Heartbreak. You wouldn’t wish it on anyone, really. The hot tears, the earth-shattering pain, the delusion that comes with losing someone you once held dear. But every once in a while, a musician comes along who can channel all the suffering into something rather beautiful, and get to the very core of that most universal human experience.
Glasgow’s self-confessed ‘sadboy’, Joesef, is one such talent. The twenty-five year-old has drawn praise from the likes of Mark Ronson and Sam Smith for his luscious break-up ballads, and has inspired the sort of devotion that sold-out King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut before even releasing a debut single.
2019’s ‘Play Me Something Nice’ EP was our introduction to Joesef’s romantic and intimate artistry – a collection of songs about his first great love affair with another man, that came wrapped up in an amber-warm haze and felt like a diary-entry written in a hungover stupor.
Joesef’s latest EP, ‘Does It Make You Feel Good?’, picks up where his first left off, resuming and ultimately concluding the same up-and-down relationship. Building upon the elegiac and classic sound of ‘Play Me Something Nice’, the Glaswegian’s six new songs combine old-school jazz and soul with modern pop melodies. But it’s the emotions that leave a lasting imprint, carrying all the hallmarks of heartbreak as he lucidly captures that push-and-pull of nostalgia and regret for a first love.
On opener ‘Everything Belongs To You’, drum beats swirl in and out like a bad memory, whereas finale ‘Comedown’ is a mournful, cinematic tribute to an ex. “I can’t seem to get you out my head / feel your kiss with every single breath”, croons Joesef in time to gorgeous, swelling strings on the Loyle Carner-featuring ‘I Wonder Why’, sighing in exasperation at his ceaseless infatuation.
Eventually, though, Joesef starts to gain some clarity and move on. ‘Think That I Don’t Need Your Love’ is a celebratory anthem for self-empowerment: “there’s a change in me”, he sings like Smokey Robinson over tight Motown brass. “After everything you put me through / I found myself a different view”, he defiantly affirms on ‘The Sun is Up Forever’.
The agony of love lost may have inspired ‘Does It Make You Feel Good?’, but there’s no doubt that Joesef’s timeless songwriting is only going to win over countless hearts, and, perhaps, mend his own.
- Release date: October 9
- Record label: Bold Cut/AWAL