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This is the second best Everclear album and my absolute favorite. This is there grungiest album and has amazing lyrics, just read them in the booklet. Every song is amazing and the album is set up geniusly. It may not be the best recording production, but that raw, staticky soundis awesome. Some people will tell you to buy their best album, Sparkle And Fade, first, but I highly recommend you get this one first. This is the most anti-sell-out album I've ever heard, and it's coming from a band that sold out big time later. If you get this first, it will make Sparkle And Fade sound a lot better, even if it's great already. Here is a song-by-song analysis in my opinion:
Your Genius Hands: A great first track. It starts off the album with a bit of distortion and then an awesome guitar line. "I have seen you shake, I know what it cost you, I have heard your work, I am big on your noise..." I never got a grip on exactly what this is about, but it might be about a guitarist he admires, "I long to shake your genius hands." *highlight*
Sick And Tired: This is a deep, distorted song about possibly suicide... and the end is really cool.
The Laughing World: This song is grinding and wicked. The riff sounds like something going forward then suddenly pulling back. Another confusing song lyrically ("like a burning car in the sun, we flame for all in plain view"), but still a mild headbanger that rocks (if your the sorta person who does that to punk music). *highlight*
Fire Maple Song: This is the only song on the greatest hits album, and it's about Art's brother dying, and Alexakis sings about this true experience with passionate lyrics. It's soft and beautiful, but has Art almost screaming "I...can't...smile!" during the chorus. The first part of the song is about memories of the brothers spending time together under a maple tree as kids, with lyrics like "listen to grandma sing those country songs, she said the maple turns to fire every four years, we'd lay under the tree and watch the autumn come around," while near the end you hear "Now we're so far away, call eachother once a year, just around the holidays...I can't believe this letter that says you died, I think I'll go back to the house in North Carolina and lay in the backyard, get drunk and let the leaves just bury me..." A great song. *highlight*
Pennsylvania Is...: This song is about the evils of the anti-abortion laws. All states except New York used to have these laws, and this song is specifically about...you guessed it...Pennsylvania. And if you're wondering where there's ... at the end of the, the word missing is "wrong!", which is yelled at the end of the song. It's one of the most meaningful songs on the album. *highlight*
Nervous And Weird: A loud song about a deteriorating relationship. Alexakis uses this theme commonly in many future songs, but this song belongs on this album due to it's unique sound. Nevertheless another great song.
Malevolent: Another meaningful song, about a guy who hits his girlfriend when she tries to break up with him.
Sparkle: This song is amazing. It's one of those songs where it's hard to tell who it's talking about...some claim it's about Kurt Cobain, which is cool, but I have another theory. First of all, the song is clearly about a sell-out musician that Art is displaying his dissapointment with. The person is described as bleached blonde hair and plaid clothes, etc, obviously talking about a blonde grunge junkie. It could be about Kurt becoming something that Art didn't like, but what did Art do later? Doesn't he now have bleach blonde hair? Did he not sell out? I think this song could be about Art talking to his future self, talking about his fear that he will become this sort of person. As a friend said to me about this, sometimes our biggest fears come true. Anyway, just a theory. This song starts off with what I think of as a shaky chord. This also happens later in the song, except it's cooler because Art yells this time. *highlight*
Trust Fund: A very distorted song. I believe this was a Colorfinger song. Anyway, pure grunge.
Loser Makes Good: ANOTHER very meaningful song, about a homeless man criticizing, complaining, but ultimately, as in the title, making good with his words. *highlight*
Invisible: My favorite song on the whole album, about having AIDS. There isn't one line of lyrics in the song that isn't absolutely stunning: "I just can't believe that AIDS is just some act of god...no one will reach for me, no one will touch my skin...I will accept my pain, I don't deserve to die like this, no one deserves to die like this...sometimes I get so mad, I just want to break the world...I will not be denied, I will not be ignored, I'm real I won't go away, I am not invisible anymore..." *highlight*
Evergleam: Probably my favorite last track on all their albums, this is a happy, upbeat summary to a very emotional album. It always puts me in a good mood. So concludes a grunge masterpiece by my favorite band. *highlight*
Buy this album! :-)