Jeremy Zucker and Chelsea Cutler reflect on past partners and childhood nostalgia in their highly anticipated five-track EP “brent ii” released Feb. 4.
“brent ii” offers listeners a look into the pair’s past romantic experiences, showcasing a level of talent that makes it hard to believe they each released debut albums within the last year.
The EP’s lead track, “this is how you fall in love,” opens with an idyllic, dream-like sequence of soft synths, delicate vocals and imaginative lyrics: “We’ll turn off the phones to just be alone / We’ll draw the curtains and never leave home.” In addition to swooning over the song’s ultra-romantic lyrics, I thoroughly enjoyed the pair’s lush harmonies and acoustic melodies.
“parent song” made me want to call my mom, ASAP. Reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s 2008 single “The Best Day,” this track relies on folksy acoustic guitar and whimsical vocals. As a college student who often reminisces on time spent with her parents, the track’s descriptive lyrics hit home: “Don’t think I can make it to November / I just really need to hear your voice.”
Beautifully heartbreaking“emily” describes the difficult process of accepting the dwindling decline of a longtime love: “I’ll lie to you, screaming, ‘I’d die for you’ / Knowing how hard it’ll be to get back to where we started.” The track incorporates fast acoustic guitar, soft vocals and slow rhythms, seamlessly mirroring the project's overarching stripped-down theme.
One of my favorites, “brooklyn boy” features crescendoing heavy-hitting drums and rising synths, which often drop off to accentuate Zucker’s detailed songwriting. Beyond the track’s soothing piano and warm vocals, its lyrics perfectly capture a sense of self-reflection and hope: “I’ll be your angel, you’ll be my flower girl / When it gets painful / I’ll take all I can endure.”
“the stars” is a slow love ballad perfectly fit for any rainy day spent alone. Amid a series of faint brass solos, Cutler grapples with the aftermath of heartbreak: “Maybe I want your love forever, is that so bad to say? / Maybe we’re meant to be together if God has his way.” Between the track’s buttery vocals and melodic production, I found “the stars” to be aptly named — the track is lightyears ahead of its time.
Zucker and Cutler’s vulnerability on “brent ii” is so simple-but-layered, delivering a catalog of hit after hit. Although the pair’s EP is among the earliest batch of February's music releases, it is one of my favorites thus far.