The Aces
Photo: Jason Lee / Press

The Aces — Don’t Freak

The Aces have released their new track, “Don’t Freak,” for all your indie-pop playlist needs. The fresh tune, which dropped on April 30, has every ingredient that makes the band’s discography so enjoyable: a funky riff, lush production, honest lyrics, and a catchy hook. On the surface, it’s a fun ditty to dance to — one that calls for control of the AUX cord so you can blast the song while driving around with friends. But beneath the surface, “Don’t Freak” is an all-too-real account of struggling with mental health and dealing with stigmas surrounding anxiety. 

“Don’t freak / You don’t gotta cause a big scene,” lead singer Cristal Ramirez renders in the chorus. “They don’t wanna see you melting / Just gotta do what they told me.” She continues, describing the restlessness that plagues her when her mind goes into hyperdrive: “Can’t sleep / ‘Cause all my brain does is overthink / Scared I’m gonna end up lonely /Just gotta do what they told me.”

The track is inspired by Ramirez’s experience with anxiety-induced panic attacks. “I’ve struggled with severe anxiety for my entire life, and this year started having intense panic attacks,” she said in a press release. “When you struggle with your mental health, you start to realize very quickly just how little space is held for you in society. You quickly feel like a burden to those around you and end up thinking, ‘Why can’t I just get my shit together,’ constantly. In a time where all you need is patience and understanding, you’re made to feel alienated and inadequate, which in turn makes your mental state so much worse. That’s how ‘Don’t Freak’ came to life. We wanted to put this very real story into our music. Mental health issues are something everyone goes through, and not only do we need to be talking more about it, but we need to be holding space for it.”

“Don’t Freak” follows the release of the group’s 2020 sophomore album, Under My Influence, and the LP’s subsequent bonus tracks, “Sleepy Eyes” and “Aren’t You.” The song will be featured on episode two of Hulu’s new photography competition series, Exposure. The band — which comprises Ramirez, her sister, Alisa (drums), McKenna Petty (bass), and Katie Henderson (lead guitar/vocals) — is set to appear in the episode, which drops on May 3. During the installment, contestants will use the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G to capture the essence of The Aces in two challenges. The winner will shoot the official artwork for “Don’t Freak.” Stream Exposure now