4 of 5 thought this review was well written
Can you name any classic albums made in 1997? Most people would answer with OK Computer by Radiohead. But what about Everclear’s So Much For The Afterglow? This is a true 90’s classic that has been slightly overlooked. It sold well, a lot better than anything the band has ever done, and had a good amount of airplay from its singles.
Art Alexakis: vocals, guitar
Craig Montoya: bass, vocals
Greg Eklund: drums, vocals
So most people remember the hit singles, most of which have not stood the test of time that well. Everything To Everyone is a great song, hands down. The pumping bass is quite catchy, and Art’s lyrics are perfect. “I think you are blind to the fact that the hand you hold is the hand that holds you down.” That line makes clear what the song is about. We all know people in our lives who act like this. The kind of people who try to be loved by all and completely popular. This song is an anthem for all of those who are annoyed by those people. The biggest hit from the album is probably I Will Buy You A New Life. What’s not to love about this song? It’s a love song, something relatively different for this band. Art’s lyrics are great here once again. “I hate those people who love to tell you money is the root of all that kills, they have never been poor they have never had the joy of a welfare Christmas.” Well said Art. It sounds like he’s singing to a girl and telling her all the great things he will do for her. After that, with so many great songs on here, it was just a matter of picking what would be the next hit. They went with Father Of Mine. It’s probably the most angsty of all the songs, in which Art tells the story of his terrible father and about how he was never there for him. “Sometimes you would send me a birthday card with a 5 dollar bill, I did not understand you then, and I guess I never will.” That basically sums up how he hates his father.
So what else makes the album good? There are so many other great tunes that could have easily made it on the radio if a single had been made. Normal Like You is a perfectly written song about a friend with depression. Amphetamine is a great punker about a girl similar to the characters in Sparkle And Fade. The outro has some beautiful violin which shows Everclear’s soft side. One Hit Wonder is my all time favorite. It refers to fans as “the monster” and the music industry as “the pretty machine.” There’s some great trumpet and trombone here, but crappy production, something rare for Everclear. Like A California King is another wonderful track. The main riff is a hybrid between a violin and an electric guitar. “I will burn you like teenage love. I will eat you just like meat. I will watch you burn like a California king.”
There are also a few other decent songs here. The title track is a wild “song about Susan” that begins with a silly Beach Boy-esque vocal intro that might make you wonder if Everclear can be taken seriously. Why I Don’t Belive In God is not necessarily an atheist song, more like a song about his nutsy mother, as he looks back into his childhood. They prove in that song how good they are in the genre of country rock, something they’ve done before (Heartspeark Dollarsign). They also do it in Sunflowers, a song all about Art’s daughter whom he’s sung about time and time again. In yet another song about another one of Art’s old girlfriends (you might think the subject matter would get annoying, but it doesn’t), White Men In Black Suits, Art sings about a poor black girl he fell in love with who plays in a band a strips for white men to earn money. The last song on the album is quite entertaining. Hating You For Christmas is just like the title says, spending the earth’s no. 1 holiday with a person you hate. The whole song is a shock after the serious Like A California King.
In case you’re wondering what the instrumentation on this album is like, I’ll tell you. It’s above decent. Greg Eklund’s fills are boring and very uncreative (hitting the snare 12 times usually). Craig Montoya is a decent bassist. Art Alexakis is an ok guitarist. He shines in basically two songs. The riff and solo for Father Of Mine are awesome. But the ultimate guitar crazed song is El Distorto De Melodica. The guitar playing is wicked. No words here, just laughing every now and then. The riff changes back in forth with solid drumming a nice bass playing. This song won a grammy for best instrumental rock song, and you can’t argue.
I think I would have to recommend this album to any fan of 90’s alt rock, as this is a classic of that genre. It’s one of my favorite albums, definitely Everclear’s best. If you want to get into this band buy this or the previous or latter album.
My Extremely Biased Fanboy Song Ratings
So Much For The Afterglow 4/5
Everything To Everyone 5/5
Ataraxia (Media Intro) NA
Normal Like You 5/5
I Will Buy You A New Life 5/5
Father Of Mine 5/5
One Hit Wonder 5/5
El Distorto De Melodica 5/5
White Men In Black Suits 4.5/5
Why I Don’t Believe In God 4/5
Like A California King 5/5
Hating You For Christmas 4/5