But even though part of me hopes that you die / I guess that I really do wish you the best, shrugs Eli Hurts over punk-pop static, rimmed with acoustic guitar. With his new song “The Best,” his first release for Rude Records, an independent label based in Europe, the singer-songwriter morphs lonesome sorrow into piping hot rage. As he works through his pain, the track scatters what’s left of his heart as shredded notebook paper into a summer gust.
“I was really angry when I wrote this song. I’m glad I’m not this angry anymore. It sucks to be angry; it’s painful,” Hurts says, “but I guess it’s unavoidable. Looking back, I make it seem so dramatic. Definitely playing quite the victim in this one, but let’s be honest, it was equally my fault. It’s all good.”
Written about “getting dumped,” he tells American Songwriter, the aughts-influenced punk track underscores Hurts dynamics as both a lyricist and vocalist, letting his vocal chords strain right on the brink of deterioration. I am permanently possessed, he seethes. Such complexity also appears in the song’s whip-lash between hollow acoustics and firework emissions, a duality inspired by a close friend. “My friend Trent had the idea for the super quiet to super loud thing in the verses, which to me makes it feel quite shocking,” he says.
With only a handful of singles and a 2020 EP, called Future Accountants of America, to his name, as well as work with a band called courtship, Eli Hurts pulls upon such influences as Smashing Pumpkins, My Chemical Romance, and Weezer, In terms of songwriting, he leans into the craft’s innate “experience of flow, having it come through, arriving fully formed,” he says. “The other part, refining, I love also ─ but it’s different, less euphoric.”
His songwriting process ultimately lies within one of two extremes. “Either it’s written in an hour (rare), or I dick around with a musical idea for a year and words find their way into it,” he says. “Then, I demo it, listen, and decide if it’s worth doing.”
Listen to “The Best” below.