All the Pain Money Can Buy



by Bartender EMERITUS
January 16th, 2005 | 10 replies

Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Many of the Americans amongst you probably know Fastball, most likely as a one-hit wonder type of band from the late 90s. I'm not so sure if others will recognise them; I know I bought this album because I was an impressionable young teen on holiday in Florida, and they were getting a lot of airplay at the time. I often credit this as being the first CD I bought that was in any way approaching rock, so in a way I owe it a lot - it made me aware that there were more than five or six bands in the world, and encouraged me to seek out new music (something which I haven't stopped doing since, really) - and I suppose it's odd that I still like it. I'll try to be objective, though, despite my personal affection toward it.

Without mincing any words, this is more or less a guitar pop album (i.e. pop songs played with guitar). I tend to distinguish between guitar pop and soft rock by saying that guitar pop is basically written primarily with poppiness in mind. It's a ridiculously blurry line, and you can take what you want from it. As long as you've got a ballpark idea of what they're playing, we're cool.

Anyway, as you probably guessed from that, there's nothing technically stellar here (and no swearing, as if that makes a difference). However, it doesn't give the impression of being a cynically manufactured album - most of the tracks have something of a darker side or a curveball to throw you, musically or lyrically (for example, The Way, the big hit single of the album, has a good solo, and most of the songs have a surprisingly good bass performance for what is essentially a poppy album). With the exception of Sweetwater, Texas, which isn't very good anyway, there's a lack of customary ballads, which is refreshing, and to my mind another indicator that this album wasn't pieced together with major commercial success in mind. What's even more refreshing is that they manage slower tracks without simply making them ballads – Slow Drag is one of my favourite songs here.

The dual vocalists, although they don't sing together on any tracks, instead electing to take lead on some tracks and not on others, are another oddity, reminiscent (to me) of Oasis. It goes without saying that all of the songs here are nicely infectious, though I must admit that I find it hard to distinguish how infectious now, when practically every note is set deeply in my mind anyway.

Basically, this is 40-odd minutes of really good poppy rock, though in my opinion, the album does get worse as it goes on - the first seven tracks are excellent, the following three are good, and the last one isn't really very good at all. I've no idea of the general opinion regarding this album (in critical/historical terms), though I imagine it's not very high; I can't see this being thought of as particularly important, or anything like that. I do know that it was an important album (a turning point) for me (and I'm fairly sure it stole Spikey's heart as well), and I think that the mere fact that I still like it now, more than six years later, with my tastes ranging from extreme metal to jazz, says something about it's quality as such an album. Then again, maybe it is actually crap, and I've just spent this review desperately trying to find justification for my liking it.

With that in mind, I'm torn as to what to rate this. Is it 2/5 rubbish, which I just happen to have great affection for? Or is it actually a good album, for what it is?

3.8/5 with the thinking "Screw it, it's my review."

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user ratings (22)

Comments:Add a Comment 
November 11th 2004


I liked this cd as well.

November 11th 2004


I had The Way stuck in my head for two years, but I never bought this album. Good Review, although I never expected to see it reviewed.

March 12th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5


June 26th 2006


The Way and Out Of My Head are awesome 90's classics. I think this band formed from members who were kicked out of the Wallflowers.

July 5th 2009



August 8th 2012


great reveiw mate.

October 16th 2012


The Way and Out of My Head are still in regular rotation for me.

November 10th 2012


i loved this album growing up

Staff Reviewer
March 13th 2013


Greatest album cover of all time

June 29th 2014


heard The Way today on the radio and it brought the memories back, so many feels

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