Songs from an American Movie, Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile by Everclear | 724349706125 | CD | Barnes & Noble
Songs from an American Movie, Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile

Songs from an American Movie, Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile

4.2 17
by Everclear
     
 
On Songs from an American Movie Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile, mainstream alt rockers Everclear approach things Ice Cube-style. No, front man Art Alexakis isn't sporting a badass posse or spittin' lyrics about gang-bangin' (though he does rap on "AM Radio"). It's just that Everclear have chosen to release their latest musical project

Overview

On Songs from an American Movie Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile, mainstream alt rockers Everclear approach things Ice Cube-style. No, front man Art Alexakis isn't sporting a badass posse or spittin' lyrics about gang-bangin' (though he does rap on "AM Radio"). It's just that Everclear have chosen to release their latest musical project in two parts, as Cube did with his opus War & Peace. The first installment of Songs from an American Movie -- alleged to be the poppier of the two -- is a summery rock album filled with jangly guitars, raspy vocals, and trad rock rhythms that recall Tom Petty or John Mellencamp. Fortunately, Everclear stay out of retroville by updating their sound with electronic percussion, braying horns, gliding strings, and even DJ scratching. "Now That It's Over" starts with the opening beat from the Beastie Boys' "Rhymin' and Stealin'" before dissolving into a hook-filled breakup song that chronicles the dissolution of Alexakis's marriage (much of the record follows suit)."Here We Go Again" could be an homage to Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer," and "AM Radio" sounds like the Barenaked Ladies crossed with Beck and Wild Cherry. As imagistic and inviting as Songs from an American Movie Vol. 1 is, none of the tunes have the propulsive charge of "Heroin Girl" or "So Much for the Afterglow." Perhaps Everclear are saving another batch of charged-up rockers for Vol. 2.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
If the two-part title weren't enough of a tip-off, let's make this clear: Songs from an American Movie, Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile is a concept album, based on Everclear leader Art Alexakis' divorce. Many pop musicians have mined this territory before, but Alexakis pulls off an ingenious move by dividing his divorce album in two parts and two records, separating falling in love from the fallout. Learning How to Smile is the courtship album, painting a picture of when everything was wonderful. He goes back further than that, returning to his childhood, specifically the sparkling, catchy late-'60s and '70s pop that provided the soundtrack to his coming of age. It's all innocent, from the sounds and melodies to the aesthetic; at first, it's hard to tell that this music was made in the wake of a divorce. As the album unfolds, certain themes of regret, sadness, and longing run to the surface, but they're all coated in glittering pop melodies and big rock riffs that mask the emotions of the songs. And, make no mistake, Alexakis is digging deep into his psyche, especially at the end of the record as the romance begins to fall apart. What makes Learning How to Smile work -- and an album this ambitious could easily have collapsed under its own weight -- is that the songs are strong and smart and are given savvy productions that make them sound even smarter. Very few of Everclear's peers could have pulled off an album that skillfully balances such an arty concept with such strong, strikingly revealing songs. Songs from an American Movie, Vol. 1 is the band's best, most consistent effort to date -- and certainly whets the appetite for the sequel.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/11/2000
Label:
Capitol
UPC:
0724349706125
catalogNumber:
97061

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Everclear   Primary Artist
Frank Capp   Musician
Bruce Dukov   Musician
Richard Altenbach   Musician
Mathew Cooker   Musician
Brandon Fields   Saxophone
Chuck Findley   Trumpet
Jim Hughart   Musician
Patricia Johnson   Musician
Dennis Karmazyn   Musician
Nick Lane   Trombone
Carole Mukogawa   Musician
Jack Nimitz   Musician
Katia Popov   Musician
Harry Shirinian   Musician
Petra Haden   Background Vocals
Lars Fox   Percussion,Background Vocals,Loops
Craig Montoya   Bass,Mandolin,Percussion,Background Vocals
JoAnn Kane   Musician
Art Alexakis   Banjo,Guitar,Percussion,Steel Guitar,Vocals
William Motzing   Musician
Dan Newfeld   Musician
Jacqueline Suzuki   Musician
Greg Eklund   Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Background Vocals
Rachel Purkin   Musician
Vage Ayrikyan   Musician
Kendall Payne   Background Vocals
Louise di Tullio   Musician
Raymond Tischer   Musician

Technical Credits

Neal Avron   Producer,Engineer,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Mort Lindsey   String Arrangements
Charles Paakkari   Engineer
Schmidt   Engineer
Lars Fox   Producer
Mauricio Iragorri   Engineer
Craig Montoya   Composer
Art Alexakis   Composer,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Josh Turner   Engineer
Greg Eklund   Composer
Perry Watts-Russell   Executive Producer
David Bryant   Engineer

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