The Scene Is Here to Stay, and Heartbreak Is Coming With It

The scene is here to stay, and heartbreak is coming with it. Well, The Heartbreak Hero is, anyway.

The scene is here to stay, and heartbreak is coming with it. Well, The Heartbreak Hero is, anyway.

Ray Hawthorne (The Heartbreak Hero)'s vocals have already amassed millions of streams with his project North Kingsley (accompanied by Shavo Odadjian), but now he's venturing off on his own with his debut EP, Heartbreak Feels Good in a Place Like This. In this EP, Ray is stepping into the kind of music he's always loved - scene shit from high school.

This collection of songs almost feels like walking chronologically through the last three decades of pop and emo punk music, from Bowling for Soup to Asking Alexandria to Hot Mulligan. Starting with the title track, Heartbreak Feels Good in a Place Like This, the title says it all. No other song on the EP is so quintessentially pop punk as this. It calls back to what it's like being a teenager experiencing heartbreak with a few modern twists and references. If the good 'ol days were a picture, this song is a polaroid.

As is the way of emo music, EMERGENCY turns a sharp, dark corner and calls in help from a specialist. It is a poignant reflection of Hawthorne's journey battling sobriety, delving into the internal struggles and personal demons he faces daily. Joining forces with none other than the acclaimed Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens, the track sees both emo mavericks intertwine their soul-stirring melodies and haunting lyrics to resonate with raw emotion and showcase their unrivaled authenticity.

tldr: Goodbye keeps a tight grip on your hand and your heart as it drags you through a story of regret. A story that starts with two friends and ends with one who never even said goodbye. Where the signs and symptoms were all there, and sadly, all ignored. It's a somber reminder to check on your friends, especially when they call out for help, but even moreso when they don't.

The tear on your cheek is hardly dry when suddenly, has your head banging and comes at you with a driving lead guitar riff. This is the hardcore side of emo punk. Stories of ghost towns and wreckage surround you as the tearing vocals scream of self destruction. The foray abates and is replaced by a chillingly beautiful layered harmony, only to crescendo back into the destruction.

Finally, it feels as if you've almost made it through the dark night as a comfortingly calm combination of acoustic and melodic electric guitar ease you into the final song, Felt Cute, Might Die Later. But this is emo. The vocals remind you this is not home, this is just a place where heartbreak feels good. This final song is an anthemic cry that feels unfortunately familiar, and refreshingly catastrophic. And at just under three minutes long, you can't help but start it all over again. Brace your eyes, the tears flow anew.

The final words on this debut EP release come from Ray himself:

"The day I have waited so long for is finally here! Everyone (whoever that may be) can listen to my silly emo punky songs. There's a bit of fun on this one, and a bit of a serious undertone as well, but most importantly it’s the kind of music I’ve always wanted to make. My 14 year old self would love this EP, and that's a win in my book. After years of working side by side and recording with so many musicians I grew up listening to and admiring, I’m finally able to step out and make something that’s my own. And that’s kinda cool. Just saying. Next up, I’m gonna invade Ryan Gosling’s life, Saltburn style."