AUGUST 08 simply could've made the title of his EP "Happy Endings*", but instead he chose to spell out "With An Asterisk". This deliberate move was to draw attention to the theme of the project. As the 88rising artist explained to FADER, "When I came up with that title it's like so many good things happen, but at the end of the day there’s always going to be something bad that happens because that's natural." The asterisk represents there always being strings attached to your growth and joy, but the struggles don't preclude the possibility of a happy ending.
Happy Endings With An Asterisk explores this tension lyrically and sonically. The EP opens with "Spiral", a slow song about the guilt that accompanies not feeling like the writer of your own story. This introspection is followed by a poppier tune about the "Good Girls" that allow you to escape your own head for a bit. The GoldLink-assisted "Simple Pleasures" and Smino-assisted "Blood On My Hands" are full-blown dance tracks that offer the exuberance you deserve before falling back into the melancholic final tracks. The EP fittingly closes with a musical equivalent of the asterisk. On "Swim", AUGUST 08 sings over piano about these ups and downs, but does it with a clarity that evidences an understanding of it all coming together to make a complete and beautiful story.