Riding high on a series of successful singles, Little Hurt emerges from a complicated year with a bevy of pop concoctions to make surviving the pandemic a bit less painful.

When Colin Dieden introduced the world to Little Hurt in the fall of 2019, he probably thought the following year would be one filled with touring and face-to-face interactions with fans. We all know that never came to pass, and as such, the singer-songwriter had to rethink the rollout for his latest creation. Rather than touring, Dieden focused on digital promotion. Instead of an album, he gave singles. It was not what anyone initially wanted, but Dieden made the best of it.

Fast-forward to a new year with boundless possibilities, and Little Hurt is finally sharing a proper collection of music. Every Second combines the singles that made 2020 bearable, including the breakout smash “Alaska,” and pairs them with two previously unreleased songs. The result is a collection of shimmering pop-rock offerings that possess the power to alleviate stress and clear your skin. (Results may vary)

In all seriousness, Little Hurt nails the formula for excellent pop music with Every Second. The songs in this release are deceptively optimistic. So much so that I would wager anyone could put them on during a road trip or hang out with friends without raising any suspicions about their mental state. If you listen closely, though, you begin to understand how Dieden’s struggles in the world mirror your own. He’s yet another example of a young person whose grown disenfranchised with the world around him. He’s seen where fame leads and understands the cost of success. Most importantly, he also appreciates the power of a healthy mind.

Don’t let the above passage fool you into thinking Dieden has it all together or that Every Second contains some secret to happiness. The opposite is closer to the truth. Dieden’s music reminds you that there is work to be done. Happiness is not a gift given to us at random by the universe. We shape the world around us, and we must put in a lot of emotional and mental work to create the life we choose to lead. It’s an unending process that we chip away at it every day until we die, and Little Hurt is providing the soundtrack for that labor.

If you’re going through something right now, Every Second is the release that will soothe whatever ails you. It’s not an escape as much as it is a promise that things can improve as long as you make an effort to influence positive change.