‘Nervous At Night’ review: Charlie Hickey’s debut album is a mark of great potential

Charlie Hickey - Nervous At Night

Los Angeles singer-songwriter Charlie Hickey has released his debut album, Nervous At Night, an eleven track project under Phoebe Bridger’s label Saddest Factory Records. If you haven’t heard from Hickey yet, this is an excellent introduction to his artistry as well as who he is as a person. Listeners will hear a cohesive mixture of modern pop and folk-inspired jams, at times reminiscent of The 1975’s gloomy optimism and Ed Sheeran’s subtle, yet honest charm.

Hickey conveys what many people would like to forget as they age, from hesitant crushes to long-distance relationship blues. But reminiscing on the confusing nature of our youth helps propel us forward into better versions of ourselves. And, in Nervous at Night’s case, it can even make for a wonderful story.

Outgrowing your peers can be a part of the journey, which he details best in “Thirteen.” At the forefront of his lovely falsetto is a bittersweet conclusion to a questionable adolescent friendship. A friendship that, in retrospect, was filled with warning signs: “I grew up and you didn’t / I guess that it’s fucked up to feel like I’m winnin’.” Innocent fun, like drawing on his jeans, juxtaposes the nuanced reality of being on a completely different path than those you once knew.

The title track “Nervous At Night,” talks about self-doubt and the fear of everything crashing down: “When something good is happening / I feel like it’s an accident.” You could say this is similar to self-sabotage. If you expect things not to go your way, you may trick yourself into thinking that your fears have already come to fruition. His dejection is too much to bear in “Choir Song (I Feel Dumb).” In this track, he feels too defeated to engage with anyone at a goodbye party and regret slowly pours in. Not to mention, his cracked phone screen is the cherry on top of an already overwhelming night.

Saddest Factory Records / Slopehouse Productions

Over chill guitar strumming and distant drums, Hickey’s vocals are feathery and clear throughout the album. He seems to elongate his words so that every syllable feels significant. However, none of the songs overstay their welcome. In fact, each track feels shorter than they actually are, creating a feeling of rapid fluidity.

The longest track, “Month of September” is a personal favorite. It addresses a phenomenon that many have been feeling the past few years: boredom. He expresses his longing for purpose, and how inadequate he feels when life appears to be at a standstill: “I don’t wish that I was a kid again / I just want something good to be coming.” Time flies when you aren’t excited about tomorrow. 

Something that stands out is the premise of want versus need. In a perfect world, everything would go our way. And when you’re young, every single disappointment can feel like a punch to the gut. Funny enough, it’s just as distressing in adulthood. The only difference is how we choose to handle our setbacks beyond the initial blow. 

In the very coming-of-age track “Gold Line,” he vents about the emotional perils of a complicated partnership. He says, “I think feeling things is too hard / I’ve got a feeling I’m not gonna get what I want.” However, in “Planet With Water” he almost accepts that this affair has reached its finale. Though he never seems get exactly what he wants, it’s still somewhat comforting when you realize that maybe things worked out that way for reasons currently unknown to us.


Nervous At Night is a relaxing compilation of formative memories and lessons learned. With eleven laidback, easy-to-digest tracks about the awkward limbo between childhood and adulthood. It’s definitely worth a listen, and I’m excited for what he has in store next!

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