The last time Portland rapper Myles Bullen tried to get me to believe in the power of positivity, I wasn’t in the mood to listen. It was the summer of 2017, the one when our president referred to neo-Nazis as “very fine people,” and Bullen’s gentle, CBD-infused promise that “we will get through this” just felt insufficient. In the pages of The Bollard, I referred to these sentiments as “cheesy,” a sign of what an insufferable cynic I must have been. But after nine months of a pandemic that forced me to stay at home, managing my anxieties while focusing on the many bright spots of my life, I’m ready to hope again. Bullen’s new release, Healing Hurts, is a stripped-down effort of diary-entry-level grief management. If anything, it’s even more tender and nakedly emotional than his previous work, eschewing sample-based beats in favor of lightly strummed guitars and ukuleles. Listening to it as 2020 circles the bowl, it speaks to me. “Reading, breathing, grieving / Finding meaning on an island screaming,” Bullen raps on the title track, riding a soothing two-chord acoustic guitar loop to new shores of clarity. When he teams up with guest vocalist Emily Bodley on “Sweetdreams,” their peaceful, twee-folk chemistry makes me wonder if Bullen’s most-listened-to artist on Spotify this year was The Moldy Peaches. “Can’t tell if this is tearing me apart / Or is it therapy for my heart?” they repeat together, as healing major chords mark our way forward.