Recommended Tracks: “Lost in Love”, “Mirror Mirror”, “Out of My Mind”
Artists You May Like: Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Jack Johnson
Reality seems to hit hardest in hindsight. You look back on certain events after they have happened with a clearer mind and realize what you could have done differently. You look back and realize what you could have done better. When you are in the moment, however, you are simply doing what you can, which is what Joe Hicks teaches us on his new album, The Best I Could Do at the Time.
Every now and then, Joe sorts through inner turmoil, confronting doubts and fears he has about himself. On opening track, “Sail Away,” he overcomes intrusive thoughts and feelings by remembering, “Love is all I need.” The feel-good melodies heard on the track evoke the warmth that comes from such love, which carries into other tracks like “Mirror Mirror.” Joe takes a long, hard look at himself in the mirror on this track, while also using this mirror as a means to get what he pleases, à la Snow White. Over explosive choruses and layers of guitar, he sings, “Show me all the things that make me good enough / Show me love,” desperate for the mirror to work its magic.
There are times on the album, though, when Joe seeks happiness from his actions. On the string-filled “Pieces,” he makes the tough decision to move on from a relationship that is hurtful. Dearly, he sings, “I don’t want to love you / If loving you means tearing off pieces of my soul,” but also observes, “I’m broke, but I’m not broken / And I’m shining even brighter than the sun.” This positivity and optimistic energy is also delivered on “Out of My Mind,” which touches on more heartbreak. As he sings, “Yeah, you let me down / When you let me drown,” the track’s carefree guitar riffs attempt to make up for these feelings, encouraging Joe to let go and take on whatever comes next.
Embracing the possibilities of the future, Joe gives us tracks that encourage us to get out there and joy the moment. He tells us about pursuing something bigger than yourself on the pop-sounding “One More Step,” the bright music putting us in a good place as we take in lines like “One more step to make it out of here / One more step to leave this town.” On the semi-acoustic “Make It Home,” Joe takes a rustic journey through the wilderness, which includes “climbing trees” and “hitting targets with a pine cone.” This trek is all in an effort to tap into the version of himself he wishes to present around others. Even with so much exploring to do, Joe takes the time to live in the moment, as we hear on the closing track “Weightless.” This cool and collected anthem is all about being present and not letting your worries get the best of a special moment. We feed off Joe’s peaceful energy on this track as he sings, “Take a breath and close my eyes / Hear the evening whisper in the trees,” making for a beautiful close.
When previously speaking about the album, Joe shared that it is “a journey through many of the emotional peaks and troughs we go through as humans, and more specifically me as a musician in such uncertain times.” We definitely feel this, as he gives us moments of loneliness, doubt, and suspense – the “troughs” he so describes. Yet, Joe maintains an optimism, the “emotional peaks,” through his upbeat music and messages of self-care. We all have what it takes to achieve all feats great or small, as long as we make peace with ourselves and our surroundings – and do the best with what we have at the time.
You can listen to The Best I Could Do at the Time on platforms like Spotify, SoundCloud, and Apple Music.