Opener “Someone Else” is a paean to power in which Green lets a lover know that double standards can go both ways. A groovy bass loop and zig-zagging guitar lines underscore her realization that happiness is in her own hands, and the vibe is set. Next up is the witty, catchy “I Wanna Be A Dog,” where Green celebrates the simplicity of a canine life and questions why she’s still overcomplicating her own. Dark and slinky “Highway” uses ruthless driving as a metaphor for a lifestyle that no longer interests her.
Burnt out on bad feelings and ready to have fun with melodies and beats, Green enlisted producer Gordon Raphael (The Strokes) to take her songs to higher ground while keeping her lo-fi aesthetic intact. Raphael was already a fan, having caught a show in L.A. and finding himself “struck by how confident and powerful she looked, even though she was the only one onstage.” He agreed to take the gig, and together with drummer Brendan Eder and hip hop producer Aqua over a few weeks in Los Angeles, Cool was created.
The album’s themes come together on the anthemic “It’s Nice to Be Nice,” Green’s reminder to herself that you get what you give, so it’s important to try and be the best person you can—a hard-won but essential lesson in the emotional maturity that defines Cool.