Review Summary: An understated yet important album.
Styrofoam's Nothing's Lost is a historically signifigant if somewhat lackluster album. It
is also the Fourth studio project by Arne Van Petegem and by many it is considered to be his
breakthrough album. Eight years past the album's 2004 release I often wonder how much of a
breakthrough it really was. When finally nostalgia came over me in a wave I tracked down
this album on Vinyl, snagging a used and tattered copy for twenty dollars shipping out of
China. That was the Ebay listing, where as Amazon had one copy for two-hundred dollars. I
thought it strange, there was really no strong opinion on styrofoam out there. No one really
noticed this album.
The album's success no doubt was in part from Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard, playing
piano and featuring in the Postal Service influenced "Couches In Alleys". It seems a random
partnership but it's one of the things I believe lends to this album's signifigance as a
whole. Styrofoam seemed to always have his hands mixed up into the 3rd wave emo period,
remixing Jimmy Eat World's "Drugs Or Me", also released in 2004. It was a time in music that
I suppose I personally hold close because it was the music of my teenagehood, but that time
was so strong for music. Bands like Anberlin and Brand New were hitting their peak and
Something Corporate was still whining their way through every girl's window. I should state
right now that it certainly was not the best time in music, but I will say that it may have
held some of strongest feelings in it's sound. Though the 2nd wave emo of the ninties may
have been more consistent in it's offering, the mid-2000's truly nailed emotion in music.
Nothing's Lost followed suit, turning to a darker, more meloncholie tone. The synth-pop
stylings are given depth with comptetent song writing and melody work. Everything about the
album oozes of a rich and delecate mood, a sound for the world that was finally realizing
that the post millenium optimism was finally beginning to fade. Even the album cover took a
Jimmy Eat World inspired approach, depicting the concealed face of a tired young woman. It's
the face of someone who had to live with their mistakes because life wouldn't punish them.
The album ends with the eight minute finale "Make it Mine". This song is probably the
strongest on the album both lyrically and musically, a song about a lover left behind trying
to find a way back to the life lost. These long finale's are another staple, and my favorite
part of emo as a genre. "Make it Mine" truly falls along with the greats like "23" or
"Konstantine" or even "Fin".
Nothing's Lost isn't a perfect album, but then again, emo was never a perfect genre.
Within this album lies many valuable songs but it also has it's forgettable tracks. But I
always found that there were only ever a few good emo bands and a myraid of bad ones. This
is why I believe Styrofoam's Nothing's Lost is such an important album. It's a figure head,
standing as a firm representation of all that 2004 was, for the few that cared about it.