After much anticipation, Joshua Bassett’s EP has finally arrived. In an interview with iHeartRadio, Bassett described the EP as “…the culmination of the last 2-3 years of songwriting. Each song speaks to a completely different chapter in my life, at widely varying times. It’s kinda like a musical journal”.
Bassett had already blessed us with two tracks (Lie Lie Lie and Only a Matter of Time) ahead of the initial release, each hinting at what the album would feel like. Bassett said that “both felt really strong and honest…I think they also show two completely different sides of me”.
Bassett doesn’t use smoke and mirrors to hide behind a facade. What is most evident with his self-titled debut EP is the strength of organic instruments. Rooted in guitar or piano, calling to early influences like Billy Joel and Sara Bareilles, Bassett’s way around a melody is silky smooth. Bassett fractures genres and melds them into a rootsier take.
Bassett’s lyricism contiants a deep level of vulnerability to them, which is precisely why fans have been able to connect with them. In fact, we found 7 times where the lyrics from the EP either made us want to caption your instagram posts with it, feel personally attacked from it, or downright feel relatable.
“LIE LIE LIE” – So they told me all the things that you said, Runnin’ all, over my name, oh, And you’re acting, oh, so innocent, Like I’m the only one to blame (0:14)
Bassett explains in the beginning that his friends are telling him that another close friend of his is running around behind his back, making outlandish statements regarding him. Bassett continued that the friend continued to run their mouth, slandering his name. Once Bassett confronted the friend about it, they attempted to act innocently, shifting the blame onto Bassett for any type of wrongdoing. If this isn’t relatable to any friend who bad mouthed you, then I don’t know what is.
“LIE LIE LIE” – You’ve been lying to yourselfLie to everyone else, Only thinking ’bout yourself, Darling, what the hell? (0:31)
These lyrics revolve around a Love/hate scenario. It’s not as if you don’t care about these people. Even if you’re mad at somebody, or upset at somebody, for doing something, you know, the reason you’re hurt is because you care about them, and you care about what they say, and what they think about you. And I think that’s the thing that’s confusing about it. Like, the, “Darling, what the hell” is more so, “I love you, why are you doing this to me?” sort of thing.
“ONLY A MATTER OF TIME” – Well, I’m sure that you’re hurting inside
But why would you makе your pain mine? You’re makin’ me pay for your crimеs (1:08)
There’s so much pain in these lyrics, mainly because it feels so real. Most often, human beings hurt other people while they continue to go through hardships themselves. Almost never do you see someone who is perfectly content with life and in turn, wish harm on somebody else. Just because you’re hurting, doesn’t mean your pain has to be somebody’s as well.
“HEAVEN IS YOU” – I always heard there was a heaven, I never knew if it was true, But darling ever since I met you I know that heaven is you, Heaven is you, heaven is you (0:51)
Heaven, in a biblical sense, is the place one travels to once their time on Earth has passed. In the context of the album, “heaven” is symbolic of “love”. Joshua is stating that he heard stories from others about their experiences and interactions with “heaven”. Although Joshua never fully believed in “heaven”, he continued to question the existence of it. However, due to the circumstances that lead him to this female counterpart, she helped him realize that “heaven” is in fact, a real thing.
“SORRY” – He told her things he knew that she wanted to hear, He’s a master puppeteer (0:21)
The opening verse to the first track on the EP sets the tone. Joshua is describing his internal, existential conflict and feelings about a girl that has experienced a toxic relationship once. In a way, the man manipulated the girl. He never had true feelings for her. Or had much interest in her. He liked having her around. So he fed her ideas and feelings to make her stick around. He understood what was needed to be said in order to keep her. Joshua calling him a “master puppeteer” is a stroke of great comparable lyricism. A puppeteer is one who controls and manipulates an object into whatever they wish for them to do or say, just like the guy was doing to this girl.
“DO IT ALL AGAIN” – We weren’t perfect (2:54)
On the surface, these lyrics act as a transition during the chorus of the song. However, once one digs deepers, there is a possible connection between this and another song: “Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo. In Rodrigo’s song, she sings “We weren’t perfect but I’ve never felt this way for no one”. While both are actors on the Disney+ hit show High School Musical: The Musical: The Show, both dated one another for sometime. During their post break up lives, Rodgrigo released a ballad supposedly about a memory she had about getting her drivers license with Bassett. Rodrigo and Joshua both announced their songs around the same time, with Joshua announcing his song on Instagram a week after “drivers license” came out. A simple coincidence of lyrics, or something deeper?
“TELLING MYSELF” – Don’t pretend, don’t pretend, You’re all a sudden innocent, innocent, My darlin’, how could you forget, you forget The first half of the story now? (1:15)
These lyrics cut deep. Joshua is pouring his heart out about a girl who attempted to frame him for all the ways in which their relationship went astray. The girl in question hos painting Joshua has the primary bad guy, the soul reason why everything went wrong between the two of them. She’s sticking to only half of the story in order for others to perceive her as some type of saint. In a rebuttal Joshua isn’t entirely defending himself here. Instead, he wants her to realize that there are always two halves to a story. What she says may in fact not be wrong, but Joshua is telling her that the other half of the story includes all the destructive times that she committed upon him.