Austen‘s latest track is an artistic anchoring into a new self-assertion. It’s an upbeat ode to anxiety that makes you realise that if you don’t laugh, you’ll probably cry (and no one’s holding the tissues for you).

Photo credit: Rose Pure

Worse Things is a funny little paradox – a playful juxtaposition between an enthusiastic pop song and a desperate plea to be taken seriously. From that fearful dread of diving away from someone you don’t want to see to being told your crisis ‘isn’t not so bad’, Austen has perfectly encapsulated anxious exasperation in an upbeat ballad.

To me the song feels like looking at my anxiety through this nostalgic, rose-tinged lens and being able to detach from it for a few minutes.


Written alongside Luke McDonald and with input from Jono Ma, Austen has found more confidence in moving closer towards indie pop, channeling influences like Sky Ferreria to carve a clear direction for her music. Ma describes it as ‘retro-nostalgia‘, and says his intrigue around Austen is her ability to tackle the kind of music ‘that has one eye on the past and one eye on the future‘.

With lines like, ‘a hundred years passed me by last night‘ and ‘things are crawling under my skin‘, Austen has managed to capture the excruciating pangs of deep anxiety in the midst of light and airy vocals that somehow give you comfort.

It’s almost like she’s crawled deep into the corners of your stressful mind with a handful of daisies, scattering petals around to create a floral mosaic ground. As you take a step towards her, the ground falls out beneath you and panic starts to set in – yet you’re still strangely calm in your beautiful surrounds.

You can’t quite help but feel good listening to this song (maybe it’s the cheeky little 4 Non Blondes feel in that first line of the chorus). But in a time of heightened stress and a little less compassion, this is a song that ties it all together in an ironically fun package.

An official video filmed at Melbourne Aquarium accompanies the track, made in collaboration with Rose Pure and with make up by drag artist Blaze Edwards.

According to Austen, the aquarium was ‘the most relaxing place we could think of to film for a song about panic attacks’, adding to the masterfully deliberate contradictions of this track.

For your daily dose of honesty with a little joyful reprieve, stream Worse Things below:

Posted by Editor at Like Velvet Music