I’m fairly hip. I have an open mind, and nothing’s been shocking enough to shake me since I saw Goatse and 2girls1cup on the Internet. I wear sunglasses when it’s sunny (contrary to popular belief, the sun does set on a bad-ass) and I have an encyclopedic knowledge on many important and not so important subjects. The greatest of these subjects has always been music. I pride myself in being up-to-date on what’s cool and really is cool, what’s cool and should be only for losers and what everyone knows isn’t cool at all, but is listened to anyway for the mere feeling of being cool by exclusion. Acts with only noise and ambiance for content fall into the last category. Don’t sue me for that.
If you ask me how I know these things, I’ll always answer with, “Does the Pope take a shit on Sunday?” What this means is that no one knows. Especially not me. Even the Pope isn’t too sure.
As an schizophrenic listener of music, I understand why you folks like the music you do. I might not dig all the stuff that gets you off, but I can sympathize with it. I also understand why you can’t open your minds to music with objectively better technicality, songwriting, atmosphere and lyrical content. That’s not really easy to do.
I do not, however, understand the fad that is Emo music.
This brings me to a new band I discovered about a year ago. A fad that has permeated the pop-culture of teenage girls and pop music lovers worldwide, the band is Automatic Loveletter. It is essentially a vehicle for singer-songwriter Juliette Simms. Many of you might disagree with me right now – but considering the simple power chord progressions in minor keys, basslines that are the same note for several bars and basic 4/4 beats that dominate their first EP Recover, I think this is a safe assumption to make. The only thing that sets this band apart from every other teenybopper modern rock band with a range of four chords playable on a toy piano is the vocalist, this Juliette Simms.
This is their first single – Hush, from an EP with five songs total. This is the best song, though, which isn’t saying much. The rest is worse than this, so let’s just talk about Hush.
Apparently, girls nowadays are into singers that sound like they’ve just gotten out of the Rehab clinic for Meth. She seems to be breathing while singing – this isn’t manly husky – it might just be a case of the sniffles during her recording session. She might be trying to pull off the accent of Dolores O’Riordan with the bellows of Grace Slick, but her lungs simply do not have the subtlety or capacity for either. Besides, she isn’t Irish.
Her nasal voice breaks at the edge of every note – maybe this is supposed to be “emotional singing.” Her high notes sound like Kelly Clarkson had her throat slit, popped out of a tuba and began to rasp and spray blood and phleghm everywhere. The pre-chorus sounds like Juliette is about to sneeze and can’t quite get it out – maybe a punch in the nose from bloggers worldwide will fix this. In essence, she sounds a lot like what I sound like when I sing – except I don’t do it for a living. Unfortunately, no record label is going to sign me because I don’t have nice breasts or washboard abs.
There is no depth in this record. The lyrics are so generic and shallow that they might just have been pulled off a Google search for “emo girl breakup true love red cutting.” They sound putrid enough to retch to. When you couple the blandness her lyrics to the whine-whine-and-then-cry sound that she shares with so many emo bands out there, you get a gimped, unlikeable and unlistenable record that I couldn’t even get all the way through for fear of sicking up.
This isn’t cool. Records like this are the reason Depression has become so overused as an excuse for being cool – and a direct reason that it is the most over-diagnosed ailment in the world. If I want utter crap like this, I might as well plug a cheap Walmart guitar into a shitty practice amplifier and cry into a microphone. Will people with badly cut black hair, scars on their arms and serious expressions in their Myspace pictures applaud me? Perhaps my opinion is not valid because I’m 23 years old and getting older – and am succumbing to the common inability to understand the vicissitudes of newer generations – an inability that I used to rant and rave at when I was younger.
This might be – but in an objective review, you have to disqualify all your prior bias about music and grade it on what is right there on the record in your CD player. I’m sorry, but there isn’t any musical merit here to speak of in any sense.
Don’t buy this record. Don’t even bother downloading it – it will infect your computer with the shitty bandwagon jumping virus. If you’re a real fan of music, look into Natalie Merchant, The Cranberries, Coleske and Light This City when you need a female singer fix.