Hayden: Are We Good [Album Review]

Are We Good
Arts & Crafts [2023]

Hayden is a Canadian singer-songwriter known for his introspective and emotive lyrics, melodic sensibilities, and his ability to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in his music. One of his most well-known albums is Everything I Long For, which was released in 1995 and featured the indie hit “Bad As They Seem,” which highlighted his knack for creating a haunting melody with melancholic lyrics. Now eight years in the making since his last album, Hey Love (2015), Hayden’s ninth record Are We Good is a great welcome back to his storytelling album approach that was richly inspired by relationships that includes first crushes, family, and musical collaborators.

Are We Good once again showcases the core Hayden we know but this time the overall album feels more upbeat and opens up his typical DIY introspective approach with the help of musical collaborators that includes the likes of Feist, Aaron Dessner and Matt Berninger of The National, drummer James Krivchenia of Big Thief, and engineer Jonathan Low (Taylor Swift, Big Red Machine). All of these artists have a substantial impact on Are We Good with Feist’s backing vocals really standing out on “On A Beach.” It is easily the catchiest and most upbeat song Hayden has released in years.

One of the standout tracks on the album is “It’s Just Me,” with its simple yet poignant foot tapping melody and lyrics about a relationship. Written by Dessner and Berninger, Hayden’s emotive vocals capture it best when he sings “As long as I belong to you. You’ll belong to me too.” The title track is another highlight, with its dreamy, atmospheric National like instrumentation and lyrics that explore the strength of love.

Overall, Are We Good is a well-crafted and emotionally resonant album that displays Hayden’s skills as a songwriter and musician. It is especially great to hear him branch out with the strong collaborations on this album. The record is still very much the heartfelt approach you expect from Hayden which is sure to resonate with all fans of indie-folk and singer-songwriter music.

“Are We Good” / “On A Beach (Feat. Feist)” / “It’s Just Me”

Okkervill River / Andy Shauf / The National

Hey Love (2015) / Us Alone (2013)

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Christopher Anthony
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