my takeout order, thinking that things were finally looking up. Then I refreshed my social media and saw that days, later, someone finally published his public response. Almost none of it was true, but it seemed like everybody believed him and nothing would make it go away.”
The melancholic ballad “Two Of Us” could actually be seen as a love letter for friendships, though it’s the most somber track on the EP. The high energy “Good At Feeling Bad“, an uplifting track about remembering that people can be good even if the world has been unkind, closes out the EP with a major boost. It was written when she was splitting time between England and New Jersey while on her usual bus route in Kent. “I was planning on refilling my reusable bus pass but realized I didn’t have enough UK currency. A stranger ended up giving me £10 – I only needed 50p – just in case I needed extra if something else happened, and I thought, ‘Wow, this is so nice. I’m never going to forget this.’ And I never did.”