Nielsen can frame the situation as nobody caring about him when “he is down,” but frankly, what he and his band members had orchestrated and taken part in was not okay.
The Growler’s lead singer highlights the wrong elements of why he was cancelled in his new track
By CJ Sommerfeld, Staff Writer
Brooks Nielsen—better known as the lead singer of the now-cancelled band The Growlers, has recently released three new singles. Among them, exists a track titled “All that you’ll see is everything” which undoubtedly outlines how he has been coping with his 2020 cancellation. The tune’s undisguised lyrics operate as if being read directly out of Nielsen’s diary—but while they are raw, they do not showcase any charm, but instead, egocentrism.
Aside from the initiation of the Coronavirus, 2020 will forever be remembered as the year in which social injustices were brought to light—notably in the United States. Those signed to the independent record label Burger Records were a tornado of musicians who collapsed after a myriad of sexual misconduct allegations came forth. (L.A.-based shoegaze band Dayton Swim Club wrote a great track about this mass-cancellation of Burger Records artists.) One of the label’s most prominent bands The Growlers were some of the star players of these accusations; following which, the troupe was rightfully cancelled.
While these surf rock bandmembers essentially split following their cancellation, this did not stop co-founder Nielsen from continuing to make music. The first singles of his solo project were released in late 2021. One titled “All that you’ll see is everything” overtly ignores any wrongdoing on his end, and instead pouts about having lost social networks and adoration from the public, while repeatedly affirming his resiliency. “Nobody cares about me when I’m down / Especially me, so I get right back up / There ain’t no use in lying around / All that you’ll see is everything.”
Nielsen can frame the situation as nobody caring about him when “he is down,” but frankly, what he and his band members had orchestrated and taken part in was not okay. When a person harms another, there is a good reason why others separate themselves from the abuser. This natural aversion that people have to someone who has done something wrong is conducive to a good society as it acts as a sort of operant conditioning. Those who perform behaviours such as sexual assault—as was the case with Nielsen, are naturally punished by their peers. In the case of Nielsen, his fan base and social networks did not seem to stick around after everything blew up.
In theory, this undesirable consequence should be one piece of the puzzle that encourages Nielsen to not repeat the behaviours for which he was punished. But we will have to see about that—according to his new tune: “There ain’t no use in lying around”. His advice: “When it gets quiet come up for air / Don’t get upset that no friends are there.” He seems to be so caught up in pitying himself over losing his friends that he has lost sight of why they are gone.
Regardless of Nielsen being bummed that the public stopped caring about his music and that no one had come to his aid during said time, what has been completely brushed under the rug is any awareness of the harm which he, his ex-band members and his ex-label caused a multitude of girls and women. And at its roots, that he did something wrong. The track’s spotlight shines on him—how the repercussions of his actions negatively affected him, and how he is rebounding, leaving the source and origin of all this uproar, in the shade.
It is tasteless and lacking in judgement for Nielsen to emerge back into the public with a song victimizing himself without a drop of admission for the actual victims or acknowledgement that he had done something wrong. According to this track, pitying himself for having lost fans, friends and a record deal were the most paramount components of the sexual misconduct and orchestrated sexual assault events in which he had played key roles. Sorry Brooks Nielsen, regardless of your pity song I do not feel sorry for you, and I hope that others do not either.