Joshua Bassett releases new EP, ‘Crisis / Secret / Set Me Free’  

The actor/singer tells a three-part story written in the aftermath of “Driver’s License”

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By Colin McCarthy, Assistant Sports Editor

On Dec. 3, Joshua Bassett released three new songs, “Crisis,” “Secret” and “Set Me Free.” The EP tells a three-part story that blends reality and the abstract. Above all however, it shows Bassett’s vulnerability and sends a timely reminder that celebrities are people too, and their mental health matters.

“It’s been a f— year,” Bassett cries on the third track of the project “Set Me Free,” painting a vivid picture of the past 12 tumultuous months for Bassett since being caught in the crossfire of Olivia Rodrigo’s single release “Driver’s License” and subsequent debut album “Sour.” The spotlight put on the pair led to a plethora of backlash and attacks from fans on Bassett, despite the public’s lack of information regarding the reality his relationship with Rodrigo.

While “Set Me Free” draws from very distinct points in Bassett’s life, it isn’t overly specific to the point of not being relatable to broad audiences. The heartache present through the chorus drenched in lines such as, “You don’t get to take all of me, set me free” and “I don’t recognize you, not anymore, you’re not the love that I fell for” are sure to resonate for many lovestruck listeners, and Bassett’s vocal chops and emotions shine through in every note. The young singer seems to get more comfortable in his musical abilities with every track he releases.

Bassett opens up even more in the opening track “Crisis,” the most literal song of his drop. It is evident in the raw vulnerability of the track that Bassett picked up a guitar and started singing from the heart; that’s what makes this song so great. Yes, “Crisis” is sure to stir the pot on social media with lines such as “You sensationalize, keep fanning the fire for the headlines,” yet as he claims in the pre-chorus, “If you get to tell your truth than so do I.” This song reminds the audience further that the public has never and will never understand the full weight of his and Rodrigo’s private lives, regardless of how much digging is done. Listen for the drama if you please, yet this song seems to sound even better when you simply close your eyes and let it play.

Secret” is lyrically similar to the other two releases with lines like “your smoke and mirrors had me hypnotized,” reminiscent of the scathed love in the other two songs, yet stylistically incorporates a major change of pace as Bassett trades in his candid sound for a more intense and mystifying beat. The chorus is dramatic and tells a different part of his story more focused on the end of a relationship than the aftermath, while keeping the essence of his truth the same. There are vengeful undertones in the track, reflecting a person in pain after suffering heartbreak, sure to strike chords within his listeners of similar experiences. “Crisis” and “Set Me Free” are songs to cry or sing softly to, yet “Secret” will be more likely to make you scream with anger (and still probably make you cry, if we’re being honest.)

Overall, these three tracks from the newly released EP are some of Bassett’s best work to date (in my opinion.) His warm, chest voice adds a genuine element to these songs that wasn’t as present in his first EP where he stayed closer to the edge of his vocal range. For songs with such power and personal feelings, it is important to connect to the audience as much as possible, and Bassett does just that.

Yet, as much as these songs are for his fans, it is evident that the trio served as a cathartic release for himself. His life has not been the same since the release of “Driver’s License,” Bassett admitted in an interview with GQ Magazine . The EP reflects the need for a larger conversation regarding the dangers of taking celebrity drama too far and what effect that may have on the people involved. As he writes in “Crisis,” Bassett received death threats on social media because of the situation surrounding him and Rodrigo.

A similar situation regarding scathed lovers unfolded recently surrounding Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal, after Swift released a 10-minute version of “All Too Well” rumored to be about the actor. These stories can be compelling for fans of either side, yet Bassett reminds us of the harsh reality that the people on the other side of the screen must face as a result. Celebrities are no less human than you or me, and that’s a fact I think we sometimes forget as the public. I suggest listening to Bassett’s new releases because they are great quality, relatable songs, not because you want to know the latest dirt about his former relationships. That same sentiment should be true for Rodrigo, Swift and any other artist writing songs about love and heartbreak.

Colin McCarthy can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @colinmccarth_DC.