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“The Hard Way” - EIGHTY NINETY | Review

With a slow piano based build, “The Hard Way” from EIGHTY NINETY thinks about the hypothetical hurt of falling just a bit too in love.

“What if it breaks me into pieces, what if you tear my life in two?”

It’s a contemplative cathartic love song at its core. It’s a situation where protecting your heart may cause more hurt than risking it all for love, sometimes you just need to learn the hard way. I appreciated the soft and uplifting story throughout the track. It’s so easy to become stuck in the paralysis of not wanting to get hurt by love.

EIGHTY NINETY always does a beautiful job wheezing together wistful piano and acoustics with intricate and stunning synths. The build of the track takes listeners along the same story as the lyrics - from hesitant and almost nervous to hopeful and uplifting as it swells in the end. I know this is just a glimpse into what we can expect from their debut album later this year.

Elaborating on the lyrical inspiration, they continue: "'The Hard Way' is about choosing to love someone no matter how much life intervenes. It’s about being brave enough to make the choice to completely commit to a person, no matter the risk. It's about looking directly at all your fears about how things could go wrong and knowing that even if they all come to pass, it's still worth it."

Eighty Ninety is the project of Brooklyn-based brothers Abner (vocals, production) and Harper (guitar, production) James. They fuse intimate storytelling, sticky melodies, and minimalist pop productions built on acoustic instruments and electronic sounds in a style they call “808s and telecasters” — a shorthand for both their music and their anything-goes mentality in the studio. To date, they've racked up over 33 million streams and have received glowing reviews from tastemakers like Billboard, Alternative Press and Ones To Watch.

Review by Hannah Schneider

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