Nada Surf
High/Low


3.0
good

Review

by Neoteric USER (86 Reviews)
October 1st, 2006 | 20 replies | 6,746 views


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An okay post-grunge record brought down by lack of originality.

Nada Surf are an alt-rock band from New York, formed in 1992, the band have had one major label record and the rest on an independent label. High/Low is the band's one major label debut, fueled with that one hit single and a few hidden gems among the album.

Of course, most of the people have only heard Popular, a teenage anthem. A song about popular people getting all the girls. Now, this would be one hell of a song if it wasn't for that they ripped off Weezer. The verses are spoken-word and contain a similar sounding riff throughout it and both of the choruses for the songs are a big sing-a-long. I do enjoy the song, but it has a lack of originality, the lyrics are interesting enough though. So with the "single" out the way, what else is there? The rest of the songs range from a nice grunge sound, a modern rock sound to a pop rock sound. This is definitely not an original record at all as it seems they are just built up from their influences without trying their own sound. Of course, debuts are usually like that though. The songs with the grunge sound to it are usually the best (of course, when I say grunge, it's usually just Nirvana). Sleep is a damn fine song if it weren't for the pointless sounding verse. The only thing that saves the song from being dire is a really catchy, hook-filled chorus. This is one of the rare occasions where the chorus really does save a song. Matthew Caw is an okay guitarist, not for the technicality but for his ability to make up catchy hooks and incorporate them into the songs sweetly, sadly some of the songs have really boring parts and then there would be a shine of brilliance in other parts.

I'm not saying all the songs are like this, Treehouse is a lovely pop rock track and keeps very consistent throughout. Sadly, this fine number is brought down again by lack of originality. The music sounds a Dinosaur Jr. song while the vocals sounds a bit like Rivers Cuomo. Of course, sorry to repeat myself but this is the band's debut album, but even debut albums usually contain a hint of a sound to come. I've not heard the band's other albums yet but I'm hoping they contain a more original sound. This album is only really going to be loved by alt. rock fans, people outside that field are only going to listen to Popular of course until they figure it's a total Weezer rip-off. It's not a completely bad album but the lack of originality bugs me, and when you listen to this album, you really just want to go listen to it's influences. While I do actually enjoy the album at parts, it really isn't an amazing record and some of it is just really uninspired and totally boring but I've got to admit, when the band hit the nail on the head, they really do just that. It depends more on if you base music on originality or catchy hooks, there is lots of nice hooks here and there but for the first, it's non-existent.



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user ratings (65)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Neoteric
October 1st 2006


3243 Comments


OMG SHORT REVIEW.

Anyway, I think I might have been a tiny bit harsh on the album but I was just being honest.

TurnTheOtherWay
October 1st 2006


459 Comments


I liked Popular (even if it was a Weezer rip-off), and I was considering getting this, but if it's just your standard Nirvana-inspired post-grunge I doubt I will.

Nice review, even if it's short. It goes straight to the point, which I like in reviews.This Message Edited On 10.01.06

Neoteric
October 1st 2006


3243 Comments


I liked Popular (even if it was a Weezer rip-off), and I was considering getting this, but if it's just your standard Nirvana-inspired post-grunge I doubt I will.

Nice review, even if it's short. It goes straight to the point, which I like in reviews.
Your first paragraph hit it on the head.

And yeah, I've been trying to do straight-forward short reviews and it's a style I'm gonna be working on.

The Jungler
October 1st 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I listened to this album but couldn't review it. Their sound on this record is really bland, later Nada Surf is much better. I saw them live at Lollapalooza as well.

Alright review.

Patrick
October 1st 2006


1891 Comments


I've never heard popular, but I've heard "Always Love" from their latest album and it kicks butt.

Patrick
October 1st 2006


1891 Comments


^Weezer, not Nirvana

Neoteric
October 2nd 2006


3243 Comments


Both.

The Jungler
October 2nd 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Its not all that much of a Rip-off but it is generic and dull. I suggest downloading Popular and getting one of their newer CDs.This Message Edited On 10.02.06

Neoteric
October 2nd 2006


3243 Comments


Yeah, download Popular, Sleep and Treehouse and then leave the album alone.

craigy2
October 29th 2006


551 Comments


How does the rest of the album compare (soundwise) to Popular?, because I heard that the other day and liked it a lot.

Jacaranda
October 29th 2006


684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really solid album very fun.

random
September 27th 2010


2261 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Very underrated.

BigHands
October 15th 2010


338 Comments


album rules.

IM THE PARTY STAR! IM POPULAR! I GOT MY OWN CAR! IM POPULAR! ILL NEVER GET CAUGHT! IM POPULAR!

WatchItExplode
October 15th 2010


3240 Comments


Let Go is the only album I really got into from these guys thoug obviously Popular ruled.

BigHands
October 15th 2010


338 Comments


Icebox is an underrated song on this.

cjmenard
March 19th 2011


15 Comments


I can't believe all the negativity about this album. Deeper Well, The Plan, and Zen Brain are all incredible songs that no one will ever listen to, it seems...

KevinKC
February 3rd 2012


203 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree cjmenard. The plan is incredibable

2ndhandsuburbia
April 24th 2012


4 Comments


Treehouse is a HUGE Weezer ripoff

koolaidboi112
June 26th 2013


16 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I guess I'm in the minority on this, but I love this album

soundenvision
October 6th 2013


1 Comments


To say that this band or this album, "Popular" in particular, was completely ripping off Weezer does
it such a terrible injustice. What Weezer song does it completely rip off? Sweater Song? It's a weak
comparison at best. Weezer weren't exactly trailblazers in the whole soft verse / loud chorus thing
either.

If anything, this era of Nada Surf seems to me to be influenced by "Ride the Tiger" era Yo La Tengo,
Pavement, and Galaxie 500, with their own unique brand of bummed-out new wave slacker rock; "The
Plan," "Sleep," "Stalemate," "Ice Box," and "Psychic Caramel" being good examples of this particular
sound.

Despite not really having much to say lyrically their first time around, Nada Surf crafted a
musically interesting mid-90s indie rock record that, though at times familiar, is uniquely their
own and is long overdue for critical reconsideration.




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