Little Hurt wants a woman who’s all wrong for him to do the right thing in his irresistible new single Cooler If U Did — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
Boasting a tight groove and a soaring, atmospheric chorus, the latest number from former Mowgli’s member Colin Dieden cleverly and creatively blurs the line between indie-pop, alt-rock and R&B. Deftly blending thumpy drums, fuzzy guitars, a grinding bassline and noisy sonics with shimmering vocal harmonies, sweet strumming and even finger snaps, the track shouldn’t work but beautifully does — in contrast to Dieden’s lyrics about falling for someone even though you know it’s never going to work. If his tale rings true, well, that’s because it is.
“Cooler If U Did was a song that was written after I went through a really difficult breakup,” he admits. “I got together with Jordan Witzigreuter from The Ready Set and my friend Ryan Baharloo and we rented a house in Venice Beach. It was a great, creative environment where we wrote a song together so I could get my mind off the situation. Cooler If U Did is an interesting song to me because I feel like it spans multiple genres. It’s an alternative rock song with pop sensibilities and R&B melodies scattered all over it, as well as moments in the post-chorus that have an edgier rock sound.”
But if you think Dieden’s romantic travails inspired his musical handle, think again. The story actually starts at a dusty Kansas City sandlot during the ’90s, when he acquired the nickname Little Hurt as a nod to designated hitter Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas. The singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist had all but forgotten his childhood nickname until he woke up from a deep sleep one night in 2019. Suddenly he felt a strong need to fulfil the name once more — not at home plate, but in the studio and on stage.
“It’s part of my past, so it felt right for the future,” he explains. “When I think about it, I can see, smell, and hear the Midwest in the summer. The memory was so visceral and clear. I knew it was cool, because I have so much attached to it. I was taking a step forward musically, but also looking back to a time before things got complicated. Of course, it’s a bit emotional too. I’m just a kid from Kansas who’s a little hurt.”
By 2019, that “kid” had come a long way from Kansas, fronting The Mowgli’s to international success upheld by more than 200 million cumulative streams, widespread critical acclaim, and sold-out shows far and wide. After nearly a decade, he desired to share himself like never before. Moving on with the blessing of his bandmates (and friends), Colin began writing for what would become Little Hurt in early 2019.
“I wanted to tell a story that was entirely my own,” he explains. “There were things I needed to say by myself. I started writing about who I am and my life totally unfiltered. I’ve dealt with a lot of issues. I’ve got a complicated head and can be my own worst enemy. Anxiety is something I’ve battled forever, so I built a place to deal with these heavier subjects such as the struggle with depression. I’m not always the happy guy; but I’m happy opening up like I have here.”
Equally influenced by everything from Jack Kerouac to Louis the Child, CSNY to Major Lazer, as well as touchstones such as The National and The Smiths, he fashioned a dreamy and dynamic style rooted in ethereal production flourishes and candid lyricism on the line between alternative and pop. His 2021 debut album Every Second propelled Little Hurt as a solo artist, with hits Messed Up and My Head Hurts solidifying his bona fides as a songwriter. 2022 has been a busy one so far, with Dieden playing live again to support the release of singles Get Out Of My Life, Help Me Out, Chelsea’s Coming Over and Cooler If U Did, with an EP due in late 2022.
“When you hear this music, I want you to feel like you’re not the only crazy person in the world,” Colin leaves off. “It’s normal to go through anxiety and depression. I want to let everyone know they’re not alone. We’re all a Little Hurt, and it’s okay.”