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Everclear
 
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Everclear

5 Jun. 2007 | Format: MP3

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Also available in CD Format
Song Title
Time
Popularity Prime  
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2:59
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3:12
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4:07
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2:50
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3:43
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4:10
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4:02
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2:44
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3:24
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2:38
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11
3:01
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Format: Audio CD
No better place for people new to AMC to start, although to buy one AMC album is to embark on a journey to purchase them all.
In my opinion their best album, "Everclear" features many of Mark Eitzel's best songs.
"Why Won't You Stay" is the ultimate track for an old flame's compilation tape, full of yearning and self-deprecation. "Ex-Girlfriend" is a brutal assessment of a friend's attempts to recover from the end of a relationship, so brutal (so the story goes) that after hearing the song, the friend in question refused to speak to Eitzel again. "Crabwalk" is a twisted hoe-down with some of Eitzel's most accomplished lyrical couplets and "Sick of Food" takes on metaphoric themes of alcoholism, anorexia and destructive relationships. "Dead Part of You" sees the full force of the singer's anger unleashed - 'he has taken everything - there's so little of you left' - he wails over a frantically strummed acoustic. "Royal Cafe" offers some respite in it's upbeat multi layered guitar work out and "Jesus Hands" closes the album - a literal last chance saloon of a composition with the protagonist seeking companionship, self worth and redemption through the bottom of a glass.
Eitzel's in fine voice, fine observational mode and at times good humour. Don't believe everything you hear - there is rarely an absence of any hope in AMC's unhappiness. Bruce Kaphan's reverb submerged production still splits opinion but at the time this was the best produced AMC album - at times shimmering, at times powerful, at all times exceptional.
Start saving up now for the rest...
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Format: Audio CD
This is American Music Club's magnum opus, which is to say it's one of the top 5 albums ever made. This opinion may not even be approved of by some AMC fans given the odd production this record received but I stand by it! Basically the first side and first half of the second have a very murky sound, individual instruments are hard to pick out and the whole thing is almost ambient in texture, especially Miracle On 8th Street and The Confidential Agent. Even on thse track though Eitzel's voice is at its most heartbreaking, tender and cracked, it pierces me with every listen.
As good as these songs are, though, the best here (Why Won't You Stay?, Ex-Girlfriend and Sick Of Food) are simply devastating. The only peers here are The Cure's Disintegration and Red House Painters' Medicine Bottle, the sheer depth of emotion on display takes my breath away, makes me gulp.
By the way, these are all recommendations.
The last three songs move away from this and hint at the direction AMC would take with Mercury and then San Francisco. Airier arrangements and serene, though still beautiful, melodies.
This is an album without peer, I can't imagine how my life would have turned out without it.
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Format: Audio CD
American Music Club have a deservedly great critical reputation, though a few people take issue with Engine or San Francisco, their canon is suitably hallowed & cult. A critics' band, at one point they were perhaps the next big thing & this is where Everclear (1991) comes into the scheme of things. This was AMC's fifth album after an initial tenure on a Warners-affiliate- it would be the record that almost broke AMC, leading to their releases on Virgin. Perhaps they would have been the band REM became with Automatic for the People (a record that owes this dark joy a debt or several); Eitzel did win 'Rolling Stone songwriter of the year' in 1991 remember!
Not that Everclear is particularly upbeat- the darkest AMC-record advancing on the bleak-domain of 1989's Hula Maiden (which dealt with the holiday Eitzel was meant to take with his father- who died; Eitzel went to Hawai alone...); Everclear is seen as something of an elegy to friends & lovers (speculation, mind you...) surrounding Eitzel (who is the songwriter). It's easily a contender for the bleakest record of all time- though beauty balances throughout, thanks to member/producer Bruce Kaphan & Vudi's guitar overload.
AMC had already written a wealth of classics (Western Sky, Gary's Song, Firefly, Kathleen, Blue & Grey Shirt etc) & as Eitzel's solo-classic Songs of Love (which preceded Everclear) proved, it was already a potent back-catalogue. Hence the devotion...but here Eitzel's songwriting peaked & everything came together (no coincidence that several of the tracks feature in the reformed AMC's set).
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