Carlie Hanson's 'Tough Boy' Is a Portrait of Sonic and Personal Growth

It would seem like a painfully obvious statement to say that the last year-and-a-half was kinda shit. Yet, I still feel the need to state it. Not only did we have to grapple with the ongoing fallout of the pandemic, but we still had to deal with our own lives and the everyday struggles and joys that come trying to make it through a world in turmoil. This trying past year-and-a-half builds the emotional foundation of Carlie Hanson's long-awaited debut album, Tough Boy.

Tough Boy is an album built around self-discovery in real-time. Vulnerable, introspective reflection stands directly beside cathartic bouts of realization to create an intoxicating maelstrom of deeply personal pop-punk. It's the perfect footing for Hanson to explore an edgier, more raw sound that doesn't sacrifice the penchant for earworm melodies that put her on the map in the first place. It's a sentiment made immediately apparent on the Deb Never-assisted lead single "Snot" and standout track "Nice To Know Ya," which channels all the propulsive energy of a fresh heartbreak.

Speaking on the emotional whirlwind that inspired her debut album, Hanson shares, "Tough Boy embodies the tornado of feelings I've experienced in the last year and a half. It was a weird time to begin making an album.  Obviously, the pandemic had just hit and I was freshly 20 years old.  I spent a lotttttt of alone time during COVID, but because of this - I was able to discover parts of myself that I didn't even know existed. I was stuck in my bedroom, playing guitar, analyzing myself and the world around me all day everyday, because - as everyone knows - there wasn't much else to do. I shaved all of my hair off, I was doing mushrooms by myself, drinking at home every week, I went through a bad falling out with one of my best friends, I was on a rollercoaster ride with my girlfriend, and I was far away from my family. There is more, but at 20 there was a lot to navigate through."

This pathos-fueled rollercoaster results in a debut album that stakes it claim as a biting, anthemic-filled recounting of young adulthood, but more than anything, it reintroduces us to a fully-realized Hanson. Tough Boy sees Hanson giving all the racing thoughts and emotions swirling inside her tangible form, pushing both her sonic and personal growth to the forefront.

"The only thing that stopped me from going off the deep-end, was to WRITE about what I was going through. Tough Boy is all of the things that I was afraid to come to terms with. Guarding your emotions will only work for so long until you fuckin’ break. Once I allowed myself to be more honest with who I am and what I was going through, I came out the other side seeing the good in all of my mess," confesses Hanson.

Listen to Tough Boy below:

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