Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Beautiful Lies plays it a little safe

November 4, 2009

For a ’90s kid like myself, Boston-based Beautiful Lies sounds like a blast from the past that I can actually remember. The mainstream music of the ’90s has been subject to (unproductive?) debate, but it can’t be denied that this time period popularized fuzzy garage sounds and the pop-punk category. Beautiful Lies’ revival of the ’90s in their most recent release Yeah, Finally will remind many listeners of this era, but whether one wants to be reminded of awkward roller-rink birthday parties in elementary school is a question yet unanswered.

Yeah, Finally opens with “The End,” ironically, which takes a much bigger cue from alt-country than the rest of the album, and from the group’s previous releases. The very first words, however, don’t let the listener forget that they are listening to a faithfully pop-punk group: “‘You’re an asshole’ was the last thing that she said.”

The up-tempo sing-along “Running Down the Aisles” is more typical of Beautiful Lies, with its persistent drumbeat, tantalizing hooks that lead into catchy choruses, a breakdown three quarters of the way through the song, and slightly formula lyrics. Like much of Yeah, Finally, this song is a bit predictable, but also quite easy to find yourself singing along to before it even ends. “Untitled” seems to take note of this, with its repeated request for the audience/listener to “sing along if you know what I’m saying.” New Found Glory and Blink 182 are channeled in “Running Down the Aisles,” but “Untitled” has more of a minimalistic, power-chord Weezer feel.

“The Answer is Always C” has a sarcastic and caustic tone that can also be found consistently throughout, but its scorching guitar licks and heavier emphasis on punk make this track stand out. Another noticeably different song is “One Thing,” a cutesy plea for people to be nicer to each other (“I wish my waiter could be more polite/ I mean how hard is it to smile?”). The song has some potential, but its collection of clichés and easy rhymes are groan-worthy even before it breaks the fourth wall (“I just want to be clear/ I’m gonna put a new verse here/ but only when I’m sure/ the words will mean a little more”). However, the slower tempo, delightful harmonies, and simple, no-fuss style still make this song worth a listen.

Yeah, Finally, overall, is fun, but also safe. I’d like to see Beautiful Lies take a risk or two, and shake things up lyric-wise.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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