If Jeremy Zucker's 2020 debut album love is not dying was the depression stage of grief, then CRUSHER is anger. He doesn't abandon longing and sorrow altogether but instead allows other emotions to creep in—resentment, frustration, regret. Single “HONEST” is a diatribe about a lying ex (“You were so fucking twisted, and it's hard to be indifferent when I know,” he cries on the hook), while “Sociopath” is a mellow but brutal kiss-off that opens with the lines “You are a grade-A sociopath in my mind, and you are a landslide or a land mine in my life.” Accordingly, Zucker adjusts his sonic profile. That means an increase in harsh guitar riffs and thrashing drums, marking a creative pivot for the singer-songwriter. Take, for example, the scorched-earth closer “No one hates you (like i do)”: It begins somber and measured and then crescendos into an anthemic flurry of percussion and distortion that overtakes his voice. Volume is central to how Zucker shifts his mood here. Songs like “Cry with you” and “Therapist” play with dynamics in service of emotional intensity, but the auxiliary effect is a more pop-rock-friendly construction. After every good breakup comes reinvention.

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