Turn Back the Clock
Rock / Pop
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
The other day, I was stuck in traffic and decidedly bored with looking at the rear of the car in front of me. In an effort to take away some of the monotony of stand-still traffic, I turned on some music. As the first few bars of So Much for the Afterglow by Everclear began to play, I knew I had made the right choice.
When I first heard the songs Everything to Everyone and I Will Buy You a New Life, I was intrigued. Here was a band with a rocking sound and gritty content. They sounded different from anything I was listening to at the time. I decided I had to buy the album those two songs came from and soon became the proud owner of So Much for the Afterglow.
Lead singer Art Alexakis tapped into his own hard-knocks life to create this album and I believe it is the content of the lyrics in addition to the sound that drew me to this Everclear. The themes of the album were things that Alexakis could sing about with feeling because he had lived through them. The songs dealt with pain as well as promise - the pain of a father walking out on his son and that sonís promise never to put his own children through that drama, the pain of drug addiction, the hardship of overcoming psychological breakdowns, the promise of a man of a better life made to the woman he loves, the horror of a relationship going sour. Much of the content of these songs were something that listeners could relate to.
And of course, there was the music - solid rocking tunes with Art Alexakis providing lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards and piano, Craig Montoya providing back-up vocals, bass guitar, mandolin, keyboards and sound effects, and George Ecklund providing back-up vocals while performing on drums, keyboard, slide whistle and every other source of percussion you can think of. One song on the album, El Distorto de Melodica, is completely instrumental and shows that Everclear was more than your average band. The fact that they could turn out a song with no lyrics that was just as well received as the rest of the album proves that their fans looked at this group as more than just a band - these were some serious musicians with tremendous musical talent.
On the radio, the band Everclear found a following for songs like the ones that first steered me toward the album and Father of Mine. But those of us who owned So Much for the Afterglow knew that Everclear was so much more. People struggled to fit Everclear into a concise music category. These guys were definitely rock and roll, with some pop undertones, however, their lyrics touched upon subjects that most regular rock and roll and pop singers would avoid. Their messages were delivered using lyrics that painted a perfect picture of the situation they were discussing and sometimes employed harsh language to get the exact amount of emotion across.
When I bought this album over ten years ago, I was shocked that there wasnít one song that I didnít enjoy. Usually when you buy albums, there are one or two tracks that you could have done without, but this was not the case with So Much for the Afterglow. I even loved the bonus track, Hating You for Christmas, about a man whose girlfriend breaks up with him just in time for the holidays.
After all these years, So Much for the Afterglow still remains one of my favorite albums. No matter how much time passes before I pop that CD into the player, I still remember every lyric to every track on that album. So Much for the Afterglow was Everclearís most successful album with over two million copies sold and a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental for El Distorto de Melodica. As far as I am concerned, this album contains some of the best music ever performed by the trio called Everclear and I will cherish it for many years to come.