Jeremy Zucker and Chelsea Cutler are both incredibly talented artists who have developed impressive careers while remaining friends. Zucker burst into the music scene with his YouTube hits and Soundcloud success, and Cutler broke onto the charts on her collaboration with Quinn XCII. While collabs with other artists may have contributed to the amassment of their fanbases, their clear and natural talents have cemented them into the music industry. After both Zucker and Cutler signed with Republic Records, three years after meeting, they returned to a cabin in Connecticut where they first collaborated to write and record “you were good to me.” Zucker explained their time recording in the cabin, saying, “The music really represents how we felt at that cabin: inspired, wholesome, and introspective.”
“You were good to me” opens with semi-uptempo but melancholy piano. The notes themselves sound the way a sad smile looks. Zuckler opens the song with a slight rasp in voice, the audio of the vocals layered above the instrumentals so that the lyrics “Floatin’, but I feel like I’m dyin’” are exceptionally appropriate. Cutler’s equally upset voice joins Zucker for the first time, opening the chorus. The piano remains slightly slow and trailing them, as though it’s haunting them like the memory of their lost relationships.
The post-chorus is played on what sounds like a child’s piano with rewinding tapes, whooshing wind, and background speaking layered under Chelsea Cutler’s expertly utilized high notes. The post-chorus is mastered in such a masterful way that it sounds like a dark dose of nostalgia.
Chelsea Cutler jumps into the second verse with a new light and raspy voice, similar to Jeremy Zucker’s in the first verse. Her lyric, “Leavin’ isn’t better than tryin’… Growin’, but I’m just growin’ tired” matched Zucker’s verse “Lyin’ isn’t better than silence… Floatin’, but I feel like I’m dyin’” in tone and rhythm, exactly. Cutler keeps her voice feathery and full of emotions in the verse and first half of the chorus.
Jeremy Zucker breaks into the next chorus portion with a strong display of vocal talent and an intense guitar trill. Both the belt and the electric guitar were firsts in this piece, as the song had previously remained light and piano-focused in its style of performance.
Zucker and Cutler conclude the song primarily in tandem. They sing of regrets, love lost, and crushing guilt. Both Jeremy Zucker and Chelsea Cutler are talented vocalists with a knack for exuding emotion through their work. “You were good to me” is the musical manifestation of blue and purple watercolours painted on the same canvas – distinctly different, but blended perfectly to form something heart-wrenchingly beautiful yet sorrowful.
Featured image courtesy of Zucker & Cutler’s team at Republic Records