Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Decade Later: When Broken Is Easily Fixed

In about a month, Silverstein’s When Broken is Easily Fixed will have been out for about a decade. My brother bought it for my birthday a few months after it came out. I was twelve years old and, being a whiny piece of crap (little has changed), I was all about every track on the album. It was Silverstein’s debut full-length and it did not disappoint. The production is certainly poor. The guitars seem to slide into a tone that fluctuated between notes and are amplified with amps that have no low end. The bass sounds like it’s cheap. The tone is dead and sometimes appears to be there just to supplement the drums, which could very well be the case. The drums sound like they were recorded quickly, maybe in only a few tracks. The vocals are scrapey and have little depth. Some of the songs are pretty weak -- err, maybe half. But despite all this, the twelve year old me did not have a developed enough taste to discern that this album is off. This album was my angst.

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I have no doubt that When Broken is Easily Fixed had a major impact, along with albums like Sing the Sorrow and Deja Entendu, on my life but it is uncertain on how much impact that When Broken is Easily Fixed had on culture at the time. Actually, we’ll say that When Broken is Easily Fixed is a reflection of culture at that time rather than an influencer, y’know, Hegel ‘n shit. Plus, it's not like every kid ever sat down and listened to this album. The Beatles Silverstein is not.The singles and the videos accompanying them are crap. We’ll take a walk-through.

 Silverstein is wearing what Express has been trying to sell us for the past decade in the “Smashed Into Pieces” music video. There is something to be said about this and I think that it’s that culture as a whole has been trying to wear ties and jackets for about a decade now, probably more. Trying to, at some extent, work a image of formality into a youth culture of rebellion. We’re not particularly good at it, as Told’s white tie and red shirt tells us. We’re buying our rebellion within capitalism which doesn’t work. The oil, a reference to the album cover, continues to show that extraditing yourself from culture is a self-sacrificial action -- or something along the lines of that. The ties in the video are cheap and in bad taste. The shirts, as mentioned previously appearing to be the sort of thing Express has been selling for years, look... so... unhealthy -- like Banker’s Vodka, Cheez-its, and a new found appreciation of other people’s prescription medications.

When Broken is Easily Fixed helped Victory Records begin their upswing into relevancy. Over the next two years they would release albums from Spitalfield, Streetlight Manifesto, Bayside, Atreyu, Hawthorne Heights, Straylight Run, Taking Back Sunday, and Aiden. Victory made money off of Warped Tour and an increasing disposable allowance of 13 year olds. Victory was an early tween and teen exploiter and they did fairly well for themselves. Though now they’re stuck releasing Terror albums which is the equivalent of releasing new Iron Maiden albums.


“Giving Up” has to be included for entertainment purposes. There is little to be learned from it, other than that you’re a mean person and will laugh at other people’s work when given the opportunity. Why are they using that camera-lens? Why is that guy in the video so ugly? Why did they shoot this video? Were cassette tapes still used in 2003?

Notice the baseball t-shirt on Boshart (lead guitar). Every couple years a clothing brand tries to sell these sorts of things as essential or useful for a summer wardrobe or American because BASEBALL. They’re not really warm and they don’t keep you cool. They’re like mid-weight suits. GENERALLY USELESS is the phrase that I am familiar with. They’re OK if you like having lots of things in your closet.

Silverstein is a “growing pains” band. They’re pretty bad right now. Sometimes they try to bring back a more hardcore sound to their albums but they tend to fall short. That’s OK. I still enjoy the old stuff because it reminds me of 7th grade. There’s nothing wrong with taking a look at the past every now and then. I mean, you do it every day when you check in on ACL.

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