By Isaiah Gatlin
Pop artist Hein Cooper, who gained popularity with his hit song “Rusty,” strays away from his indie-pop roots in his newest EP Turbulent Heart.
Released on August 13, 2021, Turbulent Heart‘s strong suit is its chronological storytelling. Though the heavy acoustic melodies are replaced by pop electronic beats on the EP, Cooper’s storytelling remains strong alongside his catchy pop harmonies. The EP follows the journey of a romantic relationship gone bad. This story’s progression is demonstrated through both Cooper’s lyrics as well as his instrumentals. Turbulent Heart is a fully developed narrative from beginning to end.
Cooper begins this story with the title track “Turbulent Heart.” This is the summer haze, an upbeat opener that sets the foundation of the EP. Coupled with the energetic beat are Cooper’s melodies describing an all-consuming love. The song itself is straightforward. Cooper leaves no room for discretion. It’s not one of the strongest on the album individually. However, it is successful as an integral part of the entire narrative Cooper sets out to tell.
If “Turbulent Heart” is the act of falling in love, “Pretend” is the reality of being in such a love settling in. With a closer focus on Cooper’s vocals, “Pretend” describes the desire for a perfect world to accompany the perfect relationship. Cooper expresses the need for an escape from the bleak reality of circumstances surrounding the romance. Within this fantasy, the couple needs only themselves and their connection to surpass negativity. Cooper’s vocals shine in this track from the pulled-back production. The acoustic backing flows with the breathy vocals and creates a harmonic landscape for Cooper to fill with imaginative daydreams.
Following suit with the theme of tumultuous love, “Higher” represents the valleys of said love. Cooper introduces the downsides of the relationship through the illustration of a storm. In an attempt to bypass the storm, the couple must rise above. Though all the tracks of the EP seem to follow similar progressions, “Higher” sets itself apart with its almost church-like chorus. It’s as if Cooper is praying for a chance to save the relationship through the echoing lyrics. This track begins the decline of the picturesque relationship.
“Our Time” is essentially the premature bargaining stage of grieving a relationship. Cooper’s pleas for a chance to reconcile the relationship fill the track. These sentiments are aided by the slower pace of the verses in comparison to the previous tracks. The completely stripped-down version of the pre-chorus following the second verse emphasizes Cooper’s desperation. There’s a raw vulnerability present in “Our Time” that isn’t seen often throughout the EP.
In the closing track of Turbulent Heart, “Sandstorm” marks itself as an attempt at acceptance. While standing out as the strongest track on the EP vocally, “Sandstorm” recounts the devastation that remains after a whirlwind romance. The track is fueled by nuance and vulnerability. Though Cooper’s raspy vocals are highlighted throughout the track, they’re best showcased in the bridge while belting from pure emotion. The song is good as a standalone track but significantly stronger in combination with the entire EP.
Cooper’s storytelling skills are on complete display in Turbulent Heart. The album is best when listened to consecutively, as the songs complement one another as the storyline progresses. The pacing throughout is notable as there never seems to be a dull moment. Cooper takes the listener on a roller coaster ride that leaves them satisfied and complete.
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