Album Review: Your Best Nightmare – Presents: A Simple Solution For Toxic Masculinity

Horror, romance, brutally murdering obnoxious men, Your Best Nightmare’s inspired and grimly humourous debut album has it all

Since emerging in 2023 with the release of her self-titled debut EP, New Jersey’s Your Best Nightmare has felt like a potential breakout star in waiting, armed with a distinctive and charismatic allure that transcends genre or any preconceived notion of what you feel like the artist or her sound should feel like. Now, the artist has released her debut album Presents: A Simple Solution For Toxic Masculinity, a body of work that truly feels like a coming out party for the artist.

The album opens with ‘Promising Young Woman’, a track that immediately establishes the album’s theme of melding a cautionary tale of life, love and toxic masculinity with unsettling horror themes and a flair for the macabre and dramatic. The track has an effortlessly unique appeal and flair throughout, with its impossibly catchy chorus about being a nightmare proving to be wonderfully and bizarrely dissonant stylistically, with a clear disconnect between what the artist is saying and how it sounds. Welcome to the world of Your Best Nightmare.

The personality-filled ‘Joan of Arc’ follows, and sees the artist drawing playful comparisons with herself and the gender non-conforming martyr that the track is named after. The artist’s narrative-heavy style, signature ukulele and distinctive unique sense of humour and charm is showcased really prominently here, thoughtful and meticulously crafted as the artist’s work so often is.

The empowering and endlessly fun ‘Don’t Mess With Me’ follows, with the artist delving into themes of toxic masculinity and feminine rage in a track that will surely resonate with a lot of listeners and feel as cathartic as it is entirely out of pocket at times. The short track is absolute riotous fun, and lyrics like “you don’t get to tell me what to do unless you want a knife in you” highlight just how unhinged and alarming things are going to get.

Speaking of unhinged and alarming, the track that follows is ‘Vampire Lover’, a track that takes unhealthy relationships to the extreme and really puts the sacrifices that we have to make for love into perspective. Love is literally a matter of life of death on the single, and the artist’s indifference towards some of the more extreme measures taken on the track makes for a grimly humorous time.

Nothing is every truly what it seems on this album, as latest single ‘Target Acquired’ initially starts out feeling like a track about someone looking to go out and find a mate, but ultimately descends into the artist revealing her more sinister intentions. Again, the personality and unique appeal that the artist is blessed with truly elevates the weirdness of the material, and the resentment that she displays for the victim as she describes him on the track makes for a shocking and endlessly fun listen.

If songs about terrible men aren’t really your thing, then follow up ‘Really Cute’ probably won’t be for you either, with the artist taking aim at the worst traits of a potential partner of hers, his toxic masculinity, condescending behaviour and general rudeness. This track is absolutely packed full of iconic lyrics and funny moments, I feel like I could write an article just as long as this written specifically about this song. A personal highlight for me is “talking over me is peak foreplay baby, the kind of foreplay that makes me want to fucking kill myself”.

‘Eyeliner’ is something of a spiritual successor to the former track, with the artist taking drastic (some would say deserved…) action to reprimand the subject of ‘Really Cute’. The track sees the artist (hopefully?) fantasising about brutally murdering her subject and burying them in a shallow grave, again, utilising her wicked sense of humour to concentrate on small details like ruining her manicure and smudging her eyeliner in the process. It is these small details that make the album so fun, and the artist’s nonchalant reactions in the face of such violence feels both uproariously amusing and alarming.

The artist again uses her playful and creative sound to useful effect on ‘LBD’, delving further into depraved and horror-themed imagery while juxtaposing it with some of the most happy-go-lucky and charming melodies that you’re likely to hear all year. It is this kind of dissonance and disconnect that makes the album feel so consistently compelling and fun, just make sure that you’re nice and polite to Your Best Nightmare if you ever see them around or in public.

The artist’s compelling songwriting and storytelling comes to the fore once again on ‘Body Count’, a track that, if you’ve been paying attention so far, you should probably know what is coming. If the album sounds like it is largely comprised of tracks about A) rude men, and B) brutally murdering rude men, then that’s because it is, but it is the depth and nuance of the tracks and the personality and charismatic allure of the artist and odd and harrowing tone of her upbeat sound that ensures that every new story and addition to the narrative feels rewarding and worthwhile. It also helps that the detestable characters that the artist paints on this track and beyond almost (almost…) have you rooting for her.

The album has something approaching more tender moments on ‘Paint The Town Red’ and ‘Ghost Love’, the former being a ukulele love song that is full of genuinely engrossing and nice moments, if you can ignore all of the gruesome and harrowing moments that have preceded it. The latter of the tracks again has a rousing and optimistic charm to it, with the artist showcasing a more grounded and human side, even if what we’ve heard so far probably indicates that she is talking to the vampire lover that she has been feeding her victims to.

Presents: A Simple Solution For Toxic Masculinity is an album unlike anything that you’re likely to hear before or since. Part revenge flick, part What We Do in the Shadows, and bolstered throughout thanks to the winning charm and engrossing personality and appeal of Erin Porter, better known as Your Best Nightmare. Feeding rude and obnoxious men to your vampire lover might not be the MOST simple solution to toxic masculinity, but it makes for a lot of captivating and interesting stories to tell, and a hell of a fucking weird ukulele album. Incredible stuff.