If I told you that Elliott Fullam was 17-years-old and just singlehandedly made the best indie rock album of the decade, would you believe me? You should. He did and it’s called “What’s Wrong.”
The album’s production is off the charts. His guitar skills are incredibly impressive. His voice rivals that of Elliott Smith, the only artist I can even compare to this dreamy album. It’s safe to say that Fullam blew my mind.
Fullam gained popularity on TikTok for his vinyl collection and went viral on YouTube for his music interviews. Yes, this kid has interviewed all your favorite alternative artists, from Keith Morris of Black Flag and Circle Jerks to Jay Weinberg of Slipknot. He already had an impressive resume before releasing his debut album “What’s Wrong.”
The album opens dreamily with “Dolonia,” jumping straight into driving lyrics and whimsical guitar. While I did have to pull up the lyrics while listening to the songs since his vocals are a bit soft, it made me sit down and focus on the musicality of every song on this album. The lyrics feel individual in the way that an organ does — sure it can still function out of its original body, but it feels much more natural when accompanied by its other organs.
“Half and Half” is the perfect depiction of what it’s like to be mentally ill yet medicated. It’s digestible and understandable because of its repetitive nature. It’s then followed by “You’ll See My Ghost,” which feels like it should accompany a dolly shot in the hit movie “Perks of Being a Wallflower.” The environment the song creates is a true testament to Fullam’s songwriting talent. “Won’t Go My Way” is also amazing. I genuinely forgot that Fullam wasn’t Smith reincarnated.
Weirdly enough, “I’m So Happy” is the saddest song on the album. Fullam sings like he has already lived a life of hard times. The pain is almost tangible. Once again, the lyrics feel more emphasized than repeated. There’s so much going on in the instrumental track that the lyrics melt into it, not unlike a marshmallow in hot chocolate.
The artistry on “Going Alone” is found within its simplicity. I am completely in awe of this kid’s talent. The same can be said for “Blend Into Walls.” That empty feeling of accepting one’s own uselessness is perfectly represented. The lyrics hurt because I could feel Fullam’s hurt through the music.
The title track could not have made me happier. If there’s one song to listen to from this album, it’s “What’s Wrong.” It’s the most perfect example of the aura and emotion of this album which I believe is how a title track should be.
As the final three tracks came around, I was ready for the album to end with a bang. Then, I remembered that Fullam is borrowing from a storied tradition of leaving the saddest songs last, just like Elliott Smith and Bright Eyes. “Shapeless,” “By the Train” and “Cruel World” absolutely killed me. I felt the emptiness of a teenage heart like never before. I realize how cheesy that sentence is, but this album transported me back to sophomore year of high school so fast. Fullam clearly learned a thing or two about how to portray depressing subjects from Smith and Connor Oberst of Bright Eyes.
If you’re looking for an album that teleports you into a barren apartment on an overcast day, check out “What’s Wrong” by Elliott Fullam. It is the perfect guide on how to be sad in a sonically pleasing way.