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  • Songs From an American Movie Vol. One: Learning How to Smile
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Songs From an American Movie Vol. One: Learning How to Smile

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Audio CD, July 11, 2000
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Product Description

CD packaged in a DigiPack case with a 16 page booklet.

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Reminiscences permeate the dozen diverse tracks that populate Everclear's fourth outing. The trio, spearheaded by writer/guitarist/producer Art Alexakis, looks back in myriad ways on Songs from an American Movie. Alexakis skillfully and sweetly addresses his recent divorce ("The Honeymoon Song," "Now That's It's Over"), musical heroes ("Otis Redding"), and childhood ("AM Radio"), frequently matching his words with suitably retro music. Although the only cover is a new-wave take on Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl," familiar musical references abound. On "AM Radio," a brief sample of "Mr. Big Shot" sets the tone for funky flashback fun, while "The Honeymoon Song" is full of Brian Wilson inflections. Alexakis references his own "Everything to Everyone" in the title track, while "Otis Redding," "Unemployed Boyfriend," and "Wonderful" are more commercial alt-rock Everclear than homage Everclear. Alexakis set out to make a pop album, and while millennial teenagers have their own definition of "pop," for '70s-kid Alexakis, Songs from an American Movie serves as a summertime soundtrack to his thirtysomething life. --Katherine Turman

1. Song From An American Movie Pt. 1
2. Here We Go Again
3. AM Radio
4. Brown Eyed Girl
5. Learning How To Smile
6. The Honeymoon Song
7. Now That It's Over
8. Thrift Store Chair
9. Otis Redding
10. Unemployed Boyfriend
11. Wonderful
12. Annabella's Song

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 11, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: July 11, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B00004TWIT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (274 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,301 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Most alternative bands today seem to be one amorphous band with hundreds of musicians all producing the same songs. Everclear has set apart themselves from this generic monster with their latest album, Songs From an American Movie, by using a rich variety of styles. For example, "Here We Go Again" and "AM Radio" use simple but effective sampling in the songs, similar to Beastie Boy's "Pauls' Boutique". "Learning How to Smile", "Otis Redding", and "Annabella's Song" use orchestral accompaniment similar to the Beatles "Sgt Pepper". And, there are songs such as "Wonderful" which is simply pure Everclear. This album isn't perfect though: there is a cover of "Brown Eyed Girl" which I thought was not necessary, and "Unemployed Boyfriend" uses an annoying voice over of a women talking about how she meets this guy at the unemployment office. However, there are many gems. "Wonderful" displays Everclear's great song writing ability; the hard-biting lyrics will remind you "Father of Mine". "Here We Go Again" and "AM Radio" have a funky back beat and are very catchy. This album is definitely the "Sgt Boutique" for Everclear. I hope they continue to produce songs with meaningful lyrics, depth, and variety.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer M. Galvan on July 20, 2000
Format: Audio CD
With the advent of Everclear's new CD, "Songs From An American Movie, Vol. One: Learning How To Smile," comes an exquisite new breed of musical styling for Everclear. Although "American Movie" demonstrates the softer side of Everclear, it will please both new listeners as well as "die-hard/tried and true" Everclear fans. Songs like "Here We Go Again" and "AM Radio" display hints of 70's soul/pop. Other songs including "Wonderful," "Unemployed Boyfriend" and "Now That It's Over" have totally addictive rhythms which are coupled with the cutting down-to-earth/bottom line lyrics that front man Art Alexakis is famous for. The CD also contains a TOTALLY DIVINE cover of Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl."
The CD is a perfect blend of high-energy "shake your booty" songs as well as thoroughly enjoyable songs for "kick-back" listening. I find "American Movie" totally addictive. Each time I play the CD, I just want to dance and twirl around and around until I feel sick - just like when I was little girl. In fact, the CD may just prompt a new form of exercise for Everclear fans - EVERCLEAR-OBICS! I give it a 10+, 5-Star, A+ rating!
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51 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Kori Frazier on July 12, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The artwork on the compact disc of Everclear's latest album depicts the classic sad smiley face. Although this is a creative, and yes, fun design, I have to say that it completely disagrees with my thoughts about this album. Even though I am not a big fan of alternative music, Everclear's musical abilities greatly impress me. When I bought "So Much For the Afterglow" last year, I thought that it was a superb album. Yesterday, upon listening to this latest release, I was forced to reassess my opinion. "Songs From An American Movie" puts "Afterglow" to shame. I think that this is the first alternative album I have ever bought where I seriously like the majority of the CD. Also, as a fan of the culture of the late 1960s, I enjoyed the concept theme on this album that is prevalent in songs like "AM Radio" and "Otis Redding." Everclear's cover of Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" is even better than the original. And of course, we can't overlook "Wonderful", which is probably the best Everclear song I have heard to date. The situation and message in this song has brought tears to my eyes every time I have listened to it; it is just too close to reality for many people that I know. Conclusively, this is an excellent CD. It is not exclusively for alternative fans, but can be enjoyed by anyone who just likes to listen to good music. I, a country and folk music fan, am walking proof of that! :-)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is the most "poppy" (yet in the best sense of the word) and diverse Everclear album yet. Each song is unique, which leaves the listener far from bored.
"AM Radio" is a perfect example of this. In it, Art raps to a same of Jean Knight's "Mr Big Stuff," while reminiscing about the '70's and the AM radio that he grew up with. Additionally, the song "Here We Go Again" samples "Bring the Noise" by Public Enemy. In stark contrast, the remake of "Annabella's Song" features a 40-piece orchestra arranged by Mort Lindsey, who also worked with Sinatra.
"Otis Redding" and "Learning How to Smile" are my personal favorites. They are very melodic and have choruses that will make you want to sing along. The cover of "Brown Eyed Girl" has been taken under Everclear's wing, as if it were there own. It is hard to distinguish as different from any other song on the album; it fits so perfectly among all the original songs.
Other songs, such as the acoustic reprise of "Song from an American Movie," and "Thrift Store Chair," are short but sweet. The simplicity and intimacy make these songs great. Other songs, such as "Wonderful" and "Now That It's Over" will really hit home with some people, as they deal with Art Alexakis' recent divorce. The light-hearted love songs, "Unemployed Boyfriend" and the "The Honeymoon Song" (the latter written by the band's drummer, Greg Eklund), are enough to make any listener smile a little.
Yes, Alexakis, along with anyone else who listens to this album, will learn how to smile.
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