Despite all the enthusiastic sparks that radiate around the artist Will Joseph Cook, now aged 22, as well as his music, his sophomore record already sounds like the result of someone coming to terms with the fact that the period of carefree youth is bound to end at some point. Yes, you can feel the vigour rushing through the guitar-fused indie-pop pieces. And yet, Something To Feel Good About may mark a turning point for Will, as he says early in our interview call:
‘On this record it felt like an actual process to make a get-out of certain emotions or experiences. So it was kind of a much heavier writing process this time around. I wanted to make a very personal record.’
Following 2017’s much-acclaimed Sweet Dreamer, a tumultuous and bright debut brimming with teenage spirit and sonic energy, Something To Feel Good About feels more like a reflection of sorts. It is a little less pouring it out from the heart to the strings, and more like finding an emotional core from which these powerful pieces are created. Also, finding the way back to guitar helped Will shape the language of his new work: ‘When I re-centered back to guitar for this album, everything started to make sense. This album definitely feels more like me, it’s more honest.’
“It’s a bit of a coming-of-age album”
Mostly written „around the age of 21, 22, in this transition between teenager and being an adult“, this record works quite as a log of the struggles of a young man stripping off carefree innocence and finding himself a shape amongst the shades that said transition entails. „I was in a five-year relationship, which ended quite badly. That kind of happened in the middle of the writing process, so it was kind of like re-assessing myself and the person that I had become“, he tells me.
And you can feel that transitory spirit in the songs, however powerful and ever-more life-affirming, they do root in sentiments of feeling lost, and yet working their way to dynamic calls for hope and confidence, „in spite of everything“.
„Those driverless cars“
It probably should not come as a surprise then, that Something To Feel Good About took up speed with a song like Driverless Cars, ‘a starting point’ for the record, according to Will Joseph Cook. A thumping base line and full-bodied guitars set the tone off to a charming journey ‘into the dark’, presenting a character who is losing himself in the sweet daze of perplexion.
‘Driverless Cars is really hoping to find some kind of motivation, some kind of destination to head towards. It was just about trying to find out where I was going musically and what I was doing with my life and how it felt like I wasn’t necessarily the one in control. I just felt like stuff was happening with me and I wasn’t steering anymore.’
This is a sentiment very much shared on the twin-like tune DOWNDOWNDOWN!. Equally fused with that sense of not knowing which road to take, it is a vibrant pop ballad that takes that feeling and turns it upside down, finding a kind of joy in spite of „not having much of a compass that time“.
‘Take me where the music loud
Some place that people like to go
When they’re feeling alone
Cause I’m down, down, down’
Looking out for the silver linings
That’s the spirit, really. And if you manage to lose yourself in the melodies on Something To Feel Good About, you might even overlook the struggling sentiments at their core, which is already the whole recipe for the album to work the way that it does: „To put everything to the side and focus on the good things, or to quote the young man once more: „The album takes something that’s very simple on the surface and expands it out. That’s quite exciting.“
“It’s about looking for those silver linings and choosing to what went right instead of what went wrong. And I think that was what helped me feel better about everything. You can go through something that might actually be at first just really painful, traumatic, something difficult. But after you go through something like that, most people wouldn’t want to go back to the person they were before it happened. Because you usually learn something really good.”
Will Joseph Cook‘s Something To Feel Good About arrives on November 27th via Bad Hotel but the first half of it is already streaming at an audio service of your choice right now.