THE BROKEN VIEW: Something Better (2019) and Beyond
A few months ago, I was browsing YouTube and came across a cover of Linkin Park’s ‘Breaking the Habit’ by a band I’d never heard of. I was impressed by the reimagining of the classic song as well as the vocals, so I looked into the band’s other material, and discovered The Broken View. They have a 5-song EP, ‘Something Better’, that I found even more impressive than their cover, showcasing an incredible songwriting talent, vocals, sense of melody, and music production, which they do themselves. I had a chance to chat with frontman, Austin Kranick, about the band, and also want to discuss their music. Most importantly, today they released a new single, ‘You and Me Now’, which is the first single off a new album the band is working on.
The Broken View’s drummer, Tyler Shoemaker, initiated the concept of the band in 2018. After recording some solo work for Austin at Tyler’s studio, Greyscale Recordings in Malta, NY, Tyler asked him to join The Broken View. Austin says, “When we got together for the first session in August of 2018, ‘All I Feel Is You’ was written. I had gone through some lyrics that I was already working on at the time and it fit with the vibe that we were working with extremely well and from that moment on we clicked.” The name ‘The Broken View’ came from the concept of ‘break views’ in graphic design that shows how something works from the inside. The band “felt it had an interesting parallel with the lyrical content of our music and the message we hope convey from personal real-life experiences.” I discussed the band’s lyrics and concepts behind their EP with them, and the five songs of the album comprise a cohesive story through the lyrical symbolism.
Austin said that “The EP was meant symbolize the 5 stages of grief.” The album opens with ‘All I Feel Is You’, which reflects the anger and confusion over feeling someone you love drift away from you. A verse says, “It’s been so long since I could say/that I have felt so close yet so far away/I stumble as the world surrounds me, I cannot help myself/I feel it every time my heart beats for you/And no one else.” The song has an interesting structure, with no clear chorus, but instead builds with a series of different verses. As the song builds, so does the anger as a later verse says, “Deceiving me again and again/I’m not asking you to feel an ounce of guilt/I’m evening the odds on my own terms/Using the hand you’ve dealt”. The song serves as a powerful introduction to the EP and builds to the two bigger songs, which come next.
‘The Fall’ is a powerful song about the guilt of a relationship that didn’t work out. It is a straight forward rock song with a strong melody sung with raw emotion. The chorus is “I don’t want to hurt you anymore/I think I’ve fallen harder than ever before/And if I can’t have you then I can have myself to blame/Cuz I know I’ll never be the same”. The bridge toward the end of the song is a quieter line underscored with intricate guitar and followed by a solo building into the last chorus.
The climax and central point of the EP is the unique title track, ‘Something Better’. More than five minutes in length, the song takes its time in building, both the music and the narrative. Like the ‘All I Feel Is You”, this song is an uncommon structure with a double chorus and some cleverly placed rhymes within phrases that help punctuate the structure of the chorus: “Again, I’m all alone and left without a reason/To hope you learn, to watch you turn a blind eye to a feeling/So this is the only chance that you’ll get to see this through/My eyes before I believe in something better than you”. Continuing with the theme of a relationship ending and the grief and anger associated with it, ‘Something Better’ also starts to turn the corner into moving on. Reflecting some of that anger, this song is also the most metal-sounding of the five songs.
I asked Austin why the song, and EP, were structured around some ‘thing’ better rather than someone: “When I wrote the lyrics for ‘Something Better’ I knew it was a song about moving on from a toxic relationship and the anger of being shut out of someone’s life until it causes you to obsess over it constantly. I never thought for a moment when I was trying to get over that particular situation that it would involve meeting ‘someone’ new. I always felt that would lead to codependence so, the ‘something’ in that idea for me was my music. I thought if I could put as much effort into music as I did obsessing over that person, that I could truly be fulfilled. I only hope that if someone who is or has ever been in that same place hears the song, it will inspire them to find their ‘something’ to get them to a better state of mind.” I particularly like the opening line of the song, which summarizes the overall theme perfectly: “In all this desperation, I fear there’s nothing I could say/To win this fight”.
The band has also filmed and produced their own music videos for their songs. For the ‘Something Better’ video, Austin said that it “perfectly depicts real life situations that I went through. It’s the dichotomy of two people after a bad break up and shows both perspectives, one being obsessive and destructive to not only himself but to others around him, and the other wanting to move forward for the better. However, neither can find the will to let go.” View here.
The final two songs on the EP takes the concept of grief in a more positive direction, focusing on acceptance and moving on. ‘Who We Are’ is written in a 6/8 time signature, adding to the different sound brought to each song. Austin’s vocals for this song feel the most vulnerable and raw, but the message is uplifting and I think relatable to a lot of people. The chorus is: “I’m not afraid to say I’m alive/Through all of this pain, still I can’t find a reason to die/So if I’m not suffering the same fate I’ve always seemed to mistake for happiness/Well then I can truly say that I’m done with hiding these scars/And wake up with nothing but faith in who we are”. Carefully crafted, the lyrics are punctuated by the 6/8 beats. Continuing the message of acceptance and healing, ‘What Could Be Worse’ ends the EP on a quieter note, reminiscing about the past as time not wasted, and serving as an epilogue to the more powerful songs.
The Broken View’s latest single, ‘You and Me Now’, released today, continues the forward progression of their songwriting and music production. Similar in theme to their EP, Austin describes the song as coming from “a situation that Tyler had gone though that I wanted to write about. At its core, it’s a song about the inevitable end of a relationship. It also is a song about desperately wanting to understand the other persons actions and finding the will to forgive them.” The song shares the tone and style of their previous effort, and comes out swinging with confidence as a fast-paced rock anthem. The band is in the process of writing a full-length album and this is the first single off it. Judging by this, it is something to look forward to. Tyler added that all the songs are written, performed and recorded by him and Austin, as they share the same vision for the band, and then they add musicians for tours, and getting on the road again is something they are hoping to do in the near future.
The music industry is changing in the digital age, but remains fraught with hardships in getting recognized and reaching new fans. The Broken View has done all their writing and recording themselves, which is impressive, but Austin mentioned that it does mean they have to deliver for Doordash part time when music production jobs are slow. I wrote previously about such struggles in the industry in my review of Mutiny Within’s latest album and singer Chris Clancy’s move to work as a producer because recording an album and touring wasn’t affordable. I am excited to help highlight The Broken View and a new and up-and-coming band. They are on all social media platforms and have new material on the horizon.