Melbourne 2018

It’s the messy bedroom floor. The uneven posters that surround you like a cacoon. Legs crossed, body planted, hunched shoulders. The overflowing blanket clipping your exposed knees as it commences its avalanche onto the clothing-littered carpet. The bowed head.

The initial fingerpicking of the guitar trickles in, seeping through the bursting walls subtly, gently. The crooning chant you hear in the background pings and pangs as you slump on the floor, hands in your head. You’re stuck in your own horrified mind, and the crackling voice of Post Malone plucks your heartstrings like said artist does to the acoustic guitar.

You’ll never hear your parents, calling out for dinner. You’re lost in your own world of heartbreak, and in your juvenile state you firmly believe that hope is lost – life shall eternally be plagued by this tragedy and the poignancy of your honest vulnerability, all of which is encapsulated by the afflicted voice that sings over the bare acoustic line.

As subtly as it transcended into your adolescent walls, you gradually notice the shift. The increasing influence of the backing “ooos”, the tiny addition in the background that is so slightly hopeful. Optimistic.

It takes minutes into the piece, but it changes the situation, and the setting.

Now you aren’t the sobbing, fallen teenage version of yourself lamenting in the heartbreak that you believe empathises so dearly with your current feelings. You’re now in the classroom, emotionally distracted. The tears that tracked your pimply skin haven’t completely faded. And the stamp it has placed on your mind is still there, only mellowed.

The early afternoon sun peeks in at the height of the window. The trees sway out the classroom, and all you can hear is the “oooos”. The eerie, beautiful “oooos”. And as you look at that one person, catch their eye flicking back to your misty lids and recently moistened cheeks, you hear him. That crackling, imperfect voice that manages to evade your soul’s defences and cut through to your heart like a skilful robber does through alarms. It’s the smile, the fleeting eye-meet-eye contact that takes just as long as that dreaded school day does.

And ultimately, maybe that’s the beauty of Feeling Whitney, and those memorable “ooos” that imprint themselves on you much like Post Malone’s unique singing and the steadily emotional guitar. It can appeal to both the helpless who are mired in that youthful bedroom of heartbreak, and it can resonate with that beautiful moment of sheer vulnerability yet reckless optimism.

And isn’t that a part of everyone’s lives at some stage?

Sean Mortell is a journalism student who is enraptured by the joys of both sport and music. He wishes for the day that the likes of Ed Sheeran and Coldplay can be sighted in the same place as the Collingwood Football Club or the Australian cricket team. He writes for our partner sites The Footy Almanac and Almanac Music.