Jackson Tujo

Grab the Popcorn: 'Heartbreak Feels Good In A Place Like This' Review

Music Scene Media
Feb 14, 2024
2 min read

"...But I'm not like Ryan Gosling in any f**king way." Is there any better way to describe apathy toward Valentine's Day? To convey his angst, Ray Hawthorne uses cinema references on the title track of his new EP, Heartbreak Feels Good In A Place Like This, released on Valentine's Day. To those who this may have slipped by, the title and cover reference the incredibly obnoxious preview at AMC Theatres. While the preview may be obnoxious, this EP knocks pop-punk and early 2000s emo sounds out of the park with a charm rarely found in modern music.

The first track on the EP, "Heartbreak Feels Good In A Place Like This," has a completely different vibe than the rest. While the EP as a whole can be considered an angsty, old-school emo sound, this somehow brings vibes of Green Day. Even better than that, Ray Hawthorne pulls off this sound, easily making it my favorite track on this release. This song features soaring guitars, and while I am not a pop-punk guy, I quickly fell in love with this track.

"EMERGENCY" flips this EP on its head. The track features emo legend Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens. Wow, this track is an old-school post-hardcore banger, giving energy of Silverstein and Senses Fail. "EMERGENCY" takes the energy up a notch, creating urgency and aggression. My favorite parts are the line "I'm nothing without apathy" and the breakdown featuring Quinn at the end.

Another favorite on Hawthorne's debut release is "6hostowns.org/b". I do not know the meaning behind the title, but the song goes so hard. If the previous track I mentioned is an old-school post-hardcore sound, this brings vibes of early 2000s metalcore. Somehow, Ray Hawthorne even pulls off this sound, too. The riffs sound incredible and boisterous, the bass sounds thumpy, 10/10 would swing in the pit to this track.

Before my first listen, I had never heard of Ray Hawthorne; when I saw this was his first solo release, I figured it would be a rough sketch with possibly middling production. I am so entirely glad to be wrong. Hawthorne mixes in a wide range of sounds while sounding polished at whatever sound he attempts. The guitars are huge, and the choruses are catchy; what else could you want?

I look forward to seeing what Ray Hawthorne creates next.

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