It is of little secrecy that we exist in a world that perpetuates a cultural script of shedding vulnerability as we age. “Stoic” and “mature” have become synonymous, subsequently generating a behavioral connotation that has deeply woven itself into the fabric of our society.
Historically, rock music has tended to predominantly reflected this within lyrical content with the exception of one emotion: anger. This, of course, is no secret – in fact, the lyrical theme of anger has acted as both a crucial catharsis and a megaphone to speak aloud on the behalf of many. Its presence is needed; its presence has become such a hallmark of the genre (and all that falls under its umbrella) for a worthy reason. Just as stoic has become synonymous with mature, anger has become synonymous with power. While there is certainly validity in that, it is simultaneously quite limiting. After all, power can be sourced from vulnerability of any kind – not exclusively as it exists in the form of expressing frustration and disgruntlement.
Enter Bellevue Days.
The Croydon-based band’s debut album, It Can’t Possibly Go Wrong Ever, is an undeniable catalyst in rewriting this age-old cultural script. Each of the eleven tracks lands with a merited sense of gravity, and this is because they approach the task of navigating the web of complexities that is the mind with a sense of heedfulness – something that is rooted in an honest meditation on the murkier moments of the human experience. What is distinctive about these moments, however, is that they occur internally; these moments are our never ending inner dialogue where we fear, question, rage, reflect, and revolt as we process the world around us and our place within it. For instance, ‘S A D’ touches upon the fear of death, anger, and loneliness, ‘Jouska’ highlights indulging in vices as a vehicle to escape difficult emotions, and ‘Dashboard Jesus’ chronicles the often difficult journey we all face to even like – let alone love – ourselves at times.
It Can’t Possibly Go Wrong Ever not only gives an eloquent platform to the thoughts and feelings we are so often told to conceal, but its ability to do so successfully comes from the fact that these topics have been lyrically illustrated in such a candid manner. After all, no one likes themselves every minute of every day. No one hasn’t had moments of being consumed by fear or frustration. No one hasn’t experienced instances where they’ve felt alone or misunderstood. To see these thoughts and feelings – the ones that often nag at our brains during the most mundane or inconvenient moments throughout the day – represented so beautifully and uncontrived is impactful.
While Bellevue Days is, of course, not the first or only artist to accomplish and represent this within their work, their approach feels distinctive. Perhaps it is because there is no masking of emotions or ideas through thinly-veiled metaphors (actually, there’s a great one in ‘Dashboard Jesus’, but it is used as a complement to what it being expressed rather than a substitution) or other linguistic workarounds to avoid direct expression. It Can’t Possibly Go Wrong Ever eliminates this guesswork – thoughts, feelings, emotions, and sensations are consistently expressed by name, just as they are. Words matter in any context, so there is certainly something to be said by Bellevue Days engaging in this explicit naming. One of the likely many reasons as to why doing this is valuable is because it acts as a catalyst for normalization. Whether the tracks on It Can’t Possibly Go Wrong Ever be discussing sadness, racing thoughts, or dissolving relationships, they all play a role in communicating one overarching message whether it was intended or not: to be vulnerable and raw, especially in regards to topics that the world conditions us to internalize, is deeply, richly, and undeniably powerful.