The Beautiful Mistake is having luck at the moment; I just don’t know if it’s good or bad. Today they released their first collection in 14 years – You’re Not Broken, I Am – during the worst pandemic in the last hundred years. On the one hand, any press about it will get buried under a terrifying avalanche of coronavirus news. On the other, there are now a lot of people at home, streaming every sort of music possible and discovering bands they might have missed.
So on that front, swings and roundabouts. Could this pandemic give The Beautiful Mistake a sudden fan boost?
On the biases of You’re Not Broken, I Am – probably not. It’s like you’ve found some cool, instrumental band and are having it ruined by some crazy guy screeching on the bus.
Opening with ‘Monument’, the track starts with a bassline distortion opening at a slow Andante tempo before the guitar and drums kick in. The arrangement gets warmer and darker, with a tense feeling to it. The lyrics start sad-sounding with strained, cracking tenor sounds. So far, so good.
And then the screaming starts. Like, right out of nowhere.
And the lyrics feel without depth or meaning like suburban teenage angst. Confusing punch and power with loudness, they lack any emotional weight. There is nothing in the arrangement of music to contrast with or shade it. The tempo speeds up to a more Vivace rate, and the pitch gets deeper during the last fifth, but with the smothering scream-lyrics, the change is masked, and it just sounds like two songs have been stuck together.
‘East of Eden’ keeps with Vivace tempo and has a rawer, more primal arrangement. But then bang – the screaming all over it masks the arrangement and what would otherwise be a good song.
‘Memento Mori’, which should be the album’s best track, with a vibrant, pulsing beat and tempo gets destroyed by – you guessed it – the screamo singing and flitting with pseudo-tenor singing. It has nothing to contrast to or build on. It drowns everything out, annihilates the rhythm, and ruins what should be a good track. What should be have been a good release.
So yes – I got it, listened to it, and am now regretting it.
The music in You’re Not Broken, I Am is excellent. Fantastic. Loaded, vibrant, and with a brilliant arrangement. I am actually pissed off that they buried it under the weak, whiny, scream-singing. We don’t even get one-track album syndrome – each song is unique within the overall sound of the band. Then they ruin it.
They know how to build the music and play with it. It gets your attention, grabs you by the shoulders, and leads you on. But it turns out it’s only doing this so it can lure you down an alleyway so someone on bath salts can shout out you. It’s like if Stained had discovered screamcore instead of the sweepings from a Creed recording session.
It isn’t that I don’t enjoy anger and screaming in music. Other bands have done it, and it works. They get the arrangement, the tempo, the harmony (or lack of) just right so that it can work. The Beautiful Mistake, however, don’t do this, and we are all the poorer for it.