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Everclear Album - First Impressions
2012
unknownj
Slowmotion Daydream - The Review

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People
The opening track on the album starts off similar, in my opinion, to Father of Mine... But it quickly establishes itself as a strong song in its own right, leaving just a faint reminder of its ancestor. It's quite upbeat, which rather sets the tone for the whole album, with traditional Everclear lyrics...

2. Blackjack
One of the faster paced songs from the album, with a strong sense of momentum - every line seems to be pulled into place by the line before it, as if inevitable. You simply couldn't have a break to silence - there's a real sense that this is a song that wouldn't allow a vacuum. There's some nifty drumming which keeps the rhythm very strong, and the whole song is very cohesive..

3. I Want to Die a Beautiful Death
It starts off a little like My Sexual Life, and kinda turns into Slide... It has Slide's strong rhythm, although the vocals are totally dissimilar. The guitar riff is also quite different, and this strikes me as a song which would involve a lot of jumping around when performed live...

4. Volvo Driving Soccer Mom
The weakest song on the whole album, and largely responsible for my fear that this album would suck. The first time I heard this song, I utterly despaired at the idea that this is what Everclear had become. Fortunately, I have a Skip Forward button, and I intend to use it ;o) ... Okay, it's not that bad. But it's still rather generic and boring.

5. Science Fiction
Reminds me of Out Of My Depth, as well as little hints of My Sexual Life... Slow acoustic song, which is very much like Art's solo works - very pretty, heartfelt, but with a more uplifting message than the style would suggest - "life is always getting better, so don't let go"

6. New Blue Champion
Quite a funky song, by Everclear standards. But it all works in the end, and follows Science Fiction well - it doesn't sound too out of place, because it follows a different style of song. If it was between two traditional Everclear tracks, it might sound a bit odd, but this album has been put together well.

7. TV Show
The opening lead sounds quite familiar, but in a pretty way... Eb B Eb B E B Eb C# B.. Played around the 12th fret on the highest two strings. I like it lots... It sounds very traditionally Everclear, with the appropriate "woah"s. Seems vastly improved from the version I downloaded a few months ago...

8. Chrysanthemum
Imagine Short Blonde Hair, only slow, soft acoustic... The melodic instrumental in the background sounds really nice, but the song should really go into a heavy rock bit, like So Much for the Afterglow does... However, in its defence, it does lead nicely into the next song - it's just a shame that that starts too slowly for the effect to properly work.

9. Sunshine (The Acid Summer)
Reminds me quite a lot of Everything to Everyone at the start, also kinda similar to Sunflowers. It has a good momentum behind it... Nice and melodic, I like it...

10. A Beautiful Life
Sounds very un-Everclear at the start... Light percussion, strings, but unmistakeable lyrical format and vocals. Very relaxed and laid back - the music doesn't forcibly carry the song along at first, until the guitars come in and give it a little more rhythmic strength... By the time it gets to the second chorus, the song is in full swing, and reminds me a lot of Learning How To Smile, in a lot of very good ways.

11. The New York Times
The start sounds so like Short Blonde Hair - you can sing the lyrics over the top, and the words "to me" and "living in a" even overlap. Thankfully the song then deviates from its predecessor, otherwise I might have to scream "copy", and takes its own route, which actually sounds really good. Great use of backing vocals to give it a more full sound... The chorus at times sounds like something, I'm not sure what, but whatever it is, I love it :o)

12. White Noise (bonus track)
Starting off with a Your Genius Hands / Heroin Girl type intro, the song starts off nice and raw, and bears similarities to The Swing, a track off some soundtrack or other (Scream 2 or something)... It's a real gem - very rocking... A great end to a great album :o)

Overall
The entire album sounds like a rehash of Volume 1, the lighter sides of Volume 2, and So Much for the Afterglow. But that's only in general tone - I keep spotting melodies which seem similar, lyrics which seem to correspond and stuff... The overall effect is not one of copying, but merely reflection on the older material. Songs like A Beautiful Life serve to remind me of how I felt when I first heard Learning How To Smile. It's all very good - it feels like this album is the child of all Everclear's previous works, inheriting a similar feel to all of them at some point.

I'm initially very impressed :o)

Actually, scratch that. I instantly love so many songs on this album. I can't remember the last time I heard an album that I liked from the start quite this much. It's been well over a year.

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yeah it's great stuff. i really dig it. i was afraid it would suck too because "Volvo driving soccer mom" was a little too "Learning how to smile" for me. but it turned out for the best. and... some of the song (cough blackjack cough) made me think "wow.. it's almost like sparkle and fade." i've been waiting for that feeling from them again since sparkle and fade.

(heart):Jess http://smash.crushdplastik.net

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