Review: "1-800-GOT-STRESS" - Devon Cole
In the classic Devon Cole fashion, her latest single is an unforgettable alt-pop song that covers meaningful topics through clever lyrics and an infectious production. “1-800-GOT-STRESS” details her struggle with anxiety and how it affects her daily life. The relatable lyrics throughout the track effortlessly depict the helplessness and unrelenting worry that anxiety causes Cole, especially through earlier times before she found positive coping mechanisms. She references these coping mechanisms in the song, such as breathing methods and counting techniques. However, within the track she demonstrates the moment when these mechanisms fail and there is nothing available to help her through the darkness. In the chorus, she immediately reveals the hook with the lyrics: “Is there someone I could call?// 1-800-got stress// Operator, could you drown out all the voices in my head?// I can’t take it any longer// My heart’s beating out my chest// It’s so nice to talk it out with someone other than my friends.” These lyrics illustrate a scene that is all too familiar for those who wrestle with anxiety. When their anxious thoughts overwhelm their minds, they just want somebody who can talk them off the mental ledge—a hotline for their anxiety. They know they could call up their friends, but they do not want to be a burden, even though they know deep down their friends would do anything for them. Cole conveys these anxious thoughts through a cheeky hook and an unforgettable production that is meant to be replayed on a constant loop.
“1-800-GOT-STRESS” consists of a catchy melody that perfectly complements Cole’s compelling vocals. The song begins with a bass line that ends the intro with a single note slid down the neck to introduce the first verse. As Cole begins singing, the bass continues while a muted acoustic guitar is strummed alongside the bass, maintaining the same tempo. At the end of the second line, the drum beat kicks in as the production increases. While the bass and drum remain steady in the chorus, a keyboard replaces the acoustic guitar. In the second half of the chorus, the bass emphasizes each number as Cole sings, “I count one, two, three// Trying hard to breathe// But it doesn’t seem like you’re getting me.” In the background, breath sound effects and light claps are added to the beat, symbolizing the coping mechanisms Cole is describing. She sings another round of this with the lyrics, “I count one, two, three// ‘til I fall asleep// ‘Cause it doesn’t seem like you’re getting me.” The chorus ends with background vocals singing “one, two, three” with a reverb effect that represents the anxiety depicted in the song. The addition of each unique effect is an ingenious detail that brilliantly encapsulates the meaning of the song through the creative artistic details. The second verse kicks off with only Cole’s voice, quickly met by the bass and a unique keyboard note between each line. The second half of the verse brings back the original production of the first verse, with an addition of echoing background vocals and an electric guitar. The unique instrumentation of the chorus returns for the second one, and a muted guitar is added to the counting lines. Then in the bridge, there is only a piano and lead vocals to emphasize the clever, yet emotional climax of the song. Toward the end of the bridge, ethereal background vocals and an organ are added to further enhance the whimsical atmosphere. The song switches to the outro which utilizes the chorus instrumentation, but additional vocals are added as the track slowly closes out. “1-800-GOT-STRESS” is an incredibly dynamic track that not only showcases Cole’s unmistakable songwriting ability and her phenomenal vocals, but also her understanding of anxiety and mental health.
Devon Cole is a singer-songwriter from Calgary, Canada. She made her debut in 2020 with her single, “July for the Whole Year.” The following year, she released four subsequent sequels which were all featured on her debut EP, Party For One. The project has garnered millions of streams and massive support from several industry tastemakers. In 2022, Cole was signed with Arista Records and released her first single under the label, “W.I.T.C.H.” Prior to officially releasing the song, she performed a snippet of the track on TikTok, where the video earned over 40 million views and became a viral sound on the platform. Recently, Cole received a 2023 Juno Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year. The talented artist strives to make music that lifts the spirits of listeners and provides them comfort through her lyrics. With her extensive discography of relatable and reflective songs, Cole has already succeeded this goal and continues to release unforgettable tracks.
Written By Karlee Skipper