Album review: new (deaf) artist Sean Forbes’s “Perfect Imperfection”

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by Kaitlyn McCurdy

Perfect Imperfection is the debut album of deaf artist Sean Forbes. You read that right. Deaf. I always really like stories of people with disabilities overcoming obstacles to achieve their dreams, and I love finding new music. Therefore, I’m putting high expectations on this, which is probably stupid.

It is. After listening to all 14 songs, my mind is a jumble of “whywhywhyWHYwhywhywhyWHY” and “never again.” But settle back and read, my dear music lover (do these things even get read?).

I apologize in advance if this review seems super harsh.

“We Interrupt this Program” is the album’s opener, and the beat is pretty catchy. However, that’s really the only thing that captured my attention. The lyrics are pretty plain and and there’s nothing gasp worthy. Here’s hoping this isn’t how the rest of the album goes.

The next track, “I’m Deaf,” seems to be Forbes’s most well-known track, but again it’s basic. The beat isn’t even great this time around. It sounds like something a teenager put together in Garage Band on their new Macbook. Meh.

“Crazy About You” is full of indistinguishable lyrics, including  “looking at you through your veil” which I originally heard as “looking at you through your bedroom.” I don’t know how I messed that up that badly. I spent ten minutes trying to figure out the lyric about a bed or bedroom or veil or whatever and then Forbes was whispering “spit it out” which I first heard as “spread it out” and I’m kind of traumatized. The backup singers don’t help much either.

The next track, “Do You Know (What I Mean),” is repetitive (the chorus goes “do you know what I mean? / do you know what I mean? sometimes you’ve gotta let it out / sometimes you’ve just got to scream” twice). The beat was fairly basic again, nothing special here.

“Chill Out Man (Interlude)” is way too long for my taste. I guess Justin Timberlake spoiled me with all his fantastic interludes and preludes on FutureSex/LoveSounds to the point where all others are inferior to me. Sorry.

I was hoping “Watch These Hands” would be a nice piece, but really it’s just plain (that seems to be a trend here). The lines “watch / watch / watch these hands / they can dance / they can sing” make up the  headache-inducing chorus. I’m kind of itching for the end of this album.

In “Def Deaf Girls,” Forbes sings about the greatness of deaf girls. Awesome, if only the lyrics were poetic and not just “something about them def deaf girls” repeated a lot. Next.

“Mood Swings” is okay, I guess. Well, it is until the chorus kicks in. Some lyrics actually made me smile, like “I’m Dr. Jekyll / then I’m Mr. Hyde / and I’m not even a Gemini.” So far, this is probably my favorite one the album, but it still maintains that “teenager on YouTube” quality to it, rather than an “almost 31 signed to a label” feel.

“Bob Dylan (Was the First Rapper)” just makes me want to cry in secondhand embarrassment. The beat is horrific, the lyrics are ridiculous. Everything is just bad. Like, really bad. Don’t even bother with this one.

The beginning to “Hammer” captured my attention, but lost it the second he opened his mouth. I’m to the point where finishing this album is a huge pain in the butt. I just want out. Even if the rest of this album was golden, “Hammer” would be terrible. It’s overly loud, the lyrics are nonsensical, and his rapping is pretty mediocre.

A chorus of backup singers open “The Maze.” That part is decent, but they can’t save the song. There’s only so many ways I can say “this is bad” in this review. I’m running out of ideas/wit here (did I even have wit? I think this album has killed my brain cells).

“Let’s Mambo” is an absolute joke. From trying to catch the traditional mambo beat to trying to put the emotions of the mambo in words, it’s just utterly terrible.

“Don’t Let Anything Hold You Back” is an okay end. It’s got an uplifting message, making it the first set of lyrics I actually liked from the album. Too bad it took so long to get here.

The bonus track, “Welcome (Interlude)” is actually a really catchy beat. Seriously, I know “save the best for last” is a thing, but it’s really frustrating that this is where all the decent stuff comes in. But, this bonus is nonetheless decent. Rather unnecessary, but decent.

In summary, this album sounds like it was put together by a 15 year old in their bedroom on a boring, hot summer day before being sold at their younger sister’s lemonade stand for 25 cents. I have no other thoughts on this album.

Thankfully, it’s over and I never have to touch it again.

But good on him for achieving his dream, since his bio says “music is in his blood, his cells; it’s just the way he is.” That’s nice.