You know, people are always saying the opposite of love isn’t hate it’s apathy. Which is stupid. ‘Cuz they’re like on different scales. Love<->hate, engaged<->apathetic. It just happens that both love and hate put you at engaged, so it’s only half true that apathetic is the opposite of love. Anyway, the problem is that when something is so boring and pablum-y that I should be apathetic, that causes me to hate it. I hate that I’m so apathetic about something. It’s not that it’s annoying, it’s that it’s so fricking inoffensive that makes it offensive.
Toad The Wet Sprocket is a band I’ve been familiar with pretty much by name only. I, of course, had heard these singles, and had heard of the band, but I’d never connected those particular songs to this band. Turns out I hate Toad The Wet Sprocket.
One thing that’s a bit odd, too, is that there were only four singles off of this album according to Wikipedia. But I was familiar with a lot more than that. I guess it must have been that I was hearing this in the dorms all the time.
God what was it with 1994 to 1995? Where did this non-edge movement come from? Between this band, Hootie And The Blowfish, Counting Crows, and the contemporary incarnation of Goo Goo Dolls, you’ve got some of the most sad sack, boring “rock” ever written. It’s just like louder versions of The Carpenters or Sonny And Cher. Were people so tired of the angst of grunge that they just didn’t even care what entered their ears as long as it was inoffensive? There are so many ways music could have really revolted against grunge as it entered the mid-90’s, but it chose to take this stupid passive-aggressive approach, picking the lint out of its belly button in the corner and feeling sorry for itself. Which is, I guess, better than the other main response: nü-metal.
But here’s what’s awesome about this album. It sound absolutely gorgeous. Twenty years ago and it sounds fabulous. Why does so much much better music coming out now sound like ass when we’d essentially perfected digital music production in the early 90’s? Also the two penultimate songs are awesome and don’t sound like any of the other Gin Blossoms-esque rest of the album. The last song also has some merits and the guitar song of the opener is fantastic. So those items save the album’s rating from being a complete disaster.
Also I love the band’s name.
– “Inside,” “Begin”
– “Reincarnation Song”
– “Fly From Heaven,” “Woodburning,” “Something’s Always Wrong,” “Stupid,” “Crowing,” “Listen,” “Windmills,” “Nanci,” “Fall Down”
Song Notes: After the jump
- Fly From Heaven – Love that guitar sound. Though so safe and “adult alternative” in a Hootie And The Blowfish or Crash Test Dummies way.
- Woodburning – This is like a hundred generic post-grunge crap songs that I’d hear cover bands do in St. Louis bars and just hate. Like this reminds me of that stupid Goo Goo Dolls “nobody understands me” song. The most redeeming quality of this song, and really the album, is the production. There’s that squeaky sound in there that works really well, plus everything just kind of sounds awesome. So full and present. Really gets terrible at the end.
- Something’s Always Wrong – I think the singles are the worst part of this album. Ugh. I think I may be able to appreciate this, but it just smacks of boring safeness.
- Stupid – So boring and…stupid. Hate this. So repetitive. Worst song so far. Stupidly catchy, too. Was about to say that it has no business being as long as it is, and it gets way to repetitive at the end…but it’s only 2:40.
- Crowing – Why do I know so many of these songs even the ones that weren’t singles? It’s because it’s all just the same rehashed crap from that era. This and the next track are the absolute worst points of the disc.
- Listen – Pronounced “lissong”. HATE.
- Windmills – Yawn. Seems straight out of some coming-of-age thing like Dawson’s Creek or something.
- Nanci – I never notice this song when it’s playing. Oh no, I do. This is that one with the awful opening line about bending words like Uri Geller’s spoons.
- Fall Down – Okay, so this is a pretty well-written pop song. I just hate it. Oh, Gin Blossoms, that’s another band this makes me think of.
- Inside – Another great guitar sound. Really a unique song on the record as he goes falsetto in the verses. Falls back into their familiar ruts at points, but on the whole a pretty enjoyable listen. Love the guitar part at the beginning with its emphatic rhythm. If I didn’t know it was Toad The Wet Sprocket I’d be way more into it.
- Begin – I like the start of this. Haunting, ethereal, beautiful electronic organ sound. More of a mood setter than anything, but I’m digging it. Especially on an album like this, really stands out as a quality piece of work.
- Reincarnation Song – Try to imitate Adam Duritz much? Another one that doesn’t fit on the album, and this time it’s not a good thing. Like a rending garments face upturned to the sky thing. A bit noisy. Plods. I can kinda dig it if I’m in the right mood, but it’s really just kinda bad.