Everclear Sparkle and Fade, 1995
This was not the first Everclear album I ever heard. Not by a long shot. I was a huge fan of 1997's So Much For the Afterglow, but when it came down to picking between that one and this one, the album with the less polished sound won out.
Everclear was one of the first bands that I heard on the radio, liked what I heard and bought all I could by them. Sparkle and Fade has a song called "Heartspark Dollarsign" that I was very familiar with because it was the only Everclear CD single available at the Virgin Megastore in New York City when I was there, probably sometime in Spring 1998.
The band really made its mark with this album, particularly with the smash single "Santa Monica" (which is still probably my favorite place name to say).
What I especially enjoy about this one is that you can hear the band having fun, but you also get the harsh reality of Art Alexakis's lyrics, which, as they would on the albums to follow, dealt with his own rocky upbringing and how that has informed the parenting of his daughter. Sparkle and Fade is an album about what it's like when you're in your late 20's/early 30's trying to live the life you've dreamed of, how the world often seems dead-set against you, and how you can shake free of all your troubles if you play your guitar loud enough.
This is the video for "Santa Monica" which I actually had never seen until I hunted it down for this post. Pretty standard video. Great song.
These songs happen later in the album and they happen back to back. I included both of them because of the whiplash-change in the sound/emotion from the first song to the second and because they give a good idea of the range that this album contains.
Everclear - Pale Green Stars