Hopesick - Look What You've Done (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Look What You've Done (2004)


Singing is a delicate art, full of triumphs and failures. The amount of possible inflections and variations on a person's voice is almost unlimited, but it's obvious to a listener who and who was not born into a talented gene pool. Take the Rat Pack, arguably the finest example of American singing talent of the 20th century, with voices that are to this day instantly identifiable, and then pit them against a singer from a random member of the current lot of faux emo bands; there's absolutely no comparison. Bert McCracken couldn't shine Dean Martin's shoes, the same as Hopesick's Brad Buckenheimer isn't fit to lick the ground that Ol' Blue Eyes walked on.

Regardless, Buckenheimer and the other four members that make up this musical travesty have put out a record, and the world is worse off for it. Obviously, attempting to put some cash in their wallets through the waves made by bands like Matchbook Romance and Hawthorne Heights, Hopesick's brand of singing and screaming has literally made me reach for the Ibuprofen. Let me be absolutely fair, though; the group of musicians assembled behind these vocals don't scratch the eardrums; in fact, they lay down a pretty solid basis. I liked a lot of the riffs that I heard, as the two-guitar approach works better for these guys than any other aspect of the music. They've got the whole metalcore style down pat, though I'm really not sure just how much of a compliment that is. Quality guitar interplay aside, there's nothing subtle or inviting about the vocals or lyrics.

If you want to tell the untold stories, if you want to give voice to the voiceless, you've got to find a language. Which goes for film as well as prose, for documentary as well as autobiography. Use the wrong language, and you're dumb and blind.
That quote does not belong to Hopesick, but Indian writer Salman Rushdie. My intuition tells me he wasn't referring to faux emo about the time that was written, but potential interpretations can be pegged to this music. The voice here is one that lacks conviction, it lacks emotion, and it lacks heart. What's a voice without heart? Just some crappily written lyrics and five guys hopping the nearest trend. I'm not sure this review is accurately conveying just how awful the singing on this record is, so I'll give you a point of reference; it's worse than the lyrical content. "My life has become a living tragedy / So much for second chances, 'cause the first chance I get I'll be wishing you weren't here." Apparently, these guys managed to break into my house, and steal an old notebook of mine, containing lyrics I wrote in the 9th grade, because that's about the style and substance of them. For the fans of screaming, there's some on this disc, but it feels about as forced as the rest of the emotion on this album.

I don't know, maybe I'm in the minority, but when I listen to emotional music, I like there to be some sincerity there, rather than some guys with matching jet black hair and girls jeans talking about suffocation. Take out the singing, and this record is definitely tolerable, but its inclusion sinks this album faster than a stick of dynamite on a canoe. Maybe these guys do have some real emotion to get out, but all I'm hearing is teenage angst and the sound of cash registers.