11 June 2008

MM Vol 2 - 131 - Semisonic

MM Vol 2 #131


"Act Naturally"

Genre:Alt Pop
After I first heard of the Semisonic song "Secret Smile" in Mellow Mix Vol 1, I had decided I needed to hear more of this band. So I sifted through their 2001 album at the time "Its All About Chemistry" and found this wee gem "Act Naturally" and out of all the Semisonic catalogue of songs from all years, this is my favourite.
Semisonic has been dubiously lumped in the same bracket as Collective Soul (huh?), The Wallflowers (hmm maybe), Verve Pipe (um), Mathew Sweet (c'mon really?), Tonic (again, maybe), Natalie Imbruglia (wtf?), Goo Goo Dolls, Fastball, 3rd Eye Blind (a slight nod for that lot) & Foo Fighters (I really don't think so Tim). Well, that is according to the crowd @ www.artistdirect.com. Semisonic released 4 studio albums before finally releasing "Their Greatest Hits", so I presume, like most Alt Pop bands from that time period have given it all away, or as it is now PC preferred "Indefinite Hiatus" ~ crowbarred
We will be back - promise!
Since the mid-'90s, Semisonic has been inspiring the overuse of words like "literate," "smart," and "well-written" by reviewers everywhere. All About Chemistry doesn't do anything to change that: It is a suite of 12...well, smart and immaculately crafted songs, all seemingly destined for the charts, yet also possessing enough lyrical muscle to elevate them above the level of guilty pleasure. Chemistry injects a heavy dose of piano into Semisonic's former copybook college rock sound, moving the group a few steps closer to the adult pop bracket. "Sunshine and Chocolate" is full of a sensual shimmer, borne along on a tune that is peppy in the best possible way. "Act Naturally" blends sweetness, prettiness, and heartbreak in perfect proportions. "I Wish" dissolves its thwarted desires in a slow-burning, "Layla"-esque coda. And "One True Love," written with Carole King (who also sings backup and plays piano on the track), is both slightly desolate and wholly lovely -- a dream of a perfect love-to-be that also perhaps contains hints of regret for the seemingly inevitable moment when a dream is all it will turn out to be.
Greatest hits
Frontman and lyricist Dan Wilson creates interestingly human characters, people frayed by love and tossed about by contradictory impulses, not knowing what they want and wanting it all the same. Drummer Jacob Slichter proves he's no pushover in the writing department with "El Matador," a wispy and impressionistic tune that gently references Joni Mitchell while waving goodbye to the summer: "Lying on the couch defenseless/With blue clouds court and spark." Only one song feels like a dud -- "Get a Grip," a charmless but ingratiating paean to self-love that feels...er, tossed off. That apart, Chemistry is almost perfectly balanced -- sweet but not sugared, clever but not wiseass, crafted but not cold. ~ [Leslie Mathew, All Music Guide]
Roll Call ...
For more Semisonic visit Mellow Mix Vol 1 #042
For the Wallflowers rock to Def 1000 Songs of all time #685
For Natalie Imbruglia visit Mellow Mix Vol 1 #103
For Goo Goo Dolls visit Mellow Mix Vol 1 #017 & #052
For 3rd Eye Blind visit Mellow Mix Vol 1 #023 & #058
For Foo Fighters rock to Def 1000 songs of all time #535
For more Foo Fighters visit Mellow Mix Vol 1 #012
For Carole King rock to Def 1000 Songs of all time #808
This song has a crowbarred rating of 86.2 out of 108

Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z



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