Hope Whitelock is an artist who is following her own path. We recently reviewed her single, Stoned, and today here at the Send Me Your Ears studio, we’re listening to her track, Kafkaesque, which is released today (November 3 2022).

Colorado-based Whitelock describes herself as formerly gifted and currently burned out, she is happy making music for the people pleasers who suck at making people happy and the perfectionists who aren’t really good at anything anymore.

It was hard to find out too much about Hope Whitelock. With a brief press release and sparse information on her socials, Hope seems to us to be someone content to make music to get things out of her head, and hope that people who hear it like it.

Kafkaesque is a song of self-discovery. A song which delves deep into getting to know yourself and then realising that actually, you don’t like what you find.

Kafkaesque starts with some dreamy pop guitars with a chorus effect on them and moves into a full-band-sounding bedroom pop track. A simple Britpop feeling drumbeat leads the way.

“So Fuck my mental health, no feeling sorry for myself, doing drugs and watching porn, telling my therapist we’re done. I’m a bad person.”

Lyrically, you get Hope Whitelock laid bare for all to see and criticise, except she’s beaten everyone to it and decided for herself that she’s a “bad person”. Perhaps that’s one way to beat the critics, but Whitelock has created a track which rests heavily on self-deprecating lines and by the end, we just wanted to give her a hug!

We noticed some touches of Avril Lavigne in both this and her previous track, Stoned. Perhaps a little hint of a modernised Suzanne Vega in this track as well.

The song remains simple throughout, with a brief keys solo. The important part of this track is the lyrics and Whitelock’s cutesie fragile voice certainly carries this well.

Apart from the brief moment of profanity, this is another song that we would suggest pitching for placement in a TV show. If Whitelock is seeking out airplay for her music we’d suggest contacting local college stations, but as a longer-term suggestion, perhaps a few 3-minute songs would be a wise move.

From a production perspective, we felt that the vocal sounds a little lost behind the instrumentation in places. This could be resolved with a little more compression on the vocal track. There is also a frequency around 500-600Hz in the organ-sounding keys track which is clashing with the vocal so a cut in that track would help allow more space for the vocals to sit comfortably. The whole track could use a boost around 4-5kHz for some extra presence and brightness.

An artist following her own rules, Hope Whitelock is a bright and shining example of someone unafraid of sharing their mental health struggles in the hope of encouraging and connecting with others.