Better Days – ‘Hard To Love’ Review

Posted: by Riley

On Bandcamp, James Jasolka calls their Better Days project – and by extension, themself – a “constant work in progress.” And on the newest EP from the Pennsylvania songwriter, called Hard To Love, they make plenty of it. Hard To Love is an apt title for the release; it’s not just the name of the 3rd and final track, but also a flawless, succinct, dual-meaning description of the EP. Across the 3-song short-player, Jasolka sticks to a theme of feeling inadequate in relationships; from the toxic back-and-forth, giving up, and the self-doubt that comes with letting someone new in once the dust has settled. They are not lyrically complex and opt not to overcomplicate their feelings; however, these songs are beautifully relatable and demonstrate an emotional intelligence and tenderness that can’t be taught. 

With this trio of songs, you get the sense that Jasolka finds it “Hard To Love” others, but also quarrels with their own insecurity and finds it “Hard To Love” themself sometimes. Luckily, the multiple meanings stop there, because this EP is anything but “Hard To Love.” For an emo-leaning, mostly acoustic project, Better Days offers surprisingly lush, fluttery soundscapes full of swelling synths and strings. Jasolka’s wholesome approach to songwriting separates this EP from other skinny-handwritten-type releases you’ll find while perusing Bandcamp. Each piece of Hard To Love’s less than 10-minute run-time is tucked neatly into place, while they offer melodies that’d make Evan Weiss look twice. Jasolka has done what is so important for those struggling with self-doubt and insecurity in or out of relationships: turned those feelings into something beautiful for others to absorb and partake in. Excuse my grammar mistake, but here’s hoping for more Better Days.

Score: 8.0

FFO: Into It. Over It., Death Cab For Cutie, The Flats