Everclear Dark Topics, Bright Sounds

Posted in MusicWorld on July 31, 2000 by

A follow-up to Everclear's 1997 double platinum album, So Much for the Afterglow, has been a long time coming. However, fans and radio stations alike will be satisfied twice over in 2000, with the band introducing two albums. April brought the release of Songs from an American Movie, Volume One: Learning How to Smile, which started as a solo project for frontman Art Alexakis. Once Everclear bassist Craig Montoya and drummer Greg Ulkund heard the album, however, they asked to become part of the project and Alexakis obliged. Later this year, the trio will release Songs from an American Movie, Volume Two: Good Time for a Bad Attitude.

Learning How to Smile features the same upbeat, layered sound Everclear listeners are used to, but with more of a pop feel. The first single off the album, "Wonderful," makes it clear that despite a positive sound, the band is not necessarily singing about positive issues. Like many of his songs, "Wonderful" comes from a personal experience of the band's leader, and shows a divorce through a child's eyes.

Other tracks that use the ironic contrast between dark lyrics and bright sounds include "Here We Go Again" and "Thrift Store Chair," which talks about a crumbling relationship. As the album is entitled Learning How to Smile, one would expect to do just that while listening to it, and tracks such as "The Honeymoon Song" and a remake of Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" provide a break from the depressing subjects that dominate most of the album.

Everclear will return to its hard-rock roots in the upcoming release, Good Time for a Bad Attitude, with the guitar-driven sound that helped them achieve critical acclaim with their 1997 album, So Much for the Afterglow. The album, which sold over two million copies in the U.S., had three tracks that hit the Billboard modern rock top five. It also went double-platinum in Canada and platinum in New Zealand and Australia. In 1998, the band was named the "Alternative Artist of the Year" based on airplay and the Billboard Modern Rock Artist of the Year. The band's 1995 sophomore album, Sparkle & Fade, which was their first release on Capitol, brought Everclear into the mainstream and went on to sell over one million copies. Even then, their sound was popular internationally, with the album going platinum in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Everclear has also been a hit on the silver screen. Last year, their remake of Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back in Town" was featured in the film Detroit Rock City. In the upcoming Miramax dark comedy Committed, Alexakis landed a role as a drug-addicted car thief. It would seem that Everclear has become experts at putting a positive twist on dark topics.