Blind Melon
Nico


4.0
excellent

Review

by mranti USER (21 Reviews)
March 13th, 2005 | 2 replies | 8,331 views


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist


1996

Blind Melon is:
Thomas Rogers Stevens - Guitar
Christopher Thorn - Guitar
Richard Shannon Hoon - Vocals, Guitar
Glen Graham - Drums
Brad Smith - Bass

Only 13 and a half weeks old when her father, Shannon Hoon, died of a cocaine overdose, Nico Blue was given a gift by her dad and his bandmates complied on a full length album appropriately titled “Nico". The album stretches Blind Melon’s career, serving as a last glimpse at Shannon’s life and the impact he left on family members and friends. After his death, the band took little time to plug Shannon’s vocals through the studio and compile a format of rarities, cutting the corners a bit considering a lot of the material wasn’t meant to be the final product. “Nico" is mostly an acoustic effort, so it is easy to imagine the personal and stripped down nature of it. For anyone who got into the band before hearing this album, it would be a treat to get the last bits of music Blind Melon left before their demise. For anyone shaky as to whether or not they should consider purchasing a Blind Melon album, “Nico" will not be a disappointment, but a testament to emotional and authentic bands that come few and far between.

1.) The Pusher
Taking a break from the road, Shannon, Christopher, and Rogers went up to Mammoth Mountain where they recorded their interpretation of Steppenwolf’s “The Pusher". Their cover includes an additional verse at the beginning and a slightly different chorus. The song is very reminiscent of Blind Melon’s folk roots, giving “Nico" an upbeat tempo but an overall relaxed atmosphere. (4/5)

2.) Hell
Continuing with the folk feel, “Hell" has almost silly humor but still keeping the intricate lyrical structure of the typical Blind Melon tune. As told by bandmates, Shannon would always sing from the heart every various thing that he would be mentally sorting out, and “Hell" is another example of how he would leave certain cryptic tones in his songs that seem too real after considering his death. (4/5)

3.) Soup
Stripped from the “Soup" album because it didn’t seem to carry the same feel as the rest of the songs, “Soup" is a collection of various ideas that Shannon had penned down, including an ambiguous reference to Kurt Cobain with the line, “I’ll pull the trigger and make it all go away". The song was written shortly before Blind Melon performed it at Woodstock ‘94, and stands as a hidden gem fans could only get off of the Woodstock live compilation before the studio release on “Nico". The song carries a guitar melody in the same range as Pearl Jam’s “Yellow Ledbetter" b-side, but with Blind Melon’s trademark sound. (4/5)

4.) No Rain (Ripped Away Version)
A haunting version of the ethereal sounding “No Rain" off of Blind Melon’s debut, the version on “Nico" was used as an intro to their hit song while being performed live. It is no surprise that Blind Melon used the intro for their Saturday Night Live show, giving the audience a bit more than what was expected. On “Nico", “No Rain" fades out to duel drums after its broody tempo, giving the listener a new perspective on Blind Melon’s signature song worthy of being recognized. (4/5)

5.) Soul One
Included on the four song demo tape “The Goodfoot Workshop" which got the band signed, “Soul One" is an acoustic song lyrically written by Brad Smith about a sweet but sour relationship. Once Rogers and Brad met Shannon, he put his voice to it and together birthed an incredible Blind Melon tune. Due to rifts in the band, the song never made it on their debut or their followup considering some felt it to be too sappy, but they all came around later and felt it suitable for a tribute video after Shannon’s passing. “Soul One" is a very well structured acoustic song surpassing the emotional feel of that of “Change" off of their debut LP, consisting of great lyrics and an overall strong structure. (5/5)

6.) John Sinclair
Possible of fitting right on the “Soup" album, which is no surprise considering it was recorded while “Soup" was being mixed and coincidentally during the last time Blind Melon was in the studio while Shannon Hoon was still alive, “John Sinclair" is about the once manager of MC5 who got busted for having two joints. The song is the first heavy song present on “Nico", setting a bit of a different pace. (3.5/5)

7.) All That I Need
“All That I Need", written right after Shannon finished reading the Albert Goldman book “Lives Of John Lennon", is just him singing and playing acoustic guitar. Although there isn’t much to it, “All That I Need" continues with the staple upbeat feel with darker lyrics. Despite that it sounds very good, it tends to blur in from the highlights of the “Nico" album. (3.5/5)

8.) Glitch
Tribal sounding including basically everyone on percussion and even including flute, “Glitch" stands out from the rest of the Blind Melon catalog. The song then fades out with acoustic guitar, putting the final cryptic sound to the track. (3.5/5)

9.) Life Ain’t So S*****
Recorded in a St. Louis hotel room, “Life Ain’t So S*****" is just Shannon singing and playing acoustic guitar with the passing cars in the background. This song makes it clear that there was a bright feel amongst the band, which makes the downfall seem all too out of place. (3.5/5)

10.) Swallowed
Another heavy track from “Nico", “Swallowed" seems to be about Shannon’s struggle with various demons, although the band states to of never got a clear meaning from him. “Swallowed" includes pounding drum work with a screaming solo nearing the end, proving nothing sort of a good addition. (4/5)

11.) Pull
“Pull" is extremely catchy and moving, including cello, classic guitar, and echoed vocals fading out towards the conclusion. With lyrics like, “I got the shades turned so the colors die", “Nico" seems to continue upward a bit at this point. (4/5)

12.) St. Andrew’s Hall
Being a demo of “St. Andrew’s Fall", the “Nico" version seems a bit more unpolished, but seems more energetic and emotional than the “Soup" version, which tends to happen after performing the same song over and over. (5/5)

13.) Letters From A Porcupine
As told by Christopher, Shannon would call giving little bits of song ideas he was working on. As in this case, Shannon Hoon left a message, resulting in this track being an answering machine recorded onto DAT. As many Blind Melon songs started, it’s Shannon singing while playing acoustic guitar. (3.5/5)

“Nico" includes enhanced material, which is a miniature version of the Video/DVD “Letters From A Porcupine" released at approximately the same time.

Along side of a fund formed to aid Nico Blue, part of the sales of the album go to MAP, which helps musicians recover from drug and alcohol abuse.



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user ratings (65)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
aslo
September 2nd 2006


12 Comments


i agree shannon hoons death was a great loss i loved the album as soon as i bought it especially glitch just chilling listening to all those drums going it really just has feeling in it to me

OneShoeJack
February 2nd 2007


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think that "All That I Need" is a much better song than you gave it credit for. It is one of my favorite songs now that I have listened through the CD. Very good review though.



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