Prolific singer-songwriter, Eric Hunker has recently released his 2nd solo LP titled “Beautiful Endings.” This record is an adventure of a decade of musical progress and reflection. It fuses the genres of indie rock, folk, Americana / Country, and pop effortlessly. The record can be listened to in two halves. The first 8 songs fall under the category of “Beautiful”; celebrations, life moments, new beginnings. The remaining 8 songs fall under the category of “Endings” and explore grief and loss of many different forms. Eric Hunker’s soulful voice will immediately turn all listeners into fans. The album begins gracefully with “Grace.” The songs melodies are incredibly captivating. Lyrically, the song resonates with anyone going through the struggle of life but still pushing forward.
The next song falls deeply into the singer-songwriter category, acoustic guitar and vocals take center stage for “Lucky Enough.” The pacing is on the slower side, making this song a true ballad. It’s emotional and moving, and hits hard with a memorable chorus line. The pace picks up for “Don’t Make Me Regret It”, another song that is catchy from the first line sung. If you haven’t realized Eric Hunker’s incredible songwriting abilities by this point, we’d be very surprised. This love song seems to be about the excitement of the beginnings of a new relationship. Although there is a little bit of fear in falling in love, there is also an irresistible intensity and excitement. Those feelings can be heard in the tone of the vocal delivery.
“Get Better” is a fully acoustic song, showcasing Eric Hunker’s raw talent. The doubled vocals add an extra layer of emotion as the acoustic guitar strums gorgeously. Next, we journey to country-inspired ballad called “Meet Me In My Dreams.” The swing of the song creates a dreamy feel for the listener. The lyrics paint a picture of a budding romance. The song builds into the chorus to fully erupt into an irresistible hook. The pacing slows again for the next song, that feels much like a lullaby. The sweet finger-picking of an acoustic guitar gives plenty of room for the vocal. “Never Be Alone” showcases another range and side of Hunker’s voice. Lyrically, the song expresses the feelings of being in love. “Stop The Story Now” is a continuation of “Never Be Alone.” The relationship progresses and comes to a peak. “Stop The Story Now” is about wanting to stay at the climax, where things are really good. The chorus of this song could fit into the realm of pop punk.
“So Live It!” features a groovy bass line and musical theatre style vocal melodies. The horn section and bluesy piano riffing amplifies the chorus section, bringing up the energy, making “So Live It!” one of the best songs on the record. This song reminds listeners to live in the moment and dive into romance. “Beautiful Endings” featuring HAPPIE is track 8, marking the end of the first half of the record. This slow love ballad sets us up for the emotions that follow in the second half of the record. Endings are always hard, they come with grief, but they can also come with excitement for the future and the unknown.
“We are taught to idealize new beginnings and relationships that last forever, but that leaves us villainizing endings in our lives by default. This album, at its core, is about the belief that not all endings are tragedies. That relationships don’t have to last forever to be worthwhile and that there is beauty to be found in the endings of things – even things we love.” – Eric Hunker
We can hear sadness starting the second half of the record on the song “Me & The Whiskey Now.” Hunker sings about an unhealthy coping method to distract himself from the heartbreak. The lyrics share the harsh realities of loneliness after a breakup. On the chorus, he sings about making too much coffee in the morning, having to adjust his routine to be for one and not two. He knows that eventually he will have to come to terms with the heartbreak, feel all the feelings, grieve, and move on. “Never Settle Down” carries on with this tone, and gives advice to the listener, and maybe self-advice as well. “When It All Ends” lets us hear the rawness of the acoustic guitar. The vocals take on more of a country-feel. Hunker sings about traveling, being away from his friends and family, feeling lonely, but continuing to seek and travel. We hear more advice in this song. There is also a gratitude for his life to be heard on this song.
The most streamed song on the record is the next one, “Get Better.” The tone of the electric guitars are immediately captivating. This song takes on a minor tone. We hear the heartbreak in Hunker’s voice, and a longing to live in the past, but also embrace the possibilities of the future. This is another reminder to live in the moment, and appreciate the small things.
“Goodnight” is a song about letting go. It’s about accepting the loneliness and the breakup. It’s about remembering the good moments of the relationship, but giving space to move on. The song features beautiful acoustic guitars and piano. “With Me” features HAPPIE again. This is a duet that will really tug on your heartstrings. It is one of the saddest songs on the record – in key, pacing, and lyrics. The last track on the record picks up the pace. “Last Dance” features a rhythmic vocal delivery and an organ sound. This song is perfect for the final track on the record because it has a chorus that erupts, with a horn section, catchy hook melody, and the sentiment of a beautiful ending and perhaps a new beautiful beginning.
Listen to the record on Spotify now. It is a wonderful concept album that should be listened in order from start to finish:
Written by Ryan Cassata