Damn, Jim!

Songs From An American Movie (Volume One) (Capitol)

By Jim Conway

Has it really been less than ten years since the heyday of the left-coast grunge invasion? That golden era of rock, when scruffy, longhaired guys in flannel shirts and baggy trousers helped the world rediscover the wonders (or was it the limitations) of the guitar, bass and drum power trio? Hey, I'll be the first to admit I lost interest with the genre around Scott Weidland's seventh or eighth rehab stint, but I didn't think things had gotten THIS BAD!

Yes, I know Songs - Volume Two is already out, but I feel compelled to comment on Songs From an American Movie (Volume One). It is an utterly blatant attempt (or marketing scheme) by the A & R guys at Capitol to squeeze whatever juice is left from this foul-smelling turnip. We have everything from a half-baked, white boy sampling of the groove from the mid-1970s hit "Mr. Big Stuff" on "AM Radio," to sniveling, Hallmark greeting card lyrics on "Annabella's Song." In fact, the utter audacity of the attempt at some semblance of hip-hop fusion on "Here We Go Again" is almost to the point of being embarrassing. You just want to cover you eyes and ears until it goes away.

Some more forgettable moments include a track vocalist Art Alexakis offers up that actually has the line "I wish I could sing like Otis Redding." Well, gee Art, so do I, and I also wish I had million dollars and absolute power over every living thing on earth. But, gosh, even though I don't have a cool record deal with a big record company, and I sing like Wally Cox with a clothespin on his nose, I still think, overall, I'm pretty fortunate to be walking, loving, living and breathing on God's green earth.

So, as you might have gathered, the unfortunate circumstance of the matter is that Everclear has, for the most part, committed artistic suicide in order to maintain a career that probably should have had some kind of musical euthanasia to prevent this thing from smelling up what's left of the grunge carcass.

In fact I'll leave you with a line from Volume One's most telling composition, entitled rather fittingly, "Now That It's Over:" "I wish I could find the words to tell you, to politely go %#&! yourself / Yeah, now that it's over."

How post-prophetic.