Cover Photo by Robert Schmeltzer.

The first time I cried in a coffee shop, Marcus McCauley made me do it.

I was listening to his latest album, No One Cares, intrigued by the fact that he wrote and produced the entire thing.

“Nice to meet you. My expression see through.”

Despite the nonchalant album title, Marcus opened No One Cares with a surprisingly pleasant tone. But I didn’t hear him. I wasn’t really listening. I had come to the shop for a cold coffee and a peaceful place to work. The music was meant to drown out my unwanted thoughts…

Or so I thought.

As the introduction track, “Antisocial,” ended, I found myself pulled into the music. The production took a quick turn, mysteriously morphing into a short scenic soundscape which rolled seamlessly into track 2, “Peer Pressure.”

Marcus charged right out of the gate with it.

“I been stuck up living in my head. Hardly get out of my bed. Out of control of my face. Mad at the world til I’m dead… This aint a joke to me, nigga I’m dead. Yo, why am I this way?”

‘This man is spittin,’ I thought to myself.

He continued. I dropped my pen and picked up my phone. I was having a horrible day. It wasn’t even 7am yet, and those lyrics were hitting too close to the front door of my fragile home.

You see, I was at a point in my life when I was attempting to balance several things- a janky job, fading friendships, and a moody mindset, to name a few. To put it bluntly, I was not succeeding.

When I inevitably realized that my balancing act was a failure, I tried to suppress my emotions, burying myself deeper into my work.

So there I was, 6 something in the morning, sipping a cold brew, and attempting to be numb to the world. That was, until this Marcus dude started making me think and feel strong thoughts and feelings about my life.

(How dare he?!)

“Y’all done took my peace of mind, mind, mind. I just need to breathe sometimes, times, times…”

By track 3, Marcus McCauley had my full attention. I respected the relevant music, but I was also extremely triggered, hoping that perhaps this next track wouldn’t feel so personal. I was wrong… I was so, so wrong.

The song, “Paranoianxiety,” read me like a book. When the hook came around, I sat staring out of the window, stunned. Everything that I had been suppressing collected in the corners of my eyes.

I closed my laptop and I started No One Cares from track 1.

I closed my eyes and I started to really listen.

What I heard was deeper than words over music. What I heard was multitudes of millennials screaming out in synchronization. They all said the same thing in various ways, their voices filling an unfillable void. The world spit back a resounding reply:

No One Cares.

In this album, titled as tribute to that brute reply, Marcus McCauley takes a topic as taboo and touchy as mental health, infuses it with personal experience, sets it atop an astonishing arrangement of production platters, and shouts out “Order up!”

He does this all with a smile on his face.

The content, while personal to Marcus, is also extremely relatable.

“Antisocial” lets us know that it is okay to be alone. Sometimes, the benefits of solitude outweigh the loneliness of being solely with self.

“Paranoianxiety” reminds us that for every down, there is an up. Reflecting on better times can be helpful if done in a constructive way. Don’t beat yourself up.

“F**k Work,” could serve as a resignation letter for many creatives who feel as though they are cheating on their passion with their day jobs.

“I Don’t Wanna Do Anything” is an ode to those days when you’re just not feeling like doing life, you know? The title is self explanatory.

Out of the 11 songs on the album, Marcus has released videos for 3, so far. The first was “I Don’t Wanna Do Anything,” which preceded the project by months, providing a head-melting hint for what was to come. Next, we were gifted with “Grown,” which gave a nostalgic nod to the mid-nineties “Candy Rain” era.

Most recently, Marcus released the video for “Antisocial,” just last week, and boy is it a trippy take.

All of the No One Cares visuals are products of a collaboration with Lost Portal Productions, a Portland based collective tasked with turning these sonically sweet songs into visual versions of themselves.

Director Raynee Roberts and her team did not disappoint. The three visuals are so distinct, yet each perfectly capture and convey the accompanying music. It is almost as if Marcus opened a trapdoor to his mind, and Lost Portal came in to film the hottest and most creative Cribs episode ever. We like this.

When it comes to music, relatable content is very important to me. But overall sound quality and variance is important as well. No One Cares does not lack on either front.

Marcus’ production is heavy with emotion. Even without the vocals, his music still makes you feel something that you can’t quite put into words. With the vocals, it all makes sense. He manages to make his struggles sound… good. It is healing in a way and I find myself revisiting the project often- on good days, on bad days, and on days in between.

What do you hear when you listen? Can you relate?

No One Cares.

But honestly, I do. I care quite a lot.

An old saying goes “There is a first time for everything.” And while I don’t remember my first time doing many things, I do distinctly remember crying in a coffee shop for the first time.

I’ll tell you about it. It’s a great story, it comes with the PERFECT soundtrack, and it starts like this:

The first time I cried in a coffee shop, Marcus McCauley made me do it.

(…And no one cared.)