Hard to Love

by better days

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This is a loose concept album about feeling inadequate. It follows the journey of a cycle of realization: getting hurt by people you invest parts of yourself in and giving up, until you let someone in again - and then dealing with the resulting anxiety and self-doubt that brings.
It's about feeling like you aren't good enough because of circumstances outside of your control. It's about putting faith in people who take advantage of that, and consequently losing faith in people and in yourself. More than anything, it's about understanding that you are good enough, and that things will get better if you fight to make it happen. We all deserve love and happiness, no matter who tells you otherwise.
Best enjoyed using headphones.


released February 22, 2016

On this recording, Better Days is:
James Jaskolka - vocals, guitars, bass, percussion
Elliot DeMesa - vocals, guitars
Toni Pennello - vocals, flute, keyboards

Additional instrumentation by Jacob Santarsiero and Anthony Cardone. This album was produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Sean Davis and Anthony Cardone over four days in a house in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Cover photo by Erin Ryan, design by James Jaskolka and Gabby Glinski.

To anyone who ever cared enough to help or support this, and especially to those who didn't: thank you.

Special thank you to the people that gave these songs life. I hope you find what you need.



all rights reserved


better days

the music project of James Jaskolka // a constant work in progress.

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Track Name: Rot
Where are you sleeping now?
Is it downtown, in the bar that you've been living in?
Or at your parents' house, screaming so loud,
with the strangers that you call your friends?

I've been meaning to communicate with you, and get some peace -
but you're sipping booze to battle your bad moods, so we don't speak.

I ditched your call when I was leaving town.
It's something we can't seem to talk about.

It's all over now, you've been found out,
and the liquor's clouding up your breath.
You'll wake up on the couch, where you passed out when you couldn't drag yourself to bed.

The irony is such a simple thing,
and I cam see how complacency hangs from a brittle string
on tainted genes.

You'll ask me to dig this grave for two:
we can rot away in a dark and empty room.
But I can't stay here to waste my life with you.
It's not a party when it's all you do.

I'll rot away in someone else's shoes.
Track Name: Our Shared Room
Tepid water, nervous by the window
sweating rings that leak into the paint
as muted sunlight creeps across your shadow -
setting scene for new uncertainties.

Our bodies spilling in the quiet light of morning,
unsure if it was something we had dreamt:
those foreign hands, that complicated breathing
just images that we had pictured while we slept.

This silence makes me anxious.
Your brown eyes make me nervous.

I hear the way you sing with apprehension
when you ask if I can learn to love myself.
But the answers are obscured by your exhaustion
and subtle hints of other inconsistent sounds.

Does this silence make you anxious?
"Do my sad eyes make you nervous?"
Track Name: Hard to Love
You cry as you carve canyons in your lower arm,
tracing wounds over a healing cut.
Your wrists were scarred,
your arms were bandaged up.
You felt so hard to love.

You said "I think my heart's been frozen shut.
It'll take a lot for it to open up."
But when it thawed, it still felt cold to touch.
You felt so hard to love.

But there is warmth inside those eager eyes
that could melt the snow,
and turn this empty space into a fertile place
where flowers grow.
It was a part of you that you used to know.

Now you walk along this spool of spinning thread,
and you watch it all as it's unraveling.
Still, you do your best to try and pull it in
until you slip, and you watch it fall.

There's a darkness hiding in your head.
It whispers words to you like an old friend,
so you smile back and then you let those demons in.
You felt so hard to love.

But there is good to find in a clouded mind,
if you know where to go.
We'll take this empty space, and we can recreate
a perfect home.

There is a life with you that I won't let go.


There is a light inside the darkest place
that you won't turn on, because you're too afraid
to shine the light on to your old mistakes.
But that's a fear that you have to face.