Global Charming charms the globe with brutally mediocre album

From the darkness of the Netherlands underground music scene, the band Global Charming brought into the light with them their veiled distaste for the monotony of daily life. 

In their debut album titled “Mediocre, brutal,” this post-punk quartet uses subtle humor and satire to create a parody of routine, resonating with audiences tired of the tedium underscoring distance learning and quarantine. 

However, no matter how interesting it is to identify the hidden themes and messages within Global Charming’s music, listening to the album itself is simply an unpleasant experience. 

Music is designed to evoke emotional responses within their audience, but without listening closely to the lyrics, the only response I had is distaste towards its dissonant and grating songs.  

One could argue that Global Charming’s nonconformity to expectations set by stereotypical popular music is what makes it a masterpiece, but deviating from the norm should not be the formulaic way to instant adoration. 

Once past their atonal melodies and repetitive rhythm, however, the lyrics begin to present those traits as deliberate artistic choices. The songs are meant to be disconcerting because it is a disconcerting reflection of the commonplace life many of us lead. 

The satirical message is expressed through the first track of the album, titled “Office Hell.” It begins with an uncomfortably slow beat, contrasting the intense melody, which then transitions into harsh guitar riffs. Muted conversations and other background noises one might find in a typical office setting underlies the whole song. In a moment as the singer speaks directly to the listener, he says “no pictures,” sardonically highlighting the lack of moments in his life that are worth being photographed. 

All of the following songs continue in the same vein, each exploring a different aspect of being ordinary. In the third track, “Curveball,” the singer plays the role of the devil’s advocate, darkly parodying life’s penchant for doling out unexpected misfortune. “Try a little sickness,” he chants ominously, “This girl is brand new. Young, healthy, perfectly stable.” 

With other tracks like “Soft Fruit,” “Born to be a Knife” and “My Turn to Sleep,” Global Charming scrutinizes living with mediocrity, expectation versus reality and societal pressures. After covering such heavy issues, the last track, “If it is,” ends the album on a surprisingly positive note. A male and female voice calls out, reassuring each other that “I’m here,” accompanied by soft guitar and a flute flourish. This exchange reminds us that despite the uniformity of our lives, our interpersonal relationships with friends and family do not have to be forced into the same bland mold. 

The album “Mediocre, brutal” by Global Charming is unsettling, but it’s dissonance and atonality are merely tools to express their irritation about the unchanging nature of day-to-day existence. Through its layers of snark and irony, one of the main messages is to appreciate your surroundings while also finding humor in everyday life. So, once in a while, remember to indulge in the humdrum of our schedules, for after all, we’re living in an “unprecedented time.” 

By Cathy Li, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of bandcamp

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