+the scene
+the scene

TRACK BY TRACK: Chelsea Cutler's 'How To Be Human'

01-23-2020 by Nicole Koch

  ( © Taylor Hill/Getty Images for Governors Ball)  


Earlier this week, the rare, amazing, and SO TALENTED musician Chelsea Cutler released an album and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it since.


Okay, to be honest, I’ve been a big fan of hers for awhile, so I’m always listening to her music, but her latest album, How To Be Human, is so beautiful and tearjerking and gut-wrenching, and all the things you want in a musical experience.


There are 15 tracks (god bless her) and I’m madly in love with all of them. Which ones should you listen to? Well, all of them, but keep reading for a breakdown of each song!


Fair warning: Chelsea is known to hit you right in the feels, bring up pain, and make you want to fall in love all over again, so tread lightly. She does have some fun dance-y songs too, but for the most part, she’s my heartbreak queen.


Let’s go!


1. "Sad Tonight"


This one is so fun! I got to hear her sing it live at her album release party last week, and she had the whole room dancing.


I love this one because it’s all about embracing the sadness, but it has an upbeat melody. In the chorus, she sings over and over again, “So let me be sad tonight, sad tonight,” and we’ve all been there – sometimes we just want to sulk in our feelings and not hang out with our friends! Especially when they’re trying to drag us to a bar to help us move on.


Favorite lyric: “You’re all over my mind / I try to find a new muse / Can’t believe what you did, no / And I don’t really want to...”




2. "Strangers Again"


Oof, this one also has a fun melody, but the lyrics are pretty intense. She seems to recall a past love where she’s struggling to accept that they may be strangers moving forward. That’s a weird feeling, isn’t it?


Things can change so quickly in relationships; one day you’re best friends and lovers, and the next you’re strangers. [*hugs Chelsea*]


Favorite lyric: “I don't wanna say I love you / 'Cause I don't know who you've been lovin' / So I tell myself I don't when / I've been up all night reading our old texts / From back in London / Before your heart went cold...”




3. "What Would It Take"


This song makes me feel really sad for Chelsea, because she opens it by blaming herself, saying whatever happened in her relationship is her fault. She pleads with her love, “What would it take to make you come home, what would it take to make me let go?” Just like the first two songs on the album, it has a catchy and addicting beat that makes you wanna dance in the shower, but the lyrics totally pull you in.


Favorite lyric: “I don’t think it’s normal / To be on the floor still shaking from the shower /  listening to old calls”...




4. "I Was In Heaven"


This is where the album starts to slow. Chelsea’s voice is especially chilling and high-pitched in this song, and I swear you can hear the emotions in her voice. I feel like I can see her facial expression as she sings the words.


It’s dreamy and mystical, so I’m totally smitten with it. My favorite lyric (below) originally made me react in a defensive way because I don’t want anyone, especially one of my favorite artists like Chelsea, to stick around when someone’s hurting her.


But I suppose it’s true what they say -- everyone will hurt us at some point, right? People make mistakes. Ugh, I love her honesty here.


Favorite lyric: “Even when you’re hurting me / I’ll still be your person, baby...”




5. "Are You Listening"


Here she goes back to the upbeat melodies that make you bob your head along.


This is a cute song because she says she hates her friends and she wants to go home, and it’s dramatic but so relatable at the same time. To the ones reading this that take things too seriously, I don’t think she actually hates her friends here, she just wants to chill at home while she processes her emotions!


Favorite lyric: “You’d say that you love me after we would make it / If you didn’t mean it, why you gotta say it?”




6. "NJ"


Annddd we’re back down to a pretty acoustic-y ballad.


Chelsea is a Pisces, and you can really understand that in this song. If you aren’t aware, Pisces are typically dreamy, outwardly emotional, and totally comfy with feeling all the things. They can recount memories and be sentimental, and the lyrics below totally show it.


Also, she’s from New Jersey, but I love her use of the NJ initials – it’s like she’s singing to NJ as a person. Who knows, she may have a lover with those same intials and that would be cool too!  


Favorite lyric: “Wanna fight the way we did when we got too drunk together / Share our music on the subway and wear each other's sweaters / Wanna kiss you underneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris...”




7. "Somebody Else Will Get Your Eyes"


Omg, my absolute favorite -- where do I start?!


The melody of this song is SO addicting, and if perfection existed, it would be this song. I mean, truly, if you have to choose one song off this album to listen to, trust me on this one.


In this song, Chelsea comes to terms with her ex-love moving on. What I love most about this song is that she’s unafraid to show her fans how vulnerable and possibly insecure she felt in this. She sings, “You look so much happier without me there,” and it rips out my heartstrings.


My favorite lyrics below are what I feel to be the most relatable lyrics of the entire song, where she wants to let go but understands she can’t. She finds beauty in the heartbreak with that first line below and also mentions her self-growth, which I’m always a fan of.


Favorite lyric: “You're my favorite hurting / I'd let go if I could / And I am still learning / Just how to be good...”




8. "You Are Losing Me"


Phew, that last song really got me there, guys!


This song has been a single of Chelsea’s for a little while now, and it’s SO. GOOD. I saw her perform this song as well, and everyone knew every single word! Blast this when you’re in the car with your friends! It’s a super fun break-up anthem and a big middle finger to the people who don’t realize your worth!!! Human, bye.


Favorite lyric: “You're gonna wish that I wasn't loving someone new / You're gonna wish that I was sleeping next to you / You're gonna wish that you never broke my heart in two / And you weren't losing me when I have already lost you...”




9. "I Miss You"


I freakin’ love her. This song is so simple and beautiful. She says how scared she is that she knows she’s still in love with her person.


Have you ever felt like sitting in heartbreak was easier than trying to move on? It really can be sometimes, because moving on requires real work, acceptance, and trusting in the process. Those things can be hard for people, and if they’re at all used to heartbreak, they may feel safer in it. No judgment here at all, by the way; we’ve all been there.


Favorite lyric: “I want the feeling you give me / No, I don’t wanna let go / It’s easier hurting than tryna move on...”




10. "The Human Condition"


Hell ya, we’re all humans, and we all experience the same things. Be kind to people, everyone, you never know what they’re going through! We’re all the same!


Favorite lyric: “Got a verse tattooed on my hands of / Words of God so I never feel unloved / 'Cause validation might as well be its own drug / All of my friends say / It's a part of the human condition...”




11. "Lucky" feat. Alexander 23


I think this may be the only song on the album that comes from the perspective of the beginning stages of a relationship, or at least one that isn’t over yet.


She and Alexander 23 sing about how lucky they feel that they’ve met this person and how much they want to protect the connection. Their voices together is literal butter from the heavens above.


Favorite lyric: “Sometimes, I wish you would've stayed in my dreams / 'Cause now that you're real, now I could lose you / Nothing lasts forever ain't as bad as it seems / 'Cause my favorite thing to do is to do nothing with you...”




12. "I Should Let You Go"


Another incredible song about not wanting to let the love of your life go. She sings about falling asleep with her makeup on and Benzos in her blood, and you can just feel the sadness coming through the song.


We’ve all experienced a love where we’re trying to come up with reasons worthy enough of leaving, but most of the time we just ignore them and it’s a lesson learned.


Favorite lyric: “You don't believe in love / Well, I don't believe in you...”




13. "How To Be Human"


She’s always so relatable and that’s why people love her!


In this one, she sings about how she thought she’d have life figured out by the time she was 21, and she’s realizing that’s not the case. She pleads with her listener to tell her how to be human and talks to her higher power for a sec. I know firsthand how it is to want to love someone but putting walls up. I feel you, girl.


Favorite lyric: “I wanna love, but I have thicker skin / Now that somebody has hurt me / Heart was broken early, yeah...”




14. "New Recording 28 – Lions"


Wow, I love this one with my whole heart. It’s just Chelsea and an acoustic guitar (from what I can tell, all you music pros correct me if I’m wrong), but it’s absolutely stunning. I’ll let my favorite lyrics speak for themselves:


Favorite lyric: “Turn out the light, pulling me in / Counting the freckles that dapple my skin / I haven't felt you scratch my back / I make a joke 'cause I know you will laugh / My favorite sound, I hope that you still / Laugh just as much now I'm not there to hear...”




15. "Crazier Things"


I love that she ended the album with this song because, while I think all of her songs tell stories, this one paints such an intense visual and I can’t stop thinking about it.


I can literally imagine her in this moment, the weather in New York City, knowing the feeling of falling for someone before you know the little details about them, etc. This song also showcases her voice so beautifully, and I will forever have this on a loop.


Favorite lyric: “I don't think you ever had something real / Until you met me / Drinks in New York City / Ooh, you looked so pretty / Think I fell in love before I even knew your birthday / Kissed you on our first date / Somehow, I knew someday / This would hurt 'cause I could never let you go..."




Well, there you have it, guys! Cheers to happy listening!


If you want more from Chelsea, check her out below!





If you want to fangirl/boy/human over this album with me, check me out below!