Review: Beauty School Dropout Debut “Assassin” Via Verswire

PHOTO CREDIT: TORREY WEST

Californian cowboy pirates Beauty School Dropout have just dropped your newest addiction in the form of their blistering new single “Assassin.”

“Assassin” drags you in from the first listen—and proves to be just as enjoyable on the fiftieth—scratching a groove into your brain. The star of the track is Cole Hutzler’s vocals, reinforced with a blaze of drums and guitar. Hutzler’s howl of the lyrics—composed entirely of ear-wormy rhymes that make screaming along easy— grows in intensity and rawness with each verse until the explosive wail of an ending. While their 2021 EP Boys Do Cry was wrapped in candy-like pop, it teased harder elements with each track—with “Assassin,” Beauty School Dropout go all the way with emo rock.

The music video depicts Beauty School Dropout performing at a wild party, smashing glasses and swinging from the ceiling against a backdrop of graffiti. Meanwhile, the band also suffers through their Joker moment in the bathroom, with lyrics revealing a sadomasochistic disaster of a relationship incited their turmoil. The color palette, mutinous-ness, and fashion are reminiscent of the iconic video for My Chemical Romance’s “Desolation Row.” The band wears standard fare for rock ‘n’ roll rebels— leather, chains, and safety pins, plus Hutzler suggestively sporting kiss marks on his collar; the drip also includes Euphoria-inspired glitter makeup, Harry Styles-esque pearls/black lace, and Robert Smith-like lipstick on bassist Brent Burdett.

The video features cameos from Paris Jackson, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182. Jackson serves as the other half of a love going down in flames, while Wentz alludes to his double-platinum single “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” as he knocks back cocktails with BSD guitarist Bardo. Hoppus takes on the role of the video’s villain, berating Hutzler in the bathroom while throwing toilet paper at him.

The ending also contains a Marvel movie-esque post-credits Easter egg, featuring Hoppus taking a leak as Hutzler is slumped on the bathroom floor with fury and angst burning in his eyes. This motif of urine is fitting for Beauty School Dropout—seconds after we were introduced, they passed along the sage advice that if we ever found ourselves on tour, we should buy Core brand water bottles as the “hole size is adequate” to expel liquid into.  

“Assassin” marks Beauty School Dropout’s debut via Verswire, a “VC-like artist development incubator” set to revolutionize the world of music by creating a flourishing bionetwork where artists can thrive rather than an industrial machine where they’re taken advantage of. The project was created by Veeps founder Sherry Saeedi alongside Mark Hoppus and veteran music manager Nick Lippman; Pete Wentz serves as strategic advisor. Verswire officially launches today (May 25th), with Beauty School Dropout as their first-ever act.

Verswire founding team Mark Hoppus, Sherry Saeedi, Nick Lippman, and strategic advisor Pete Wentz. Photo Credit: Brian Doherty

While major labels exploiting artists via bad deals is nothing new, the evolution of streaming and unprecedented disruption of live performances that occurred during the pandemic are. Artists have turned to things like NFTs, Patreon, or TikTok’s Creator Fund; however, these aren’t real solutions. These stopgaps can be fruitless and fickle; rooted in tech, they are subject to the whims of the ever-changing algorithms. When we interviewed Beauty School Dropout back in January, Hutzler told us that TikTok in particular is “the worst thing that’s ever happened to art, actually.” Burdett elaborated, “You pop on it, and now you’re a slave to popping on TikTok, because ‘Oh sick, now you’re only as good as the last thing that popped.’”

Label partners have been content to allow artists to rely on these quick fixes, continuing to line their pockets without updating a soon-to-be obsolete system. But this new era highlights the need for an innovative alternative to what hasn’t been working. In the words of Verswire founder Sherry Saeedi, “The countless tech solutions that allow artists to make extra money have merely been a bandaid, while no one has fixed the root of the problem: that unfavorable deals do not allow artists to make money or own their music.” Verswire seeks to solve this by investing in “every act’s long-term growth and success” while allowing artists to retain control over the music they create.

Born into a global pandemic that brought the music industry to its knees, Beauty School Dropout understand the need for change more than most, making them the perfect debut for Verswire’s launch. “Assassin” showcases what Verswire can help artists achieve via supplying every tool they could ever need to level up. The effects of the “A-list mentorship” Verswire provides are palpable in the single—the straightforward cadence of the lyrics calls to mind Blink-182, while the bridge possesses cathedral-sized melodies found in Fall Out Boy. But rather than merely recycling sounds from the past, Beauty School Dropout meld these elements with modern sonic influences like Juice Wrld to create a fresh new fusion.

Quick-witted, charming, visionary, and intuitive, Beauty School Dropout stand apart as something special. Back in January, we wrote that “As music culture evolves with the new wave of pop punk and emo scenes…BSD are opening the floodgates.” Now that they’re backed by the biggest superpowers in the game of disrupting the industry, Beauty School Dropout are ready to spearhead a surge of music that defines the renegades of a generation.

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