Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Cold Specks Opens Up on Her Third Album, ‘Fool’s Paradise’

Cold Specks - Wild Card (Official Video)
Cold Specks, the stage name of Ladan Hussein, released her third album, Fool’s Paradise, through Arts & Crafts on September 22. It finds Hussein exploring her identity as a Somali-Canadian woman and expanding on sounds and themes addressed on her previous albums.

Early single “Wild Card” announced that Fool’s Paradise was moving in a different direction from 2014’s Neuroplasticity. Where the music on Cold Specks’ second album was brittle and harsh, “Wild Card” is soothing and warm. Hussein’s mother inspired the lyrics, the artist explained in a press release.

“There was a man in my family’s store, a new refugee, who had traveled from Somalia to Canada … My mother had never met him before. He was a complete stranger from a familiar place. She took him to a local restaurant, fed him, and found him somewhere to stay. I was astonished by her selflessness and kept humming ‘I’ll be there for you. Don’t know why.’”

Cold Specks Press Shot
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Hussein sings in Somali for the first time on the album-opening title track, which she dedicates to the semi-mythical Somali queen Araweelo. A queen of female empowerment and known to castrate male prisoners, Araweelo has been variously portrayed throughout the centuries as either heroine or misandrist. Discussing the song in W Magazine‘s premiere of the track  Hussein said, “It’s really difficult existing as a black Muslim woman in this world — especially a Somali woman … I started digging into Araweelo’s history, and I was just empowered by it all. I found solace in Araweelo.”

Both I Predict a Graceful Explosion, Cold Specks’ 2012 debut album, and Neuroplasticity contain an element of uncertainty to them; until 2015, Hussein was credited as Al Spx to keep her musical career a secret and avoid disappointing her family. Not coincidentally, both I Predict… and Neuroplasticity feel packed with anxiety raging just under the surface.

Now publicly known as Ladan Hussein, Cold Specks unleashed that emotion on Fool’s Paradise. Rather than an explosion (graceful or otherwise), the result is a beautiful, intimate album able to share the dark and the light.

Cold Specks’ Fool’s Paradise is available for purchase on: Amazon, iTunes, and Arts & Crafts’ online shop.

Terence Praet
Terence Praet contributes to The Manual’s New Music Monday column. He studied Philosophy and History at Skidmore College…
The best Stephen King movies made from Stephen King books (and where to watch them)
If you're scared of clowns or haunted cars, this isn't the list for you


The only thing more thrilling than a Stephen King book is a film adapted from one of his novels. The long-time author is one of the most successful writers of his generation, and his spooky, cinematic settings have served as inspiration for some of Hollywood's most esteemed creatives. The best Stephen King movies often use the source material as a basis for the film, and then the directors put their own twist on the story to pull the audience in even more. From Stanley Kubrick to Rob Reiner, famous filmmakers have operated within their own framework to turn otherwise forgotten Stephen King books into some of the most beloved of the last 40 years. These are the best Stephen King movies made from the best Stephen King books. These pictures range from coming-of-age stories to horrifying science fiction classics.

Read more
Brand Profile: How Dr. Squatch went from a viral social media startup to men’s grooming sensation
How Dr Squatch grew from startup to behemoth
Dr. Squatch bundle

"Most guys don't think about what bar of soap they use when they are washing their body. Let's face it, they're probably still using the soap your mommy bought for her little man. Is that what you want? To smell like mommy's little man?"

The opening of many of the advertisements from Dr. Squatch feels less like a commercial and more like a skit that you would actually stay and pay attention to. It reminds us of 20 years ago when Geico introduced the cavemen and kept us watching commercials instead of taking the opportunity to go to the bathroom. It is a soap made for men, according to them, "men who build things, men who open the pickle jar on the first try, and men who catch foul balls without spilling their beer."

Read more
Laundry Sauce will make you want to ditch your old detergent forever [Sponsored]
Laundry Sauce's luxury scented add-ins will spruce up laundry and leave your clothes smelling divine.
Laundry Sauce detergent pods for divine-scented laundry.

Most laundry detergents come in the same boring scents, the same uninspired packaging, and the same goopy, unpleasant format – seriously, what do they put in these bottles? Take a quick stroll down any detergent aisle, and you’ll see and smell a spring breeze, crisp linen, or intense fresh, whatever that means. They use a lot of the same aromas and just slap different names on the labels, too. Sure, doing laundry is a necessity, but surely there’s a way to make it more fun. There must be something better than an “intense” or “crisp” aroma.

Laundry Sauce is changing the game with its luxury-scented laundry pods. Thanks to a collaboration with world-class perfumers and scent artists – hey, that’s what they call them, not me – Laundry Sauce’s high-performance pods are infused with sophisticated scents. These ultra-concentrated pods transform any laundry day into a sensual experience with scents like Australian Sandalwood and Egyptian Rose.

Read more