Artist – The Front Bottoms
Album – The Front Bottoms
Year – 2011
Genre – Indie-Punk
A lot of people who want to be musicians and write really great lyrics are disheartened by the fact that they don’t have the best voice in the world. Well let me tell you something: music is about feeling, emotion, and honesty. If you can sing to the best of your ability and sing about how you truly feel, people will take notice. Case in point are The Front Bottoms and front/bottom man Brian Sella. Yes, he’s not the best singer in the world, but his lyrics are subtly beautiful and resonant, along with being witty and clever. He sings with true emotion and you can tell that the songs mean something to him, and others have picked up on that. This band has been making a splash recently and really resonating with the new generation of young audiences. Swimming Pool is a heartbreaking song that requires a bit of exploration, but the lyrical message is profound in its own way.
“There’s comfort in the bottom of a swimming pool. I’m holding my breath for you.” I have to talk about the lyrical portion of this song first and foremost. Sella’s lyrics are both confusing and clever; emotional and detached. You can tell they are intensely personal for him, but we all can take away meaning from them as well. They speak of the unspoken feelings and thoughts during a break-up. Sella does a wonderful job at capturing the frenetic and fragile nature of the mind during moments of vulnerability, and the his lyrics during the chorus and ending stanzas are simply heartbreaking.
“And I will do the things I think you might like. And I will be alone for probably the rest of my life.”
Powerful stuff. We reach a certain point where pleading and pity seem to be the only mental escapes from overthinking, and Sella knows this. Over the top of all this, there’s a phone conversation that ends with a break up, which I’m sure many of us have either gone through or heard before. It’s a simple, human connection to the rest of the song, but one that is intense and effective. We tend to underestimate the power of these moments. As the song finishes, Sella gives one more yell of “There’s comfort in the bottom of a swimming pool!” It’s a final plea of desperation; exhausted, heartsick, and beaten down. I got shivers.
The music here is simple, but poetic in its own right. A plucking guitar provides the song with a simple melody that’s repeated throughout which creates a nice somber base, but the chorus is crashing and aggressive. It juxtaposes quite well with the verses, while not over complicating the song. The guitar tone and melody heard in the chorus is a good choice, and the ending of the song builds up the frustration reflected in the arc of the song. The guitar changes melody and picks up pace, while a piano is pounded upon with no regard for melody. It’s pure expression and emotion, and I couldn’t think of a more fitting finish.
Yes, singing lessons can always help, but honesty is what matters. Other people will realize that what you have to say is important. Your experiences will speak to the human collective, because we all feel. A lot of people cannot express their emotions openly, so music is an outlet for them. For all aspiring musicians out there, look to The Front Bottoms. Brian Sella is not the greatest singer in the world, but his words and music is full of the stuff that truly speaks louder than the voice. I tell you, there’s no greater feeling in the world than someone saying to you “That song really spoke to me.” Keep going, and keep making music.
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