Superchick: 'Beauty from Pain'
By Jennifer E. Jones
No one can touch Superchick when it comes to anthems. The Chicago-based six-man (and woman) band has been making music to live by since 2002 when they burst onto the scene with Karaoke Superstars. Their latest offering, Beauty from Pain, is no exception. Not for the faint at heart, this album unleashes an array of reckless rock theme songs to pull you through any dark time to the light on the other side.
Rarely do you find an album that is good from the first track to the last. With solid song after solid song, Beauty from Pain takes you through the personal trials faced by Superchick between this album and their last, Regeneration. Each band member suffered the loss of significant relationships, forcing all of them into singlehood at one point. The break-ups took a hard toll on the band, especially for lead singer, Tricia Brock. She said, “The songs won’t bring you down. But if you are down, this album lets you know that you’re not alone.”
Beauty from Pain kicks off with “Anthem”. Within the first few seconds, you hear Tricia yell, “Here’s to the ones who don’t give up!” Every album should start this way. “Anthem” is a blast of energy that pays homage to girls who refuse to fade into the background. In their unapolegetically female way, Superchick rocks hard in this sure-fire concert favorite.
What separates Beauty from Pain from previous Superchick albums is the maturity of their lyrics. It remains quotable by being honest and clever, yet never dumbs down their youth audience. The Christian radio hit, “Pure”, is a prime example. It’s Biblical truth in a Superchick translation: “This is my brand new day starting now / I let go of the things that weigh me down … / And this is my prayer / Without ceasing / The negative releasing / And as I rise above / My burden is easing.”
Max Hsu, deejay/producer, is responsible for the great hooks in Superchick’s special brand of rock. Every note and catchy phrase is designed to get in your head and never let go. “We have to apologize to people a lot, especially when they don’t like our music,” Max told CBN.com. “I’m really sorry but in three weeks you are not going to be able to get us out of your head.” Lucky for us, Beauty from Pain is worth it, especially with songs like the relentless “Bowling Ball”, the guitar-heavy tune about dropping no-good guys. Get ready to sing, “You have too much to give to live / To waste your time on him.”
It’s not all upbeat. The ballads do the best job of explaining the depth of sadness that breaking up can do. On this album, Tricia’s vocals on the title track are unmistakably cool with strokes of innocence marred by tribulation. When she belts out, “Here I am at the end of me …/ I cling to Your promise there will be a dawn”… you can hear the conviction in her voice.
Beauty from Pain takes breaks from the heartache to get back to the root of their music ministry, which is addressing the deeper issues of adolescence. In “Courage”, a young woman asks for help in battling her eating disorder. “I need you to know / I’m not through the night,” it softly goes. It is a naked look at the hardest part of overcoming a trial -- the process -- and views it with heartfelt faith.
There are more pearls on this album: “Stories (Down to the Bottom), a tobyMac production; the neo-punk stylings of “Wishes”; “Suddenly”, which reveals how often the end of hard times comes without warning; and another great anthem, “It’s On”.
After the emotional roller coaster goes through its most hair-raising moments, the album culminates in “We Live”. With a touch of reggae, the song is about cherishing each day -- whatever that might bring. “We live, we love,” they sing. “We forgive and never give up / ‘Cause the days we are given are gifts from above / Today we remember to live and to love.” If only we all could be so hopeful in the face of loss. Apparently, there is something to be learned from the pain.
For more information on Superchick, go to their Web site.
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