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Music / Senses Fail

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Senses Fail are a Post-Hardcore band from New Jersey formed in 2002. Their constant member and main songwriter is James "Buddy" Nielsen.

The band is known for their reflective, often personal lyrics, and their style of music fluctuating from mellow Emo Music to punctual violent Screamo, their music getting progressively heavier with each album.

Their latest album, If There Is Light It Will Find You, was released in 2018.


Tropes applying to Senses Fail:

  • Album Intro Track: "The Rapture", "Fireworks at Dawn" — both being slower tracks that serve as moodsetting.
  • Break-Up Song: "Calling All Cars", "Every Day Is a Struggle"; most of Life Is Not a Waiting Room.
  • Concept Album: Pull the Thorns From Your Heart is a concept album drawing on Buddhist philosophy and Buddy's personal introspections on the meaning of life and love.
    • Still Searching dealt with a young man having a Crisis of Faith, stress, anxiety, alcoholism, depression, and finally taking his own life.
  • Careful with That Axe: "The Irony of Dying on Your Birthday"
  • Cover Version: The band covered "Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies for Tony Hawk's American Wasteland, and "Salvation" by The Cranberries on Still Searching's deluxe version.
  • Crisis of Faith: "The Rapture"
  • Downer Ending: The protagonist of Still Searching commits suicide in "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues", and refuses spiritual help while dying and finally passes in "The Priest and The Matador".
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  • Distressed Dude: Buddy Nielsen is bound and gagged in the video to "Calling All Cars"
  • Dr. Feelgood: Still Searching's title track tells of a doctor who prescribes based on this, based on Buddy's true experiences.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues" is a deconstruction of this trope. The protagonist of the album drinks to forget his pain and commits suicide after a final night of binging rather than have his problems fade.
  • Driven to Suicide: The last half of Still Searching. Rather than forgetting any of his pain from his breakup or parental issues by binge drinking and having copious sex, the protagonist has a further downward spiral and kills himself.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The band's first EP, From the Depths of Dreams, is much closer to straightforward Emo thematically than the band's later, Thursday-like literary and philosophical lyricism.
  • Freudian Excuse: "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues" has the protagonist of the album taking his own life after reflecting on his parental issues among other thing.
    • "Family Tradition" is Buddy's anger at his father manifested in a song, and "Coward" further details Buddy's pain.
  • Grief Song: "Death Bed" and "In Your Absence" from the band's acoustic EP, the latter song dealing with Buddy's wife's Multiple Sclerosis and miscarriage.
  • I Am the Band: Lead singer Buddy Nielsen is the only constant member.
  • Interspecies Romance: The video for "Mi Amor" has one between an attractive redhead and....a stuffed panda.
  • Keet: Buddy Nielsen onstage is goofy, energetic and carefree.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Their early stuff is a 2-6, whereas both Renacer and Pull the Thorns From Your Heart are 8-9.
  • Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Their earlier albums go from 6-9, Renacer and Pull the Thorns From Your Heart go down a level to 4-6. Their acoustic EP takes it back up to 8 with the songs about Buddy's encounters with death in his life.
  • Murder-Suicide: The ending of "Choke on This" could be interpreted this way.
  • New Sound Album: "Pull the Thorns From Your Heart" and Renacer mixes the band's Post-Hardcore earlier sound with a heavy Metalcore influence.
    • Still Searching featured far less screaming than their first record, and more progressive, experimental arrangements.
    • The Fire brought in a new lineup and along with their Waves EP, went in a more aggressive direction musically.
    • If There Is Light, It Will Find You mostly abandons the Metalcore elements in favor of the band's early sound.
  • Rearrange the Song: "Lost and Found" and "Family Tradition" on the acoustic EP In Your Absence. The latter removes some lyrics, and in the process changes the meaning of the song to be more forgiving.
  • Revolving Door Band: Buddy Nielsen is the only consistent band member.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: When Heath Saraceno and Garrett Zablocki aren't doing back-up.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Unconventional example in that Heath Saraceno tended to sing deeper and louder backing vocals when he sang with the band live, straight example with the band's first bassist Mike Gilta, most of the harsher short screams on Let It Enfold You are him.
  • Shout-Out: "Buried A Lie" was inspired by Buddy watching CSI and Law & Order frequently.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues" transitions into the sad guitar-and-percussion-heavy instrumental "Negative Space", which segues into "The Priest and The Matador".
  • Silly Love Songs: "Jets to Peru" might be the band's only straight example of a love song. Most of their other love-related songs have violent twists.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The subject of "You're Cute When You Scream".
  • Vocal Tag Team: When the band's first guitarist Heath Saraceno was in the band, this was a frequent occurrence; especially live, with the vocal layering using Heath Saraceno to harmonize live. Their current bassist fulfills this role in his absence.

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