The heart of singer-songwriter Mariel Loveland has always been her DIY spirit. As a teenage poet, she taught herself guitar in an attempt to put her words to music, writing her first songs in the margins of her notebook during math class. Not long after, with little more than a rusted-out van and a handful of home recordings, the songwriter hit the road with Candy Hearts, a wide-eyed punk band rooted in early ‘00s nostalgia.
Within two short years, Candy Hearts went from playing in basements across the East Coast to sharing the stage with pop punk heavyweights like Man Overboard, New Found Glory, and Weezer. Math class became MTV and the microphones she set up in her mother’s basement became an LA recording studio. After a stint on Vans Warped Tour, Loveland found herself wondering: what happens after your childhood dreams come true? It turns out, you start all over again. Enter: Best Ex.
With her solo endeavor, Loveland has managed to maintain the diary-like introspection and biting sarcasm of previous releases, swapping out energetic guitars for fuzzed-out synths and dreamy acoustics. Her previous two EPs—Ice Cream Anti-Social (2017) and Good At Feeling Bad (2020)—were met with critical acclaim from publications like Billboard and Alternative Press, even landing airplay on BBC Radio 1. After inking a new record deal, Loveland is gearing up for Best Ex’s full-length debut.
“With a Smile” is full of sardonic emo-tinged indie-pop songs about breakup and heartache. The album is a concept album about the ways in which the world tells women to smile. "We’re expected to be a million things, but one of those is always pleasant in public. We’re supposed to suck up our issues with our mental health (lest we get labeled hysterical or over-emotional). We’re expected to shrug off the injustices we see in the world. We’re expected to just smile through our own abuse and never say a word. And of course, sometimes we smile for good reason. We fall in love, people make us laugh, the sunshine in the summer feels healing. Good things do happen, there is still beauty in the world. I’m not a total cynic, I’m just an exhausted introvert." - Mariel Loveland / Best Ex
01. With a Smile
02. Tell Your Friends
03. Give Me a Break
04. Salt On Skin
05. I Promise to Ruin Your Life
06. Stay With Me
07. Die For You (feat. Luxtides)
08. Cut Me Out
09. What The Hell
11. The End