Review Summary: Jimmie's best lineup delivers an excellent post-grunge album.
This album was brought to me when I was 12 by a friend. He said "Dude, my dad showed me this album he got in the 90s, he said it was extremely underrated". Before we plugged it in, I checked youtube, and pretty much nothing came up. The stuff that did come up had around 300 views, so yeah, it was very underrated. Once we plugged it in I couldn't believe my ears. I was listening to, in my opinion, the most underrated album of all time.
The album opens with hard rocker "Dropping Anchor". It has a great beat, and Jimmie's vocal style is especially impressive, with the catchy bridge of "I will not play my hand just yet". It then leads into the environment-aware "Outhouse". One of my personal favorites on this album. The lyrics are very profound and get the message across clearly (Wish I could play outside/but when the nighttime falls/toxic tides wash over everything here/in this insect ocean/vacuum up the sky/can you see clear?/waves of madness falling on the shores of discontent). I also like the backup vocals. I got more of a spacey feel from this track compared to "Dropping Anchor". The next track, "High", is most likely an anti-drug song, used in the style of 80's guitar riffs, 90's solos, and punked-out lyrics and vocal styling. This song also got the most radio airplay, and it was on MTV frequently in the 90's.
Next up is the grungy "Spiderweb", that starts out sounding almost like organized tuning, then erupts into what is the verse. The guitar riff is one of the catchiest on the album, with great drums complementing the song highly. The lyrics are, at least I think, about getting stuck in a bad relationship, with Jimmie mocking advise-givers in the chorus (Don't ever give up on yourself) by singing in an obvious blow to the head to them. The song ends with Jimmie ranting about breaking from a bad relationship (break free from spiderwebs that surround me) and don't just take it. "Blood" starts with a salsa-like riff, followed by a perfectly matching drum beat and vocals. The bass really shines on this track, and shows all he can do. "Blood" is another message song, this time about safe-sex. (Just how far is too far away/will you share you're blood with me/I'll share mine with you/after all the warning though that i'm not better still/I beg to kill/let's risk it here we go). This song is very groovy and one of the lighter-toned songs.
Following "Blood" comes a completely different song, "This Is Not Hell". Yes, another message song, about doubt of the existence of God or Heaven or Hell, but that maybe Hell is just a lifetime of Purgatory. The song can get a bit boring, but ol' Jimmie has you covered. in between the soft verses are loud, wordless choruses with raunchy guitars and drums. Then at the last minute is where the amazing lyrics come in. How can you not like a song with the lyrics like (I left my brain inside of my other head/the teachers test me/my father blessed me/the pigs arrest me/I get upset)? Although the last minute is awesome, the rest of the song weighs the song as a whole down, making it the weakest song on the album. Next up is "Milk", a classic punk rocker, with Jimmie singing about how you shouldn't care what people think you are, because we're all chickens. This song has one of my all-time favorite lines of all time, (I'm not talking to myself/i'm just the only one who's listening). I still laugh at the opening lyrics (Milk them chickens and pluck them cows/we are the ones that're gonna *** you now). Even though it clocks in longer than "This Is Not Hell", it seems much shorter. Also, I don't know if they turned up the bass on this track or something, but it is very noticeable and helps the song make it what it is.
"Hole" is a short, fast, and fun little track that shows all of the members' abilities to play their instruments (each instrument gets its own solo). My favorite solo out of all of them has to be the really cool bass one. It's very blues/jazz influenced and always catches me by surprise. Next track is "School Bus", a song about, you guessed it, a school bus. I actually want to know how Jimmie even came to writing this. Some could file this song as filler, but it's much too good for that. The guitar solo and the heavy riff are superb. As for the lyrics, well, he did the best he could for describing a school bus (Big, yellow, black stripes down the side/I ride you two times a day/black tires spinning to my grave). "Another Day" reminds me much of Bob Marley, especially the vocals. It's almost as if he's doing an impression. The rhythm section is, as always, awesome and the lyrics have more of an up-beat tone to them. They are pretty much saying "Today was bad, but there will always be another day to make good".
"Sitting With The Dog" I found to be repetitive a bit more generic rock. It's still good, just not much replay value. The final track, titled "When You Die You're Dead", is the political track on the record. Pretty much just Jimmie telling you his views on this nation and this world, and that 'loneliness is not contagious'. Some lyrics are very clever (People interests should come before business intrests/you can only screw yourself/self esteem is basic to success/and it'll be a long time before safe is sex). My favorite part of this song is at the end where he repeats the line (Living increases knowledge), until at the very end, he says (And when you die, you're dead).
So in all this is an excellent album for a hard rock/punk/grunge fan looking for something else to listen to. All of the band members are extremely talented and it all molds into this great record.