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It's a Shame About Ray by Lemonheads (1992)
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Top Customer Reviews
Released 10 months after "Nevermind," "Ray" is kinder, gentler release of the grunge era ("bubblegrunge" was the term applied to it). Singer/songwriter Evan Dando does a fine job of mixing all of his influences into the record: jangle pop, country rock, power pop, and punk. He sings in an understated and unpretentious manner that succeeds all the same in bringing his clever lyrics into full relief. The jangley acoustic strumming and crisp arpeggios that come to the fore give the CD a very autumnal feel, one that makes the setting seem more like a wealthy, wooded bedroom community than suburbia.
The first half of the CD alternates among slow (My Drug Buddy), mid (Confetti), and up tempo (The Turnpike Down) numbers, and then climaxes to perfection with the drum-propelled tracks Bit Part and the magnificent Alison's Starting to Happen. Simply put, these songs are two of the best pieces of evidence to suggest that the three-minute pop song is one minute too long. (The latter contains what is probably the best lyric on the entire record: "She's the puzzle piece behind the couch that made the sky complete.") But it is hardly all downhill from there.Read more ›
It's too bad Evan Dando has never received his due as a songwriter, most of the band's well-known songs are covers. Originally, this album closed with "Frank Mills", from the musical "Hair". Atlantic later tacked on their rocking cover of "Mrs. Robinson", which became their biggest hit.
But the real gems on this disc are Dando's - "It's a Shame About Ray", "Confetti", "Allison's Starting to Happen", "My Drug Buddy"....all classics in the Lemonheads catalog. The music is catchy and the lyrics are clever -- great straightforward pop-rock.
No such problems with "It's a Shame About Ray." Its only 27 minutes long, 32 if you get a later version with their silly but catchy cover of "Mrs. Robinson" attached. What it lacks in running time, it more than makes up for in quality. Its a dozen slightly countrified punk pop gems, which occupy a paradise somewhere between Green Day and Gram Parsons. That is to say every song is immediately catchy yet instantly familiar on first listen. Its the kind of record where,if it stays in your rotation for awhile (and it most certainly will), it will yield a new favorite track every few days. 10 years after its release, it still delivers the goods every time.
High points include the title track, Hannah and Gabi, My Drug Buddy and Confetti, but there's really not a weak number in the bunch. Most tracks are mid to slightly uptempo and dominated by acoustic guitar and Evan Dando's wonderfully warm singing. If the songs have any weakness its that they can be lyrically slight but they're so bouncy, charming and relentlessly catchy that hardly distracts at all. This one deserves a spot in any collection and stands as one of the most memorable albums of the 90's.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There's a couple of air-famous songs on this, but they're almost beside the point. The whole album is good enough to listen to over and over; which I did recently on a long hike.Published on July 21, 2013 by Dale J. Seachord
I'm a die-hard alternative fan, and I saw a lemonheads cassette in a second hand store, in the midst of the statler brothers and some indie gospel tapes. Read morePublished on August 31, 2011 by J. Jongeling
I bought this cd in the mid-90s and was immediatly impressed at the overall listenability of it. Yes, there is some filler, but its filler that does not do much to interrupt the... Read morePublished on July 18, 2011 by Colin J. Koran
I like the Lemonheads early stuff like Creator, but this album is their best. The original did not contain the radio hit "Mrs. Robinson", and that's how it should be. Read morePublished on July 14, 2011 by Amazon Customer
I discovered the Lemonheads in 1989 when the Luka video came out. Getting the Lick tape (twice since the first time, it wasn't recorded properly), I can still remember thinking how... Read morePublished on July 10, 2009 by Jdan G.
One of the greatest albums of the 90s. Up there with Weezer's first release ("Weezer"-Blue Album) and the Gin Blossoms' "New Miserable Experience."Published on January 15, 2009 by F. Nava
This is one of the best albums ever produced if you ask me. It's not like I'm a huge Lemonheads fan or anything, but this album is stellar. Read morePublished on April 6, 2007 by Jacob Cowell
Believe me This isn't sour candy... "It's A Shame About Ray," was The Lemonheads fifth and best release (June 1992), their Breakthrough Album! Read morePublished on March 30, 2007 by Chris G.
What can I say about the Lemonheads, they're one of the best bands I have ever heard. The chords that they use on some of their songs are awesome. Read morePublished on January 24, 2006 by Kurt Baer