When we look back at the year 2020, it is safe to say that there will always be one thing that immediately jumps into everyone's head. The Coronavirus pandemic has affected almost everyone in some shape, and has caused some people great depression. It is safe to say that this year has challenged everyone in some way. We often forget to think about the people around us though and how they are dealing with the world as we know it. For The Big Easy vocalist and guitarist, Steven Bethomieux, this year has been a year of reflection and hurt, as he is navigating the world whilst experiencing a pretty eventful and significant breakup. Throughout the course of A Long Year we listen to a man who is broken, trying to mend and get on with his life whilst the world is throwing everything negative it can think of straight into his face. It's a celebration of struggle and the dark thoughts that can follow.
Despite the lyrics being heavily rooted in sadness, the instrumentation on this record sounds pretty jovial at times and reminds me a lot of mid 2000’s Alternative acts. The first track off of A Long Year, ‘It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt’, is a prime example of this. This is a very garagey DIY sounding recording, with immediately catchy and rough around the edges guitar work, and really feels like this album was recorded in a dingy basement with recording sessions being fueled by cheap beer and Red Bull. The recording of this album feels so rough which really adds to the overall feeling of loneliness that A Long Year engranes itself in. I feel like I am in this dingy basement with the band getting to experience a private concert.
The lyrics, again, are very heavily centered around heartbreak and all of the things that come with it. Bethomieux’s vocal performance feels so urgent, and feels like we are listening to a man who is creating this album as a form of therapy while he sings about regrets, addictions, and personal growth. IT feels like a very open and personal record that just about anyone could resonate with in some shape. Throughout the record, there are many instances of things that Bethomieux says some things that most people would try to keep to themselves, in the best way possible. Some of the most interesting songs become the tracks where he is singing directly to his ex because they feel the most vulnerable and the biggest artistic chance Bethomieux takes on this particular record. I am aware that singing to your ex is not a new concept in songwriting by any means, but The Big Easy gives new life to this concept.
A Long Year is a record that has an awful lot of heart put into it. ON repeated listens, you really start to get a sense of how impactful this relationship was for Berthomieux and while the songs do get pretty deep and honest, the music that graces it remains upbeat, showing that Steven knows that there is something to look forward to, and that even though you’re hurting now doesn’t necessarily mean your mindset needs to be dark clouds. A Long Year is a very charming album because the listener quickly realizes that this is Steven’s form of therapy, what he personally needs to do to overcome this heartbreak in his life.
Favorite Tracks: Rodeo, Basement, It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt
Least Favorite Tracks: Alone, How Do I Get You Alone?
Listen to the track 'It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt', off of The Big Easy's release, A Long Year, below: