Vol. 1-Learning How To Smile (2000)
|On their fourth release for Capitol Records, the Portland, Oregon band reveal an expanded musical range and willingness to kick down new doors, demonstrating hook-filled pop chops while maintaining the sound that makes the band instantly recognizable. Along with incorporating instruments such as horns and strings, ALEXAKIS--singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer--delves deeper into his psyche than before, working through the changes brought on by fractured relationships. "The album gives you ups and downs," says ALEXAKIS about LEARNING HOW TO SMILE. "It goes up and down, like life does." |
Originally conceived as a solo album, LEARNING HOW TO SMILE evolved into a group effort when ALEXAKIS brought in CRAIG MONTOYA and GREG EKLUND to provide some extra punch to songs he had already written. The results crackled, and they stayed for the entirety of the record, setting the stage for the follow-up to 1997's double platinum SO MUCH FOR THE ATERGLOW (which earned the band Billboard magazine’s 1998 Modern Rock Artist of the Year Award) and the 1995 million-selling breakthrough SPARKLE AND FADE.LEARNING HOW TO SMILE (produced by ALEXAKIS) is a music-lover's record, a fact testified to by the multiple nods the band makes to other recording artists. EVERCLEAR glazes its unique sound on a cover of Van Morrison's classic "Brown Eyed Girl" and samples Public Enemy's Chuck D on "Here We Go Again." A yearning, hypnotic number is titled "Otis Redding," while the butt-shaking riff from Jean Knight's 1971 "Mr. Big Stuff" kicks off the nostalgic "AM Radio."
Album Notes and Credits
Notes & Personnel Info
|Everclear: Art Alexakis (vocals, electric & steel guitars, banjo, percussion); Greg Eklund (vocals, ukelele, drums, percussion, bells); Craig Montoya (mandolin, bass, percussion, background vocals).|
|Additional personnel includes: Richard Altenbach, Vage Ayrikyan, Bette B. Byers, Frank Capp, Matthew Cooker, Wade Cullbreth, Cathrine Del Russo, Louise Ditullio, Bruce Dukov, Steve C. Durnin, John C. Eidsvoog, Arme Garbedian, James Hughart, Patricia Johnson (strings); Brandon Fields (saxophone); Greg Adams, Chuck Findley (trumpet); Nick Lane (trombone); James Beaton (piano, harmonium, organ, synthesizer); Lars Fox (percussion, loops, background vocals); Kendall Payne, Andrew Stevens, Erica Stewart-Giuhan, Sydnne Ebong (background vocals).|
|Producers: A.P. Alexakis, Lars Fox, Neal Avron.|
|Personnel: Art Alexakis (vocals, guitar, steel guitar, banjo, percussion); Greg Eklund (vocals, drums, percussion, background vocals); Craig Montoya (mandolin, percussion, background vocals); Brandon Fields (saxophone); Chuck Findley (trumpet); Nick Lane (trombone); Lars Fox (percussion, loops, background vocals); Kendall Payne , Petra Haden (background vocals).|
|Audio Mixer: Neal Avron.|
|Recording information: Art's Basement Studio; Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA; Encore Studios; House of Blues Studios.|
|Photographer: Craig Montoya.|
|Over its first three albums, the West Coast band Everclear provided consistent, fairly simple, breezy, catchy, modern rock with relatively few frills. On SONGS FOR AN AMERICAN MOVIE VOL. 1, the threesome, fronted by the outspoken, charismatic Art Alexakis, suddenly finds frills galore.|
|The album opens on a country note with the short, soft ballad title track, before kicking into a zippy, hip-hop flavored "Here We Go Again," replete with Chuck D samples. "AM Radio" uses Jean Knight's 1971 classic "Mr. Big Stuff" to back an infectious exploration of late night radio listening long before the advent of MTV, followed by an almost breakbeat-meets-Celtic folk re-working of Van Morrison's classic "Brown-Eyed Girl." "Unemployed Boyfriend" and leadoff single "Wonderful," reminiscent in both flavor and theme to SO MUCH FOR THE AFTERGLOW's "Father of Mine," are closest to Everclear's traditional sound, while "Otis Redding," a sweet, retro power ballad, stands out as one of the most sincere and sublimely lovely songs the band has created. SONGS FOR AN AMERICAN MOVIE, VOL. 1 finds Everclear experimenting as much as ever with satisfying results.|
Engineer: David Bryant; Mauricio Iragorri; Josh Turner; Al Schmidt; Neal Avron; Charlie Paakkari
|Detroit Rock City|
|Buzz Ballads 2|
|Romeo & Juliet / O.s.t.(Bonus Tracks)(Explicit Version)|
|Release Date : 07/11/2000|
|Original Release Date : 2000|
|Catalog ID : 97061|
|Label : Capitol|
|Number of Discs : 2|
|Studio/Live : Studio|
|Mono/Stereo : Stereo|
|SPAR Code : n/a|
|UPC : 00724349706125|
- Included in Rolling Stone's "Top 50 Albums of 2000" - "...These songs are powerful....Alexakis chronicles the ups and downs of American fatherhood, husbandhood, sonhood and just plain asshole-hood."
- 4 stars out of 5 - "...12 understated, beautiful songs, which place Alexakis' always appealing vocals in the setting they deserve....Everclear's finest moment....What a surprise."
- "...Tries to paint a broad, humorous picture of American life using a far larger palette of sounds than the group has used before....the hooky, mid-tempo songs will not disappoint [their] legions of fans."
- 4 stars out of 5 - "...It's good. It's a glutton's pop-fest....this album hits heights Ween would dig....Utterly repellent in intent. Utterly gorgeous to the touch. Love it."
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