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  • Andy Mockbee

Review: "Nice Guy" - Benedict Cork

Fitting for his upcoming album, Notes On A Hopeless Romance, singer/songwriter Benedict Cork's latest single explores the agonizing desire to be desired back. "Nice Guy" is dance-pop at its most striking, setting a new peak for the UK-based artist. Cork strides through 80's pop references with the grace and confidence to reinvent them entirely. The lovesick whisper he echoes in the first chorus calls to mind the great Cyndi Lauper or Madonna. The exquisite high-note at the end of the chorus ("like me!") is classic A-ha or Prince. But it's not all 80's worship — Cork's vision is chimeric and voracious. The way his background vocals are filtered to sound almost like an electric guitar in the second half of "Nice Guy" is refreshingly modern (take the bridge of Caroline Polachek's "So Hot You're Hurting My Feelings" and dial the heat up tenfold). "Nice Guy" skyrockets into a wall-to-wall, dance-pop anthem immortalizing romance at its most dire, desperate, and destabilizing.

"I could try loving you the way that you're used to," Cork insists on the first verse. It's a surprising twist when he elaborates: "rip your pretty heart out and then tear it in two." Unsure of what is expected or desired of him, the "Have a Good Life" singer tries on cruelty like an ill-fitting costume. Will he be more appealing, "if I learn to fuck you over just like every other guy that you've been with?" But the heart-aching romance Cork writes of is the type to bring truth to the surface. "Could you love a nice guy like me?" On an album indebted to hopeless romance, "Nice Guy" is a dancefloor fable of authenticity. Perhaps the one you love won't love you back; is it worth losing yourself over them?

Notes On A Hopeless Romance, Benedict Cork's forthcoming album, is set to release on May 10th. The record will feature "Nice Guy," alongside previously released singles, "Reasons I loved You (I Can't Think Of One)" and "Soulmates." The ten-track album is a "big melting pot of brash, electronic, melancholic, gospel-inspired pop music. Recently touring in the USA, Cork will return to the UK for a European tour to promote the new album this May-June. The artist first gained notoriety for a string of EP's between 2018 and 2022. Garnering support from BBC Introducing Artist of the Year, Elton John, and Billboard, Cork's star has been on a nonstop rise since his debut. Notes On A Hopeless Romance is available for preorder and will release via Kartel Music Group.

Written By Andy M.

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