Review Summary: Some truly amazing songs surrounded by some... Not so amazing songs...
Emotions are ***ed, aren't they? Hell, one minute you can be angry, the next sad. I guess it all depends on an event, but it seems that they control every aspect of your life. Do they not? If you're happy you will certainly do something that differs than if you're sad. Yup, I think of this stuff when listening to all of the different styles of music out there. All music conveys an emotion, this is obvious. If it doesn't? Well then someone is doing something wrong...
Now, I'm sure you're wondering "Why is this asshole rambling about the obvious? Talk about the music!" Well I'm gettin' there. I only mention this because this album is really something special. Just look at how many tracks there are. Yup, 23 songs on one CD. Each song sounding similar yet increasingly different from the next. This album has extreme amounts of diversity. What possessed Lou Barlow of Sebadoh to do such a thing? Emotions, to put it simply. Now I'm not trying to say I knew what he was going through his head at the time, but I'm sure he wasn't pleased about leaving Dinosaur Jr. How could you be? Anyways, his unhappy and agreesive thoughts pour out of him to create Sebadoh's legendary "III". Acoustic, pretty, disgusting, stupid, folky, funny, trippy, pointless, annoying, loud, angry, hateful, beautiful, lo-fi and heavy are just a few ways to describe this album. Yeah. This album is ***ed...
Anyways, "III" is all over the place. It is hit or miss if I've ever seen it. One song can be so perfectly put together and composed while the very next is just the exact opposite. But I'm sure that's opinion. The opening 7 tracks are amazing. Breathtakingly good, if you will. It immediately jumps into indie riff heaven with jangly chords that bounce around to get all the hipsters spittting out their pabst in astonishment. The vocals are delivered well in a low, calm voice. The lyrics in the opener along with the entire LP are very nice. "The Freed Pig"'s lyrics seem to lash out at someone in an ironic matter. A lot of the lyrics here are ironic, so put on your thick rimmed glasses for the duration of the album. Track 2 is an up-tempo instrumental to keep the flow. Track 3, "Total Peace" may be the finest song on the album. It's the first hint at emotion switching and diversity (Get used to this). Such powerful lyrics brouught to life by Lou's painful and hurting voice. He sounds almost self loathing here as he criticises himself. The acoustic guitars build and build until an epic climax of sorts washes over the lo-fi mess and in comes a calming guitar piece to end the calamity and lead the song out. Excellent. The next few songs float effortlessy and are extremely enjoyable. That is until you hit track 8...
Perverted World is a hint towards the abyss of messy and misguided lo-fi folk that's to come. Perverteed World is actually a real nice short track though, as it's politley guided by a nice melody and progression. You don't truly see the Annoying side of this album until the next song. Wonderful! Wonderful! is a song that is just...just average. It kills the flow of the album. Not to mention that the lyircs are generic and predictable, but he may have planned that. Instruments that lazily drone on for three minutes truly kill the song's potential. There is a solo thrown in for good measure but even that fails. Oh well, better luck next track, right? Right! Limb By Limb is another excellent indie track. Anger and angst are showcased here with the disgustingly distorted guitars and bass. Awesome lyrics and vocals that are belted out with hate and visible emotion. And with this song, life and hope are brought back to the album. But the next 2 tracks are completely pointless. From the lazy experimental track "Smoke a Bowl" to the silly "Black Haired Girl". No, these tracks bring about unwanted change and completely screw the progression of the album. The experimentaion fails here, and it's not the only time it does. Listen to Primus and The Melvins more before attempting this again.
The album continues down this path of experimental lo-fi folk-ish stuff, stopping occasionally for catchy licks and memorable moments. Renaissance Man and God Told Me keep the album bearable as it descends into the depths of sloppy indie folk. Luckily the clever lyrics never leave the songs. That's the only thing that keeps me listening to some of these tracks. Holy Picture is a pleasant track with its flanged guitars and jumpy bassline. Really nice song although it could have been put somewhere much better. No Different is another Folk song. But this song is different. It has direction. The acoustics drive the song behind the steady percussion and amazing melodies of the vocals. Moving lyrics of pain and sadness bring the song to the second last track, Which is yet another acoustic one. But to your enjoyment, it is a well thought out beautiful peice of work. Instruments that were abscent the entire album make their way into this epic song of sorrow. I think every song could have been capable of this quality if he really just tried. A lot of the poorer songs here sound like he just thre them together just to have 23 songs on an album as if it would somehow help. But I believe that's what killed the album. If only there were about 14-17 great songs here... Oh well. Track 23 isn't very good at all. It follows the exact same pattern as all the the other aggressive indie songs on this album but this time it's more aggressive and edgy but it's drawn out for 7 pointless minutes. Yay. Why couldn't he just end the album on Spoiled? Why?
When all is said and done, this is a very good album. It may not live up to the acclaim it receives, but hell. Who cares? It's still an enjoyable listen with ridiculous twists and turns after each song, for better or for worse. It certainly makes for an interesting listen and increases its replay value. It doesn't feel a bit dated either, most songs remain fresh and still sound great today. Overrated? Maybe. But great nonetheless. Sebadoh's "III" is one hell of a record. I suggest listening to this as soon as you can. And as soon as you've finished it, pick up their other album "Bakesale". I find it to be much better. But, that's just me.
-Tons of Diversity
-Excellent lyrics, riffs, musicianship
- Very Lo-fi
-Tons of Diversity
-Feels very lazy at times.
Top Tracks: In No Order
-The Freed Pig
-Limb By Limb
Please comment. Criticism always welcome...