If you take the head bending lyrical acrobatics of Milo or Aesop Rock and mix them with slightly off-kilter, strained, emotional delivery of Hobo Johnson you have Myles Bullen. The Portland, ME Rapper/Art Poet closed 2020 by releasing his third and most vulnerable album to date. On Healing Hurts, Bullen wears their addiction, recovery, depression, sexuality, and trauma on their sleeve. This collection of seven songs gives the listener the feeling that they’re reading entries from Bullen’s Diary. The album artwork, a painting by Abbeth Russell, is layered, surreal, and gets more depressing the longer you take it in.
The album opens with the project’s bounciest song, “Swallowing Bruises.” The song opens with some strummed ukulele chords, and voices saying things one might expect to hear at their first therapy session, “I’m so glad you’re finally opening up,” and “We’re really glad that you’re here,” etc. Once the beat comes in, Bullen delivers a flow that alternates between being softly melodic to moments with more aggression. This effectively conveys the rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs.