It’s important to note that this is the 1998 reissue and not the 1995 original. Important because, at 21 tracks and 67 minutes, this is as bloated as you would expect a reissue to be, even one for a relatively unknown album such as this one. Important because this is now the only version you can get on both Spotify and Xbox Music. In fact, it seems to be the only one listed at allmusic. Important because it sounds awful, at least on both Spotify and Xbox Music, and I even tried “Extreme” (seriously) quality on Spotify. The sound on almost every song is dominated by crackly, peaking static at every crescendo. And that ends up being the most salient quality of the album.
Once you get past that, the next step is to get past the fact that it’s 21 songs and 67 minutes and good god it doesn’t need to be anywhere close to that long. Get past the sound and the songs that have no business being included here, and you’re left with an album that, well, it still has a ceiling of like 3.5 clowns. But, hell, that’s better than I’m gonna give it.
There are a few gems and several more songs that have good parts. But the band’s a little too twangy; they’re pretty judicious with the violin but it still gets overbearing, as is its wont in a setting like this. Their attempts at 70’s Springsteen glory and broken dreams are fine but nevertheless just make you want to go listen to Springsteen’s superior versions.
In the end, maybe the length of this ends up serving it pretty well. Not because I want to listen to the whole thing, or really even that many songs on it, but more because it lets the good moments peppered throughout the album pile up to a point where I’m inclined to say that, you know, maybe with better sound I’d even be able to say I liked this.
– “Drank Like A River,” “Revenge”
– “Midway Park,” “What May Seen Like Love,” “If He Can’t Have You,” “Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight,” “Desperate Ain’t Lonely,” “Hard Luck Story,” “Top Dollar,” “Lo Fi Tennessee Mountain Angel,” “Empty Baseball Park,” “16 Days,” “Yesterday’s News,” “Factory Girl”
– “Too Drunk To Dream,” “Tennessee Square,” “Faithless Street,” “Mining Town,” “Black Arrow, Bleeding Heart,” “Matrimony,” “Here’s To The Rest Of The World”
Song Notes: After the jump