Title: "Beauty from Pain"
After following up its first two smash releases with the remix project "Regeneration," the band with the bracketed “k” is back with 10 new songs to empower Christian youth. It’s a good thing, too, since Superchic[k] seems to fill the pop/punk/rock/ female singer niche that no one else has yet to touch.
Not only does the opening tune “Anthem” kick off the album with a bang, but it also sets the recurring theme of confidence and positivity. Loud and fast, the song is dedicated to “girls on the boards with bruises and scars” among others and reminds kids to not give up.
“Bowling Ball,” “Wishes,” and “It’s On” continue the trend, radiating self-esteem builders as their short-yet-memorable choruses loop over rebellious guitars. With lyrics like “You need that boy like a bowling ball dropped on your head which means not at all” and “No matter how you feel it’s what you do that matters,” songwriter Max Hsu maintains a balance between lighthearted rhymes and poetic depth. Also an accomplished producer (tobyMac, Jump5), he blends affected vocals with synthesized notes and clean beats for a blended, atmospheric effect in “Suddenly.” A similar technique sets the mood in “Courage,” betraying the heavy subject matter of struggling with an eating disorder.
Ironically, the title track and most impressive composition, “Beauty from Pain,” is about as far from the signature Superchic[k] sound as it gets, although pinpointing the group’s sound is not a simple task. While Superchic[k] comes across live as rockers with punk-tinged guitar chords, its radio singles portray more melodic traits like acoustic guitar mixed with delicate orchestration. “Beauty from Pain” could have been lifted from a Sarah McLachlan album, with its gorgeous vocals and a piano foundation. The emotion of the song is almost overwhelming with a promising message of hope: “After all this has passed, I still will remain. After I’ve cried my last, there will be beauty from pain.”
The band truly hits its stride with tracks “Pure” (the record’s first single), “Stories (Down to the Bottom)” (a slightly different mix of the song it originally recorded for tobyMac) and “We Live.” Mixing its pop/punk guitars with hints of reggae and rap, this is a style that makes the most of the band’s eclectic talents.
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