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Red Apple Falls


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Audio CD, May 20, 1997
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$15.59
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. The Morning Paper 3:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Blood Red Bird 4:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Red Apples 5:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. I Was A Stranger 3:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. To Be Of Use 5:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Red Apple Falls 6:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Ex-Con 3:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Inspirational 6:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Finer Days 4:50$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Biography

An under-recognized pioneer of the lo-fi revolution, Smog was essentially the alias of one Bill Callahan, an enigmatic singer/songwriter whose odd, fractured music neatly epitomized the tenets and excesses of the home-recording boom. Melancholy, poignant, and self-obsessed, Callahan's four-track output offered a peepshow view into an insular world of alienation and inner turmoil, his ... Read more in Amazon's Smog Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Red Apple Falls + Knock Knock [Vinyl] + A River Ain't Too Much to Love
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 20, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Drag City
  • ASIN: B0000019QV
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,012 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

After the success of his previous album, The Doctor Came At Dawn, Bill Callahan (who is Smog) joined forces with some of Chicago's and label Drag City's finest musicians to craft this album over a few days. The band atmosphere frees up Callahan's singing and the songs which verge into country music (in terms of what country once was and not what it presently is) seem far more open than previous efforts. The symbolism of the color red is a bit overdone ("Blood Red Bird," "Red Apples," and "Red Apple Falls") and an undercurrent of overseriousness threaten to defeat the album's relaxed nature. ("Ex-Con" loosens things considerably). The simple beauty of much of what's here is quite astonishing at times. --Rob O'Connor

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
None of the others sound quite as intimate or subtle as this album.
chris landry
Bill Callahan never fails to amaze me, this in my mind is the best Smog album that i've heard.
Jacob Marshall
Noticed that about every song here had some really good (and) well thought out lyrics.
Mike Reed

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By chris landry on February 6, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is the first truly great Smog album. Earlier albums all have some great songs, but suffer from content and/or sound quality. The worst songs on this album are good and six of the nine are great. Just listen to track one, four, or five. I can dig beneath tepid sound quality if the music transcends it, but the improvement here is important because of the sound Bill Callahan, who IS Smog, creates. The sound is still somewhat skeletal, but these bones have more flesh on them than earlier albums. The sound has more baroque elements, with pedal steel, french horn, piano and trumpet added to the mix. The sardonic, insular nature of Callahan is still present: The morning paper is on its way/It's all bad news on every page/So roll right over/And go to sleep/The evening sun will be so sweet. But the songs have a more expansive and stately feel. Callahan himself has said, "Red Apple Falls was...dreamlike, more about consciousness and what it's like to be a sentient being." Do not assume this statement implies arty pretension, for Callahan is nothing if not honest and authentic-you can feel it in his songs. As for this album, imagine Summer Teeth with a pared down sound, recorded by people just coming out of disintegrated relationships, taking downers and in an introspective frame of mind. If you find this album too stilted, try Julius Caesar or anything that followed it. None of the others sound quite as intimate or subtle as this album. If Callahan's evolution continues as it did here, he just might wind up as this generation's Nick Drake, though hopefully without his tragic ending.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Susan Doran on January 7, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Only gave 4 stars because this album isn't for everyone, and a 5-star review makes people go out and buy stuff. In this case if a lot of people did that, they'd be disappointed and would post negative reviews here.

I gave this album to an intelligent musician with great taste, and he said he couldn't get through it because it's too slow. So again, it's not for everyone. With that said, when this album first came out in 1997/8 I turned several other people onto it and it stayed in rotation in all of our collections for months and months.

It's a minimalist album, and it does unfold at Bill's own pace. But holy schmidt, pretty much every time you listen to it layers upon layers show themselves, and you're slack-jawed. A friend listening to him stammered with respect, "You just...you just can't DO that!"

Best listened to in fall/winter. It's the musical and thematic equivalent to bare branches sillouted against a bleak sky.

And it's a dark as hell album. Lyrically sardonic, self-observing, sad, removed, mildly sadistic, more than mildly self-loathing, resigned, anguished, amused and amusing, charming, engaging, self-deprecating, astonishingly witty, narrative-driven. Musically it's haunting, hypnotic, and quite beautiful. He's brilliant.

For example, the first track, "The Morning Paper," opens for several bars with singular, repetitive, dissonant notes on an accoustic guitar, against a dull low buzzing backdrop, and then Bill's voice, sounding tentative and slightly disoriented, comes in for just a few lines...his character wakes up logily and, not finding compelling reason to fully come to consciousness, capitulates to lethargy to "roll right over/and go to sleep/the evening sun/can be so sweet.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "gapskank76" on May 9, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I cant say that this is Smog's (Bill Callahan or whatever his name is) best work because like so many, I have really only discovered Smog in the last few months. Of the 4 records Ive heard, Red Apple Falls is the best. These songs are great and what's more... they are accessable. Much of Smog's early work was a bit formless and avant-garde for my tastes, but this borders on a straight ahead pop album.
Smog's songs in general are melancholic tales of the absurd, much like those of Leonard Cohen or Tom Waits. This CD is no exception. I would say, based on what Ive heard, that this would be an excellent place to start if you are thinking about picking up some Smog.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Marshall on March 28, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Bill Callahan never fails to amaze me, this in my mind is the best Smog album that i've heard. A concept album of sorts that details the end of a relationship (his previous LP, The Doctor Came at Dawn seemed to deal with a relationship breaking up while this album is a reflective look back on the affair.) Reminiscent of Lou Reed's Berlin, and at times Leonard Cohen (especially on the track Blood Red Bird) Red Apple Falls gets to the heart of the pain and loss of a love affair ending, the track Red Apples in particular. Simple, sparse and delicate, Bill Callahan is arguably the best balladeer living today.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hippie Smell on June 26, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I own just about all of the official Smog releases from the gritty home tape recordings, to the newer albums that will keep some steady friends around. This is by far the best (Smog) album that I've heard. Think Leonard Cohen meets The VU w/a touch of beautiful pedal steel over the top of it all. This album really is amazing and it embraces all of the different stylings that Bill Callahan employs throughout all of his works. From violent pop songs set over a cheary beat (ala Ex Con), to the isolated and introspectiveness w/a gritty sense of humor (es Stranger). This album really hits home. The one thing that may annoy new comers to this album is the heavy handedness of all the symbolism that reoccurs throughout the album. To me it's perfect but to others it can possibley ware you down. If you get this album and are looking for more Smog to listen to then the next logical step is Knock Knock. If you own Knock Knock and want more of the same then pick this one up.
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