Sunday, January 12, 2014

Come on now, try and understand...

Artist: 10,000 Maniacs
Album: MTV Unplugged
Released: October 26, 1993

This is my first discussion of a live album.  Typically I'm not a big fan of live albums, as a live recorded version of a song usually isn't as good as the original recording is.  The sound quality typically isn't as good and the crowd noise distorts the music.  And, when I hear two different versions of the same song, they tend to amalgamate in my mind and that gets irritating.  So, I will listen to live albums of artists that I like, but I don't always enjoy them.

However, this is one that I really enjoy, and it might be my favorite.  Back in the earlier days of MTV (when the "M" actually stood for "music"), a lot of bands would appear on MTV Unplugged and promote their music by playing acoustic versions of their songs.  10,000 Maniacs appeared on the show in 1993, shortly before singer Natalie Merchant left to pursue a solo career.  Of the fourteen songs that are on this album, seven are from their most recent (at the time) album, Our Time in Eden.  In a way, it's unfortunate that Natalie left shortly after this, because the band seemed to be at their peak with Our Time in Eden.

Most of the tracks on this album are at least "almost as good" as the originals.  Out of the fourteen tracks, there are only two that I think are significantly better on the original albums.  "Candy Everybody Wants" is an interesting and also edgy song.  Replacing the horn parts with vocals makes for a decent sound, but it loses that edge without the horns.  The other track is "Noah's Dove", which is more mellow here than on Our Time in Eden.  "Noah's Dove" is an amazing and beautiful song, but this version just doesn't pull me in the same way.

There are a lot of good tracks here, but two stand out.  One is their cover of Patti Smith's "Because the Night", which has received a lot of radio play over the years.  They totally knocked this one out of the park.  The other is "Don't Talk"; they just did an amazing job with this recording, especially with the cello part at the end.  My favorite besides this is "These Are Days"; it's always an uplifting song, no matter which version.  I think I slightly prefer this version to the regular, though it's the first track and the audience cheers a couple of times during the performance.

Overall there's a great mix of upbeat ("Hey Jack Kerouac", "Like the Weather", "Jezebel", "Stockton Gala Days", "Candy Everybody Wants") and low key ("Eat for Two", "I'm Not the Man", "Trouble Me", "Noah's Dove") tracks.  My two least favorite tracks are "What's the Matter Here?" and "Gold Rush Brides", which are back to back right in the middle.  The former is strained and drawn out, while the latter is low key and at times sounds like it has potential, but just never fully develops.  Neither one is among my favorite 10,000 Maniacs songs under the normal version, either.

Bottom line, if you have never listened to 10,000 Maniacs, you're really missing out.  I always thought they were talented and featured a nice variety of songs.  And of course, Natalie Merchant's voice is awesome.  I especially recommend Our Time in Eden, which I'll probably discuss more later, but their MTV Unplugged album is very enjoyable too.

Track #, Name of Song, Duration, My Rating
1. These Are Days (4:22) - 9/10
2. Eat for Two (4:12) - 8/10
3. Candy Everybody Wants (3:19) - 9/10
4. I'm Not the Man (3:46) - 8/10
5. Don't Talk (5:22) - 10/10
6. Hey Jack Kerouac (3:29) - 9/10
7. What's the Matter Here? (4:50) - 7/10
8. Gold Rush Brides (4:12) - 7/10
9. Like the Weather (4:15) - 9/10
10. Trouble Me (3:40) - 9/10
11. Jezebel (4:20) - 9/10
12. Because the Night (3:44) - 10/10
13. Stockton Gala Days (5:25) - 9/10
14. Noah's Dove (5:07) - 8/10

Monday, July 15, 2013

The angel closes her eyes...

Artist: Live
Album: Throwing Copper
Released: April 26, 1994

Before I actually talk about the album, one bit of frustration with this band: It is really hard to search for them online.  Obviously they named their band "Live" before the whole internet explosion, so this wasn't in their minds, but try going on YouTube or Google and searching for "Live Top" or "Live Stage" and you'll get tons of results that don't have anything to do with this album.  Frustrating indeed.

But anyway I have to say that this is a really enjoyable album.  It doesn't have many standout tracks, but it is consistently solid from start to finish.  It was released around the end of the grunge era and at the very beginning of the post-grunge era, and seems to be stuck somewhere in between.  It is even borderline heavy metal in a few spots.  But despite not being neatly classified, Throwing Copper still manages to capture the mood of rock music 20 years ago.

If you had a radio on back in early 1995, you may have heard "Lightning Crashes" quite a bit.  It quickly became a favorite of mine when I was 10 years old and remains so to this day. It was inspired by a high school friend of the band who was killed by a drunk driver and how her organs were later used to save others' lives; more generally, it's about the cycle of life and death.  It's such a heartfelt song, performed perfectly; one of my all-time favorites.

That being said, it is not really representative of the rest of the album.  Instead of being diverse from one song to the next, it rides in waves, more intense and polished rock in the middle with more light-hearted, raw emotion at the beginning and end.  "The Dam at Otter Creek" at the beginning sets the tone for the album well, slowly building up throughout to an intense ending.  I have to say, whenever I listen to this album, "Selling the Drama" always seems to get stuck in my head the most.  I can't put my finger on it, but it's one of the most enjoyable tracks.  "I Alone" still gets airtime today, but I don't like it as much.  It's decent, but a little repetitive not really their style.

My other favorite is "Pillar of Davidson".  Songs that are almost seven minutes long usually don't make it on the radio, but I still think this would have been a great radio hit.  I also think "Top" is an underrated track.  "Waitress" is kind of a fun song, while they tried, with surprising success, to incorporate a little country with "Horse" at the end.  I mentioned before that there aren't many standout tracks; indeed, "Iris", "Shit Towne", "T.B.D.", "Stage", and "White, Discussion" are all solid tracks that serve as more than just filler, even if there isn't a lot of diversity of sound.  I gotta say that, to me, "All Over You" stands out like a sore thumb.  You ever listen to a song that's only four minutes but just seems to drag on forever?  That's the case here; it's just too repetitive and not distinctive enough to be a really enjoyable track.

Throwing Copper is certainly Live's best known album, though they did stay together for over a decade afterwards and have some more moderately successful hits.  They temporarily disbanded a few years ago, and a nasty conflict between Ed Kowalczyk and the other band members led to his leaving the band and being replaced as singer.  Like many other successful '90s bands that are still hanging in there, they will always be associated most with what they did years earlier.

Track #, Name of Song, Duration, My Rating
1. The Dam at Otter Creek (4:43) - 9/10
2. Selling the Drama (3:26) - 10/10
3. I Alone (3:50) - 8/10
4. Iris (3:59) - 8/10
5. Lightning Crashes (5:25) - 10/10
6. Top (2:42) - 9/10
7. All Over You (3:59) - 7/10
8. Shit Towne (3:48) - 8/10
9. T.B.D. (4:28) - 8/10
10. Stage (3:08) - 8/10
11. Waitress (2:49) - 9/10
12. Pillar of Davidson (6:46) - 10/10
13. White, Discussion (6:08) - 8/10
14. Horse (4:16) - 9/10

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The picture kept will remind me...

Artist: Pearl Jam
Album: Vs.
Released: October 19, 1993

This is my second post about Pearl Jam; the first one, about Ten, was my very first post and I decided it was time to write about them again.  I previously discussed how Ten today remains a pioneer album for the grunge movement of the early '90s.  Two years later, Vs. was a highly anticipated album; indeed, it set a new record for most copies sold in the first week after release (a record that has since been broken).

Now, if you've followed Pearl Jam's entire career, you know that they were never really comfortable with such incredible success.  At this point, they were already taking measures to step back from the spotlight; for example, they didn't make music videos for any of the songs on this album.  But starting with their third album, Vitalogy, they experimented in other types of rock, and even recorded a couple of really bizarre songs (listen to "Bugs" or "Stupid Mop" if you get the chance and you'll get what I mean).

In fact, with Vs. there are some early signs of already drifting away from the predictable (and I do not mean this in a bad way) grunge rock of Ten.  The album starts off similar to Ten with "Go" and "Animal"; they aren't really what I would call standout tracks, but still are awesome songs.  The band then shows a softer side with "Daughter"; a song that many of the band's hardcore fans probably weren't expecting.  However, it's a great song and they totally nailed it.  They tried this again later with "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town", which is still a good song but I think they were trying just a little too hard on this one.

The middle of the album features some of the same social consciousness of Ten.  "Dissident" could easily fit into Ten; the main riff is great and it's a solid track, though not among what I would consider to be the band's very best.  The other three songs are less subtle in their social criticisms.  I'm thinking particularly of "Glorified G" and Eddie Vedder's mocking of a gun enthusiast friend ("Got a gun, fact I've got two/That's ok man cause I love God"; "Don't think, dumb is strength/Never shot at a living thing").  It's actually a very enjoyable song; I prefer it to "W.M.A.", which is alright but a little melodramatic, and "Blood", in which they tried to combine hard rock with a little psychedelic; the result isn't terrible, but not their best either.

The rest of the album isn't just filler; there's some great stuff.  "Rearviewmirror" has become one of my favorite Pearl Jam tracks; the same passion they bring to many other tracks, mixed with some new found optimism to make for a really enjoyable song.  "Rats" and "Leash" are two solid tracks that also follow the Ten formula pretty well.  I really like "Indifference"; possibly my all-time favorite closing track to an album.  It's mellow and contemplative, with a great mixture of riffs and vocals.

So, to come back to my early points, Vs. was a great follow up to Ten and pleased most Pearl Jam fans.  Yet there were some early signs of changing direction, and this became much more realized with Vitalogy a year later (but I'll get into that at a future date).  To conclude, Vs. was not the groundbreaking album that Ten was, and it might not have as many memorable tracks.  But this was still a masterful effort, and when putting everything into context it might be their most impressive album.

Track #, Name of Song, Duration, My Rating
1. Go (3:13) - 9/10
2. Animal (2:49) - 9/10
3. Daughter (3:55) - 10/10
4. Glorified G (3:27) - 9/10
5. Dissident (3:35) - 9/10
6. W.M.A. (5:59) - 8/10
7. Blood (2:50) - 7/10
8. Rearviewmirror (4:43) - 10/10
9. Rats (4:15) - 8/10
10. Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (3:16) - 9/10
11. Leash (3:09) - 8/10
12. Indifference (5:08) - 10/10

By the way, if you get the deluxe edition (with Vitalogy plus another live album), make sure you listen to their acoustic version of Hold On; it's really good!

Friday, February 22, 2013

With the birds I'll share this lonely view...

Artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Album: Californication
Released: June 7, 1999

I tend to forget sometimes that Red Hot Chili Peppers have actually been around for quite a while.  The band formed about 30 years ago and has had steady success, lots of hits, and many fans; yet they have been just edgy and alternative enough that they haven't been fully embraced by the mainstream pop scene.  They haven't really had that one big hit that defines their career; I suppose "Under the Bridge" somewhat fits that description, though it's not usually mentioned among the biggest hits of the '90s.

The band has always been hit or miss with me; I can't say that I like everything I've heard from them.  They hit a lull in the mid '90s; honestly, I don't know what the heck they were trying to do with their cover of "Love Rollercoaster".  But they did come back pretty strong with Californication in 1999, producing a few memorable hits that still get radio time today.  In fact, this ended up being their biggest selling album, and they've put out a couple more successful albums since then.

This band is known for their punk/funk brand of rock, though with Californication they went a little more mellow and alternative.  In fact, this really sounds more like it came out in about 1995 than in 1999.  There is a mix of easy and upbeat on this album, sometimes even within one song.  "Scar Tissue" is one of the more laid back songs; it was a big hit and also one of my favorites.  I really like how they used this formula with a few other songs on the album.  "Emit Remmus" is another example of this.  It has more of a raw grunge sound, and I really like how it turned out; though not nearly as well known as "Scar Tissue", I would say that these are my two favorites.

The other two radio hits were "Other Side" and "Californication", which have the post-grunge sound of the mid '90s.  They're both good, but I prefer the former.  Though not included in the big hits, the band's earlier sound shows up quite a bit, including the first two songs.  "Around the World" has that mix of punk and alternative that I alluded to before, though I think they pulled it off well.  "Parallel Universe" has the upbeat pace, and they also did a good job with it.  This sound is revived towards the end with "Right on Time", which is catchy but not among my favorites.

For me, the album does tend to drop off after my favorites, especially towards the end, but this is at least made tolerable by the fact that there is some variety.  Their funk/psychedelic background shows up in songs like "Get on Top", "Easily", and "Savior", which are all decent but not standout tracks.  I have to say by the time we get to "Purple Stain", this gets a little old.  I think they once again did a good job with the mellower sounds on "This Velvet Glove".  I think the much slower "Porcelain" is a good break in the middle of the album.  As many other rock bands, they tried their hand at acoustic with "Road Trippin'".  I can't say that I was impressed, but I've heard worse efforts in this regard.

Maybe you could say that Red Hot Chili Peppers had "arrived" when they appeared on The Simpsons back in 1993; Moe tried to get them to change their lyrics to be less offensive, and Barney chanted, "We want chilly willy!"  But with Californication in 1999, the band redefined their career and set course for a steady path of success for years afterward.  I'm never going to consider it among my all-time favorite albums, but there are some great tracks on there that I always enjoy.

Track #, Name of Song, Duration, My Rating
1. Around the World (3:58) - 9/10
2. Parallel Universe (4:29) - 9/10
3. Scar Tissue (3:35) - 10/10
4. Otherside (4:15) - 10/10
5. Get On Top (3:18) - 8/10
6. Californication (5:29) - 9/10
7. Easily (3:51) - 8/10
8. Porcelain (2:43) - 8/10
9. Emit Remmus (4:00) - 10/10
10. I Like Dirt (2:37) - 8/10
11. This Velvet Glove (3:45) - 9/10
12. Savior (4:52) - 8/10
13. Purple Stain (4:13) - 7/10
14. Right on Time (1:52) - 8/10
15. Road Trippin' (3:24) - 7/10

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Slowly walking down the hall...

Artist: Oasis
Album: What's the Story (Morning Glory)?
Released: October 2, 1995

When I was in college several years ago, and Coldplay was really popular, I heard someone say that Oasis was "the Coldplay of their time".  To me that makes sense in the fact that they are both mainly mellow groups that have many listeners but don't quite get the media hype of other artists or bands.  Oasis is still well known among those who listened to the radio in the '90s or otherwise know a lot about music from that era, but even among some of them, the band is an afterthought today.  It will be interesting to see if Coldplay is in that same situation in 5-10 years.

Anyway, What's the Story (Morning Glory)? was their breakthrough album and by far their most well known album to this day, at least in the US.  Definitely Maybe was released a year earlier and was a big success in the UK, setting up a breakthrough onto the worldwide, mainstream stage with What's the Story.  Even though many critics familiar with Definitely Maybe didn't think that What's the Story was as strong of an album, it still was wildly successful and greatly expanded interest not only in the band itself, but in British Indie rock in general.  Indeed, I first learned about Oasis when I heard "Wonderwall" on the radio a lot in fifth grade.  I've heard quite a few people claim them to be a '90s version of the Beatles, and I guess I can see that.  Some of their songs even have a quasi-psychedelic quality while retaining a '90s grunge/post grunge sound.

Now, taking away as much of the context as I can, I am a big Oasis fan and enjoy many of their songs.  But if you know me, particularly anything about my taste in music, you know that I get irritated very easily when a song (or album) gets overplayed and overhyped.  But also as a child of the 1990s, I can't help but say that "Wonderwall" and "Champagne Supernova" are two awesome songs!  These are probably their two most popular and well known tracks today, though they had many other hit singles that aren't as well known.  The vocals are definitely what make "Wonderwall" a great song.  The guitars are what make "Champagne Supernova" so great, and being over seven minutes long, it's easy to get lost in that song without it seeming too drawn out.  Indeed, whenever I hear it, it seems like about 4-5 minutes.

There really is not a weak track on this album, though I still have my favorites.  I really like the optimism of "Some Might Say"; it's also really catchy and has some cool lyrics.  Most of the other songs are still good, though at times it feels like there isn't enough variety of sound.  That's why I didn't give "Hello" a 10/10 rating; same for "Morning Glory", which is a really cool song but has moved down my list slightly as time goes on.  Besides being a big hit, "Wonderwall" provides a more laid back sound compared with several of the other more intense tracks.  For that same reason, "Cast No Shadow" has grown on me more over time.  "Don't Look Back in Anger" and "She's Electric" are interesting because they have a retro feel, though I don't think the band is at their strongest with this formula, at least not on this album.  "Roll with It" and "Hey Now!" are pretty similar to "Hello" and "Some Might Say", respectively, and while they're decent songs, they don't stand out as much.

The next album from Oasis, Be Here Now, produced a few hits, but as is often the case with big breakthrough albums, they never replicated the success of What's the Story.  Some infighting within the band certainly didn't help, though they have continued to put out albums since then.  In any case, What's the Story (Morning Glory)? has to be considered a classic of the 1990's.  The big hits alone make it memorable, but the rest of the album, though there isn't much variety, is still a great listen.  If you're a '90s music person, chances are you're already familiar with this album, so I would recommend trying out some of their other stuff as well.  I'm sure I'll be reviewing their other albums at a later date.

Track #, Name of Song, Duration, My Rating
1. Hello (3:22) - 9/10
2. Roll with It (3:59) - 8/10
3. Wonderwall (4:18) - 10/10
4. Don't Look Back in Anger (4:47) - 8/10
5. Hey Now! (5:41) - 8/10
6. (Untitled Track) (0:44)
7. Some Might Say (5:28) - 10/10
8. Cast No Shadow (4:51) - 9/10
9. She's Electric (3:40) - 8/10
10. Morning Glory (5:03) - 9/10
11. (Untitled Track) (0:39)
12. Champagne Supernova (7:27) - 10/10

(Note: The two untitled tracks are short reprisals of other tracks, and I decided not to rate them.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I am flying on a star...

Artist: R.E.M.
Album: Collapse Into Now
Released: March 4, 2011

Where can you possibly begin the conversation about R.E.M.?  They are one of the most influential rock bands of the past generation, with an incredible career that spanned 30 years.  They played a key role in developing the alternative rock genre as we know it today, starting with their college rock of the early '80s to the more mainstream alternative of the late '80s and early '90s.  Even after that, they were still putting out quality tracks while evolving towards a more polished and mature sound.

When R.E.M. released their 2 disc greatest hits album (Part Lies, Part Truth, Part Heart, Part Garbage, 1982-2011) last year, many fans agreed that there were still quite a few important songs missing; indeed, a few of my favorites were absent, including "E-Bow the Letter", "Bang and Blame", and "All the Way to Reno".  I would say my very favorite R.E.M. songs, along with "E-Bow the Letter", include "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?", "Man on the Moon", "Orange Crush", and "Electrolite", though there are so many other great ones.  Most of their big hits have their own unique qualities, and when listening all the way through their greatest hits compilation, the aforementioned progression in sound is evident.

The band announced last year that they were hanging it up, meaning that Collapse Into Now, their 15th studio album, would also be their last.  I'm sure I'll be posting more about R.E.M. in the future; I posted about their last album first, partly because I haven't done many post-1990s reviews yet, and partly because their recent retirement provides an opportunity to reflect on their career.  When I listen to the opening riffs to "Discoverer", the opening track, I can't help but feel like the band is warming up for their grand finale.  It's a solid track and also reminds me quite a bit of "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?"  As the album was released just a few months before retiring, this song hints that the end may be near, as Michael Stipe (lead singer) reflects on his career.

There are a few parts of the album that remind the listener of the band's earlier days; I'm thinking particularly of "All the Best" and "Mine Smell Like Honey", which recall the quasi-grunge songs of the late '80s/early '90s.  Also, "Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter" is kind of a fun song much in the mold of earlier hits like "Stand"; I would also say "That Someone is You" fits into that description.  However, the majority of the album has a clean, modern sound (as opposed to the band's early college rock days), and I think in general that this formula worked best for them on this particular album.

For me, "Uberlin" is the standout song from the album.   It fits into the modern mold: it's fairly easy listening, but it's a well crafted song and also provides some of Stipe's best vocals.  I would give it strong consideration to be in my top ten all-time R.E.M. songs.  Two other more modern tracks that I really like are "It Happened Today" and "Every Day is Yours to Win".  I think here, they sound a little bit like Coldplay; the former track features backup vocals from Eddie Vedder.  "Walk It Back" is similar in this way but not quite as strong; I like the piano-based melody, though it just didn't pull me in as much as I would have expected.  "Oh My Heart" and "Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I" are solemn tracks that take a little bit of effort from the listener to enjoy; I like them both, though it took a little more time for me to warm to the latter.

The album closes with "Blue", a somewhat complex but also interesting song.  In a way, it's a good closer for R.E.M.'s career; it features vocals from Patti Smith (as "E-Bow the Letter" did) and also a reprisal of the riffs from "Discoverer".  When I hear this song, I can visualize the curtain closing on an incredible career.  I don't think anyone will ever consider Collapse Into Now as among R.E.M.'s all-time classics, but it's really nice to see that after all this time, they were still able to put together a solid album and exit the stage with some dignity.

Track #, Name of Song, Duration, My Rating
1. Discoverer (3:31) - 9/10
2. All the Best (2:46) - 8/10
3. Uberlin (4:13) - 10/10
4. Oh My Heart (3:20) - 9/10
5. It Happened Today (3:48) - 9/10
6. Every Day Is Yours to Win (3:25) - 9/10
7. Mine Smell Like Honey (3:11) - 8/10
8. Walk It Back (3:23) - 8/10
9. Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter (2:44) - 8/10
10. That Someone Is You (1:43) - 7/10
11. Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando and I (3:03) - 8/10
12. Blue (5:45) - 8/10

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stay with me and I'll have it made...

Artist: Blind Melon
Album: Blind Melon
Released: September 14, 1992

It seems like there were a lot of bands back in the '90s that are still vaguely remembered for one or two hits but otherwise have faded into relative obscurity.  It's a theme that I have already hit on several times since starting this blog.  Blind Melon certainly falls into that category, and they are an especially sad case because lead singer Shannon Hoon died from a drug overdose in 1995, just weeks after they released their second album.

Whenever a band loses their lead singer or another influential member during the peak of their success (or at least when it appears they still have a lot left in the tank), it's easy to think about what would have happened had that person survived.  Sometimes, it's hard to say.  But it appears that Blind Melon's success may have been short lived in either case.  Their first album, self-titled, was released in 1992 and put an interesting twist on the alternative rock that was exploding at that time.  They mixed alternative with some elements of Southern and psychedelic rock that made for a great album; at the same time, it would have been virtually impossible to replicate it without sounding repetitive.  Indeed, they didn't even try, as their second album, Soup, was different and not nearly as successful or well-known.  After Hoon died, they did little of note before disbanding.

Though the rest of the story is pretty rough, Blind Melon is an enjoyable album and adds some nice variety to my music rotation.  If you had a radio on throughout the '90s you probably heard "No Rain" quite a bit.  It's certainly a classic from that time and one of my personal favorite hits, but it isn't representative of what's on the rest of the album.  You'll get a good sense of what Hoon offers in terms of vocals, but the Southern/psychedelic sound is far less apparent here.

The album actually starts off with two harder, faster-paced rock tracks with "Soak the Sin" and "Tones of Home"; I slightly prefer the former, though I like them both.  The album shifts more towards psychdelic rock starting at track three.  "I Wonder" is one of my favorites; Hoon's voice blends well with the riffs, yet is just edgy enough at times to make it a song that I can really get into.  "Paper Scratcher" is pretty good too; overall it's lighter, yet mixes in a few heavier parts that make them sound like Metallica.  "Dear Ol' Dad" is mellow and good in its own way but perhaps not quite as strong.  Some people still remember "Change" as a mildly successful hit, but it is one of my least favorites.  It seems like they were trying for a popular radio hit while also adding some slower variety to the rest of the album, but didn't really succeed at either.

"Change" and "No Rain" serve as a bridge to the second half of the album, which takes a turn towards Southern style rock.  "Deserted" is a great song; I am tempted to say it is my favorite track on the whole album.  The vocals are intense, possibly Hoon's best, while there seems to be a perfect blend of fast and slow, psychedelic and alternative.  "Sleepyhouse" is good, but at some points the sound seems forced and doesn't flow well.  "Holyman" is more up tempo with a strong Southern bent, which distinguishes it a little from the other tracks.  However, by this point it appears that they have carried this sound about as far as it will go.  "Seed to a Tree" is pretty nondescript; "Drive", at a much slower pace, and "Time", the final song that tries to send the album out with a bang, are decent but aren't really that much different from the rest of the album and therefore not particularly memorable.

So, with this one album, Blind Melon made their own unique mark on early '90s rock.  Even if they did virtually nothing else or don't have nearly as strong of a following as other bands from this time, this is still an album that is worth listening to.  Maybe it isn't useful for capturing what early '90s music is all about, but it's still an album you can stick in your CD player and enjoy.

Track #, Name of Song, Duration, My Rating
1. Soak the Sin (4:01) - 9/10
2. Tones of Home (4:27) - 9/10
3. I Wonder (5:33) - 10/10
4. Paper Scratcher (3:13) - 9/10
5. Dear Ol' Dad (3:01) - 8/10
6. Change (3:41) - 7/10
7. No Rain (3:37) - 10/10
8. Deserted (4:20) - 10/10
9. Sleepyhouse (4:28) - 9/10
10. Holyman (4:47) - 8/10
11. Seed to a Tree (3:29) - 7/10
12. Drive (4:40) - 8/10
13. Time (6:02) - 8/10