Sometimes it can fall into the cliché territory, but can you think of something that has been so withstanding in music as love? It can be considered a common denominator in the music world; it has stood the test of time and can be heard throughout the most varying genres. Toronto musician Hayden has a new album out called Hey Love, the first in which he mentions the topic, but he is no stranger to it. Just from the titles of his previous releases—Everything I Long For, The Closer I Get, Elk-Lake Serenade, The Place Where We Lived and Us Alone—it’s easy to pick up on the extending theme of Hayden’s music.
For the majority of it, things are kept minimal and mellow. The bassline keeps a smooth groove, percussion is bright, synths are soft and the guitar is simple. There are instruments that give the music a quaint quirk, such as the harmonica, tambourine, and shakers. Hayden has a mature voice, but he keeps his vocal minimal and modest, which I think is beautifully intentional. His voice gives the record its greatest amount of heart.
“Hearts Just Beat” is a solemn open to the album, which talks about the realities of love and inevitable trap of emotion. Putting some pep into things musically, but keeping things frank lyrically, “Troubled Times” references some harsher truths about when things just can’t go right. Hayden sings, “If it’s not one thing, then it’s another. These sure are troubled times.” “Nothing Easy Feels This Good” is an instrumental that features some celestial synths. Title-track “Hey Love” is the record’s quintessential heartfelt confessional where Hayden claims love as his sole reason for existence. “Just Come Out Tonight” seems like a random selection on the tracklisting. Unlike the rest, this song features a heavy electric guitar, unhinged vocals, and dark drums.
One of the greatest facets of art is that it’s open for interpretation. Of course, Hayden could be speaking to someone in particular. Sometimes Hayden seems like he isn’t speaking to a person, but rather as if he was addressing love as if it were a tangible, conversation partner itself. This album can be a representation of what Hayden would reveal if he could speak to love. He taps into what I think a lot of people would say to it if given the chance, and I’m sure you’ll find at least one thing that will pull on your heartstrings regardless of your own story. A hopeless romantic or a complete critic of love, Hey Love speaks to a certain level of humanity that anyone can appreciate.