Beautiful Sadness: The Broken View’s On the Mend

On the Mend is the debut album by independent rockers, The Broken View. It’s poignant, painful, and powerful–a tone poem about love and loss. After years of angry, ornery, decadent, and political rock tunes, an eleven song exploration on the exquisite passion and sadness inherent in love is refreshing. It’s also brutally honest, illustrating anger and frustration as much as desire and warmth.

From the opening “Reverie” to the closing, “Leave Love Out of It,” we witness the anguish of love peeled back and exposed like an onion. In fact, if we play the album straight through and allow it to roll back to the beginning, we realize that the anguish loops back on itself. It begins as it ends–in tears.

In this, taken together, the songs in On the Mend call to mind one of the world’s greatest tragic love stories, Tristan and Iseult. Tristan and Iseult’s forbidden love ignites quickly, causes great strife, and ends in the deaths of both lovers. Although nothing quite that dramatic is present in On the Mend, it’s the intensity of the feelings in each song and the inevitability of the ending which reflects the medieval legend.

Ten out of the songs have a solo male narrator who speaks/sings about and to an unknown female counterpart. At times, the narrator is harsh and unforgiving; at others, he is sorrowful and pleading. He alternates between blaming himself and his lover for their failed love affair. The eleventh song, “Stay,” is a duet between the male and female lovers. Introducing the lilting, soft voice of the female singer forces us to remember that in every relationship, both parties are equally responsible for its success or failure.

Although the album overall is masterful and deserves to be heard in its entirety, the title song, “On the Mend” is a definite stand-out. Positioned as the second song on the album, it carries some of the finest lyrics in the entire album–“before I write myself into final decimation /I’ll retrace this life under sober empty skies.” Those stirring lines deliver both a promise and a declaration to keep going, keep living, and keep loving until the very end.

Schadenfreude is the German expression which explains the joy we often experience in the midst of sorrow. It’s not a term of self-satisfied gloating at the misfortune of others. Rather, it recognizes that there can be a transcendent and beautiful expression of contentment and happiness from partaking in and witnessing that which is melancholic or sorrowful. When we read a story, watch a film, or hear a piece of music which moves us to tears, and yet. leaves us satisfied at the conclusion, we are experiencing schadenfreude.

It’s precisely that quality which appears to be the hallmark of this elegantly constructed album. Singer Austin Kranick’s aspirated vocals highlight the intense, often mercurial and conflicted, feelings of young love. Combined with dreamy synth effects, sharp, punctuated rhythms, and soaring guitars, we ride the wave of passion in each song, forcing us to live vicariously through the mind of the narrator as his bruised heart bleeds out in every note he sings. By the time, we reach the closing song and we’re exhorted to “leave love out of it” repeatedly, we’ve bled along with the narrator and we are content in knowing that “love is not enough sometimes/to right another wrong.”

Published by Krista S.

Lifelong lover of books and music. Dedicated to sharing and mentoring.

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