When The Cars singer Ric Ocasek passed away last year many talked about his work with his own bands and producing other groups like Weezer (Blue Album, Green Album, Everything will be Alright in the End.) He also produced the last Possum Dixon album in 1998 that has a couple catchy songs that went under the radar. I remember the band’s earlier songs getting most of the radio airplay but felt these ones should have gotten just as much.
I like this sleepy ballad from the singer of Dishwalla called “Until I Wake Up.” The band was somewhat of a one-hit wonder I guess you could say but like many 90s one-hit wonders they also have a lot of great deep cuts. Their hit was “Counting Blue Cars” that you still hear being played today. One of their greatest tracks “Until I Wake Up” was a non-album B-Side. The people who bought the full album didn’t hear that song.
It was re-recorded for their second album that no doubt sold far less. That 1997 version is great but this one from 2016 on the singer’s solo album works so well stripped down to orchestra and acoustic guitar. I often listen to it before going to bed. Dishwalla had a number of notable albums past the 90s. “Opaline”, “Dishwalla” and even “Juniper Road” (that features a different lead singer) are all great albums.
JR Richards - Until I Wake Up (Official Video) Original Singer/Songwriter DISHWALLA
The band’s follow up album to the massively popular Superunknown. According to the notes from the Super Deluxe Edition of that record at one point they considered making Superunknown a double album. In some ways that was understandable for it to come with two CDs since killer tracks like “Tighter & Tighter” were among the batch of songs they had to cut.
The song made it onto their next LP “Down on the Upside” and there is a good case to be made that it was the strongest track. Perhaps my favorite guitar solos from any Soundgarden song are on it. After making three good choices for singles they chose to make “Ty Cobb” the album’s final single instead of “Tighter & Tighter.” They broke up soon after that while the album was still high on the charts.
Around the time I started this project I did a post on 90s albums by the progressive rock group "Yes" which made me want to explore their back catalog again. One of the first records by them that immediately came to mind was 1973's “Tales from the Typographic Oceans” which is a vinyl where nearly every song is over 20 minutes long (about as much time which the band could pack on each side of the discs.) It got me thinking about some of my favorite longer tracks from the 90s.
In almost every case if it was played on the radio it was only in shorter form. Diamond Sea was in heavy rotation with Sonic Youths hits "Bull in the Heather" and "Superstar." Every once in a while they would play the long version! Other songs in this list were ignored entirely which is why I am bringing it up here. 😊
I wrote a full review of the Yes album “The Ladder” (which you can read here.) I also needed to bring up this gorgeous track “I Am Waiting” from “Talk.” which was the last album that included two lead singers (Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin.) Trevor does a great bridge and Jon delivers those delicate hushed verses. The seven and half minutes goes by way too quick!
When I was taking driver’s ed in school Geggy Tah had a hit about a fellow driver letting him change lanes (“Whoever You Are.”) The band called The Presidents of the United States of America also had a track "Mach 5" which looks like it was about the speedtracer car.
I really like the opening song from that Geggy Tah album and it’s sporadic time changes and singing (“Lotta Stuff.”) I’m a sucker for songs that will change from one thing into something completely different all of a sudden!
This song about a local town that was a ferry rid away from Seattle was being played on local radio stations. Reminds me of taking the downtown Seattle ferry to my grandparents where we would sometimes drive by Bremerton area.
With the seclusion people are in at the moment I keep thinking of “Three Fish” and the opening song from the first album “Solitude.” The album is part music part spoken word poetry. The tale of the Three Fish is interspersed between the music. When I listen to the album now I can hear the influence of the band “Low.”
If you haven’t heard Three Fish the music video for “Laced” is a great place to start. The singer’s other band “Tribe After Tribe” has some notable songs as well (The Lovers Part 1, 2 (and 3), Build a Subway (the live version), The Mode.
I heard someone talking about a new version of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” when waiting in line for a concert last year. I knew there was a new Lion King movie out but I didn’t consider that they would remake the soundtrack as well (which I guess should have been obvious to me.) I guess I just couldn’t imagine someone else singing the Elton John hit because that song, especially the vocals, are perfect. Then I realized it was a redo of the multi-singer version used for a scene in both the original and remake of the movie. It does a good job as a replacement for that but I am glad no one bothered touching the longer version Elton did!
First single from the album. Three different music videos for the first single. From the band that spent most of their career avoiding music videos!
I have only had a chance to listen to the new Pearl Jam record once so far. Their longest album surprised me. I wondered why some of their albums (like Yield) were not about five songs longer. Binaural chopped some five to seven songs off of it (that can be found on their odds and ends collection “Lost Dogs.”) When I listen to the album on my phone I usually opt for adding most all those tracks back into the mix. This album was different in that I first heard it in bits and pieces and not as a whole. It works much better listening from one track to the next in order.
Besides album length my other criticism with some of their records is that a slow song kills the momentum of the track list . “Parachutes”, “Off He Goes” that should belong closer to the end of a record or on a slower album like an Eddie solo record. Gigaton has four slow tracks as the album closes where it belongs. Now the band just needs to spend their quarantine time making a studio version of the song “Of The Earth.”
This great photo comes from nosey_records IG site. He has his kid display his records in fun ways! Great profile to follow.
Top Ten Album List Going Around Social
Dishwalla - Opaline
Seven Mary Three - Rock Crown
Mark Lanegan - Scraps at Midnight
Stone Temple Pilots - Tiny Music
Dinosaur Jr. - Where You Been
Blind Melon - Soup
Shawn Mullins - Soul's Core
Live (the band) - Throwing Copper
Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
Yes - The Ladder
Passengers - Original Soundtracks 1
Aphex Twin - Drukqs
Collective Soul - Disciplined Breakdown
There was a list going around Facebook to come up with your favorite ten albums that shaped your musical taste challenge. I said at the time it should probably be a top 20 list to be better represent me so I have since continued adding titles to it.
It's mostly a nineties list but I had to make an exception with 2002's Opaline. I like the first two Dishwalla albums but that that album is easily their best!
The list contains five albums by one hit or two hit wonders, a second wave grunge band, a collection made up of mostly odds and ends and a Progressive Rock masterpiece! I am sure it will keep growing!
Longer Full Album Reviews
• The Ladder from Yes
• The Passengers Soundtracks 1
New Blind Melon Movie Review
• "All That I Can Say"