Whitmer Thomas announces Can’t Believe You’re Happy Here, his new EP, produced by Jay Som’s Melina Duterte. To mark the occasion, Thomas has shared a video for the EP’s lead single “Trevor,” directed by Zoe Donahoe & Adam Sputh.
“In the past few years, I’ve met a handful of people coincidentally (or maybe not) named Trevor who all seemed a lot happier than me,” says Thomas. “It got me thinking about why and how I’ve become such a cynical bummer, and how much I wish I wasn’t.”
The EP, out March 25th on Hardly Art, features contributions from Duterte, Great Grandpa’s Al Menne, Chastity Belt’s Annie Truscott, Christian Lee Hutson, Harrison Whitford, Brad Oberhofer, and Thomas’s girlfriend, comedian and writer, Mitra Jouhari.
Can’t Believe You’re Happy Here finds Whitmer plumbing the hilarity, and stupidity, of everyday life, sketching small scenes of loving, longing, and loserdom with a sense of unstuffy earnestness. Coming off the heels of his 2020 HBO special The Golden One (a wildly funny examination of family trauma, artistic failure, and pop-punk boys) and the accompanying LP Songs From The Golden One, Thomas found himself at a crossroads: was his love for music secondary to his comedy, or could it stand on its own? With Can’t Believe You’re Happy Here, Thomas proves the latter to be the right answer. Written largely on an acoustic guitar, often in hotel bedrooms during filming breaks, these six songs capture a sense of charmed innocence. Gone are the heavy synth lines, Ian Curtis-cosplay vocals, and high theatrics of Thomas’s last LP. In their place, Thomas constructs paired down pop tunes, laying out catchy and breathable melodies populated by cast of naïve, but ultimately endearing, characters. These songs are more like sketches than a series of set-ups and punchlines – they are slices of life, dwelling in a type of accidental, conversational humor.
On lead single “Trevor,” Thomas fantasizes about living the life of a lay-about suburban boy, coolly quipping about how great it would be to “be a Trevor” over a simple, Big Star-esque chord progression. The track’s repeated, almost cursed-feeling refrain “how did this happen?” is intercut with light-hearted accounts about, in one instance, wanting to have some type of “cool secret” that’ll make people forgive you for being annoying, or, in another, wanting to crack open a couple energy drinks with your buds over a re-watch of Fight Club.
On Can’t Believe You’re Happy Here, Whitmer Thomas leans headfirst into his own embarrassment, capturing the self-conscious silliness that accompanies any earnest attempt at chasing a dream. Life, he seems to suggest, is deflating, ridiculous, and can make you feel like a loser, but that’s often what makes the trip feel worth it.
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