» Album Review: Steve Bertrand — Pain is a Megaphone
Album Review: Steve Bertrand — Pain is a Megaphone
Guest review by Annelise Kopp
Pain is a Megaphone? On the album cover, Bertrand sulks introspectively. Maybe he’s regretting having doomed his career with such a terrible album name, or possibly he’s thinking about everything he said in track 2…or was it track 7? Released May of this year, Steve Bertrand’s debut solo album is welcomed with open arms into the world of uninteresting singer/songwriters. There’s not much differentiation from song to song. If you didn’t notice the few second pause between each track, you might not notice a song change at all. Each melody threatens to become a catchy, pop/rock ballad, (because the world doesn’t have enough of those) but not one song on the album reaches an apex. Instead, the entirety consists of every overused hook you’ve heard strung together in a way that will make you annoyed even before you’ve even had the chance to be bored with the cliché-ness of the music itself.
There are a couple of upbeat songs on the disc, but for the most part you’re doomed to listening to almost an hour’s worth of the same slow-tempo song with worn out lyrics. Musically, it’s unimpressive. He uses harmonies that caught my attention once or twice, but only for long enough for me to realize that was as much as the song was going to do. Put simply, this isn’t an album of any special worth. Thanks for spilling your guts, but I’m not sure anybody is going to be interested.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.