Joshua Bassett “Set Me Free” through his “Secret” raw emotions after a “Crisis”



Snapshot of Bassett’s music video for his new song “Crisis”

I’ve never been one to become invested in the minor modern scandals that seem to consume an obscene amount of attention from the public. Therefore, as the internet exploded with the love triangle between Disney channel stars Joshua Bassett, Olivia Rodrigo, and Sabrina Carpenter, I did my best to block out the drama. Many fans have been sucked down a rabbit hole full of anger, jealousy, and hate between the three stars, and I always tried my best to avoid it.

Considering the theories that all of this drama is to merely attract attention, I was excited to write a negative review on Bassett’s new songs that allegedly clap back at Rodrigo. Unfortunately, these efforts failed, as I was so pleasantly surprised by the depth and thought that went into each song, and I applaud Bassett for his lyrical talent. 

The pieces lacked the dynamic contrast that I’d usually prefer; however, this aspect strangely fits with the overall exigence of each song. Bassett’s purpose wasn’t to create a belting ballad, but rather to tell his side of the story and open up to raw, powerful emotion. 


My ears happily welcomed Bassett’s resonating and rich tone in the intro as he prefaces this song with his reasons for writing it. It took an immense amount of courage to put himself out there, but it was something that needed to be done in order for him to move on from the crisis that he found himself in. 

Some may find him hypocritical to bash Rodrigo for “fanning the fire for the headlines,” and then turning around and doing the same; however, he does have the disclaimer at the beginning that he didn’t want to write the song, and it becomes clear that this was a logical move for him.

With the lyric, “If you get to tell your truth then so do I,” Bassett shows the world that there’s always more than one side to the story, and going ballistic before understanding the full context doesn’t help anything; in fact, it can deeply hurt people who don’t deserve the backlash. 

The artist expresses the extent of his pain by revealing “my mama called because I got death threats,” making the listener take a step back and realize that the public blew Rodrigo’s songs far out of proportion and took their reactions one thousand steps too far. 

In an effort to help prevent this mental trauma from happening to other, all of the proceeds from “Crisis” will go to mental health organizations. This was a touching aspect that turned a song from merely preaching for change to one that is truly making a difference.


The overall tempo and groove of this song were rather static, but I couldn’t deny that the tune was extremely catchy nonetheless. Out of the three, this installment has a much different vibe, for it has a faster tempo and a much more accusatory tone. 

The lyrics center around the singer in a relationship in which he is cheated on. While no names are dropped, there are multiple clear references that point to Rodrigo. Another man involved would be a new piece of information added to the drama between the Disney channel co-stars.

Those theories aside, I definitely found myself nodding along to the beat and invested in his internal conflict—choosing between keeping the secret on the down-low to protect his significant other, or letting the secret leak, finally releasing his anguish. 

In the bridge, he sings “you can’t hide behind what’s clear as day,” which was my favorite piece of this composition. The lyrics perfectly weaved together with light vocals to wrap up his final thoughts before concluding with the melody. 

It’s no secret that this song will become popular among teenagers and young adults who deal with a similar internal battle after they discover that the one they love has betrayed them.

“Set Me Free”

Bassett structured the order of songs perfectly, beginning with background information and an explanation of his exigence and then showing the angered disappointment. Finally, he ends with “Set Me Free,” expressing his desire to be relieved from his affliction and anger.

With the opening lyrics, the artist evokes a mountain of pain and regret. The casual and legato falsetto makes the listener feel as if he’s coming up with these lyrics as he goes, writing them down in a notebook as a tear splatters onto the page. 

I’ve been runnin’ away, I’ve been facin’ my fears. Tell my mama I’m okay while I’m holdin’ back tears.

— Joshua Bassett

Then, he regains his strength, seems to toss the notebook aside, and he comes into his own. The composition was both reflective and emotional, asking the rhetorical question, “but why must I hurt for you to feel okay?” He explores the deep topic of revenge and the effects it has on others, especially when it is exaggerated out of proportion. 

Even though I’ve never been in a relationship before, this song had me belting in my room, singing my heart out to an imaginary person on the other side of the mirror. No matter what struggles a person is going through, I think everyone can find some aspect of this song that they can relate to. 

At the moment, I am unable to pick a favorite. I’m pleased to admit that these songs will become the three newest additions to my playlist with a newfound respect for the young artist. 

Bassett sends the message that one perspective can never tell the full story, and it’s important to consider other points of view before jumping to harmful conclusions. No matter my opinion on the extensive drama, the songs themselves should be appreciated for the heartfelt and enticing masterpieces that they are.