Okay, I really wanted to like this record, I really did.
Much to my chagrin, I really am a fan of this band. Art Alexakis
has a signature voice even if you've never heard the
song, you know who's singingand I like the Everclear
sound. I know it's not "cool" to say that if you're
an indy purist. Well, I'm not an indy purist, by any stretch
of the imagination. In fact, I've defended this band countless
times to my friends (who all seem to have a pretty myopic
view of music in general). However, with Songs From an American
Movie, Everclear lost me.
In their attempt to spread their proverbial creative wings,
the band has succeeded only in releasing the most mediocre
record in their career. Initially, this was intended to be
an Art Alexakis solo projectand it probably should've
stayed that way.
Don't get me wrong, it's got some shinning moments, (the
Public Enemy loop at the beginning of "Here We Go Again"
and the loop of "Mr. Big Stuff" at the beginning
of "AM radio" are nice distractions) but they are
to few to salvage this exercise in mediocrity. There are a
few songs that are definitive Everclear (Unemployed Boyfriend,
Otis Redding) but really how many times can you play the same
chords, sing the plight of the same underdog, and talk about
how much your life doesn't make sense?! Alexakis makes mention
several times through the record, of how his daughter is the
only thing that makes him smile (Songs From An American Movie,
Wonderful) and how he's not around much for her. After this
record, he may be around quite a bit morearound home
Purely from a musical standpoint, Everclear has proven they
have depth, but who needs depth when you can rock? Ever present
on this record are the newfound Beach Boy-esque layered haramonies
from So Much For The Afterglow, but gone are the guts.
More than one of the songs on this record sounds familiarit
should...it's still the same three chords. The only thing
that is 'ever clear' here is that my friends were right.
1. Song from an American Movie, Pt. 1
2. Here We Go Again
3. A.M. Radio
4. Brown Eyed Girl
5. Learning How to Smile
6. The Honeymoon Song
7. Now That It's Over
8. Thrift Store Chair
9. Otis Redding
10. Unemployed Boyfriend
12. Annabella's Song