What’s Wrong Review

3/5 Falcons

Kazden Ademi and James Rochberg

When Elliott Fullam recorded his debut album, What’s Wrong, in his bedroom, it was far from his first venture into performance. Coming from a unique and diverse professional background, Fullam has acted in a horror movie, voice acted in an animated series, and appeared on Comedy Central. He has also recorded interviews with a variety of performers—from Stranger Things’ actor Gaten Matarazzo to Metallica and Slayer members—and posted them to his sizable and rapidly growing internet following with nearly 90,000 Youtube subscribers and 211,000 TikTok followers. Fullam has generated significant buzz, especially on TikTok with the release of his album on September 2nd, 2022. Some are calling him a generational talent and labeling What’s Wrong as one of the best underground albums of the year.

What’s Wrong is a slowcore album, a genre that draws influence from indie rock featuring repeating slow-tempo instrumentals and sparse depressing lyrics. Notable slowcore artists include Duster, Low, and Redhouse.

Though the album has no glaring lows, it has no shining highs either.

We found What’s Wrong to be impressive as a debut album in a genre that is dominated by artists who have been making slowcore music for significantly longer than Fullam has been alive. Fullam executes the fundamentals well, with solid vocals and solid instrumentals. He is very successful at communicating an atmosphere of doom and gloom. Though the album has no glaring lows, it has no shining highs either. It was overall very repetitive, even for the slowcore genre. The songs have little identifying characteristics, and when listening to the album sequentially, the music blends together to the point where it begins to feel tedious. The lyrics and instrumentation follow the same structure in every single song, with no differentiation in instrumentation and little differentiation in the subject matter.

The album is brief and concise, running at 31 minutes and featuring eleven tracks. Songs on the album follow a repeating structure, with ghostly layered vocals over sparse guitar beats. The lyrics are simple and repeat hauntingly. Fullam uses dark imagery to bemoan his loneliness and hopelessness in the first portion of the album with lyrics like, “Embarrassment is what I am/Getting cold in the spring/You’ll see my ghost” on “You’ll See My Ghost.” In the middle portion of the album on the tracks “I’m so Happy” and “Going Alone” Fullam begins with seemingly more hopeful lyrics like “I’m so happy/I don’t feel sad/Birds sing their song”, before returning to singing about his loneliness. By the end of the album on the tracks “What’s Wrong” and “Cruel World,” Fulham shifts his subject matter minutely from loneliness and sadness to frustration and hopelessness.

Though Fullam shows undeniable potential and unprecedented maturity as a newcomer to the genre, the album leaves something to be desired both vocally and instrumentally. What’s Wrong is a great album to cultivate a mood and perhaps listen to in the background, but it lacks the spark to push it into the foreground.