Wednesday, March 12, 2014

One Year, 100 Albums: #32 Semisonic "Feeling Strangely Fine"

Semisonic Feeling Strangely Fine, 1998

There's a particular kind of album that was prevalent in the latter part of the 90's (maybe it's been around for years, but it feels like they reached maximum prevalence right around 1999) where the first song on the album was the hit single and the rest of the album was bland, unlistenable garbage. Occasionally, you'd find the second song on the album was the second hit single and SOMETIMES the third song on the album was the third hit single. But, inevitably, the rest of the album was fluff. It's not hard to see why the iTunes concept of "buy the songs you know you like" was SO popular when it came around a couple of years later.

Feeling Strangely Fine SHOULD have been one of these albums. It starts with "Closing Time", the song that most people who remember 1998 can remember being all over the radio, and if they know the name Semisonic, is the first and foremost song they associate with the band.

But then something weird happens.

The rest of the album blows "Closing Time" out of the water. Not to say that it's not a good song. It's just that it's the starting point for one of the best power-pop albums of its time. The album is full of introspection, love-sickness, tentative hope, and meditative happiness.

It's one of those albums that you have to wave away the protests of the people who don't know how amazing it is. "I know. I know. That song is SO 90's, but listen to the REST of it!"

It's one of those albums that you can put on and catch the eye of the other person in the room who knows what an amazing journey everyone's about to take.

In recent years, I've forgotten what a gem this one is and I'm really happy that I'm doing this series so that I can unearth some of these forgotten treasures in my collection.

{Tangent: In a similar vein, Phantom Planet's The Guest is this album's kindred spirit, arriving on the wings of another hit single that starts the album. If you like one of these albums, I would be surprised if you didn't like the other.}

Semisonic - Secret Smile
Semisonic - This Will Be My Year

You can buy Feeling Strangely Fine at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes


Martin said...

Couldn't agree more, as I wrote here:

James! said...

Martin, thank you for linking me to your excellent post! And for giving me a new blog to follow :)