For New Jersey-bred singer-songwriter Mariel Loveland, a new release — her first in three years — means not just a change in sound, but a change in identity.
Candy Hearts is now Best Ex, and Loveland plans to release a brand-new studio EP called Ice Cream Anti Social this summer. We’ve also got the premiere of Best Ex’s first song — a DIY pop charmer called “Girlfriend” that retains Candy Hearts’ sticky hooks but updates the guitar-and-drum clatter with oozing slabs of synth. Sonically, it’s a bedroom pop reinvention of Carly Ray Jepsen’s “I Really Like You” matched to the sentiment of Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend,” only with the lyrical level upped from “middle school” to “figuring out your 20s.”
There’s also a part where you think she’s singing “We both like Brand New,” but it turns out to be “We both like brand new shiny toys.”
Even if the insight’s from an older place, Loveland admits much of the song is inspired by her high school crush. “We were the best of friends, but he always had this older, cooler girlfriend and I’d never even been kissed before,” she tells Billboard. “I’d be sitting next to him at the diner or watching a movie we picked out at Blockbuster just wishing he’d kiss me (he didn’t). I’d get home and wonder if he had felt the same way, and imagine what it’d be like if this faceless, nameless college-aged girlfriend he had didn’t exist.”
Check out the lyric video below:
As for the name change, Loveland passed along the following message:
Candy Hearts has always been an extension of everything I am. I came up with the idea for the band when I was a teenager, and I think it was deeply empowering at the time to be able to be in a punk band, shout on stage, and still own the fact that I felt like such a shy, insecure girl. That was always my thing — I’m powerful despite my anxieties. I think over the past five years — after the amazing whirlwind my band has been through that I still can’t believe even happened — it really transformed from an extension of myself to an extension of my anxiety and not much else.
To me, Best Ex is taking everything that Candy Hearts is — everything that I am — and giving it a breakup makeover. Only I didn’t break up with a lying, good-for-nothing human being, I broke up with my lying, good-for-nothing anxiety. To me, this record is that light at the end of the tunnel I’ve been trying to find for the last two and a half years. Making it felt like falling and figuring out my wings actually hadn’t been clipped like I thought. I’m so happy to have this finally be out there and to have it stand, where it belongs, alongside all of our other songs, which I consider a deep part of who I am.
As Candy Hearts, Loveland released two LPs — 2014’s All the Ways You Let Me Down and 2011’s Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy — as well as a handful of EPs and singles.
Beyond the new name and EP, Best Ex is also announcing a bunch of tour dates for summer 2017. It’s a co-headlining tour with Promise of Redemption (featuring Valencia’s Shane Henderson), Baggage, June Divided, Kozi and others to be announced. Aside from Loveland, Best Ex’s lineup will feature “a rotating cast of friends most often including Matt Ferraro, John Clifford and Bobby Vaughn.”
Find the dates below:
June 25: Metro Gallery, Baltimore, Md.
June 26: Canal Culb, Richmond, Vir. ^
June 27: Milestone, Charlotte, NC
June 28: New Brookland Tavern, Columbia, SC ^
June 30: TBD, Tampa, Fla. ^
July 1: Backbooth, Orlando, Fla. ^
July 2: Siberia, New Orleans, La.
July 3: Dirty 30, Dallas, Tex.
July 4: Dirty Dog Bar, Austin, Tex.
July 6: Rebel Lounge, Phoenix, Ari.
July 7: Beauty Bar, Las Vegas, Nev.
July 8: The Holding Company, San Diego, Cali.
July 9: Viper Room, Los Angeles, Cali.
July 10: Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, Cali.
July 12: Loading Dock, Salt Lake City, Utah
July 14: Vega, Lincol, Neb.
July 15: Subterranean, Chicago Ill. *
July 16: Mahall’s, Cleveland, Ohio *
July 17: Smiling Moose, Pittsburgh, Penn. *
July 19: Middle East Upstairs, Boston, Mass. *
July 20: Studio at Webster, New York City *
July 21: Foundry, Philadelphia, Penn. *
* with Baggage
^ with June Divided