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Come on Feel the Lemonheads
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Come On Feel The Lemonheads
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1993 album features the tracks the Great Big NO, Into Your Arms, Paid to Smile and more. Atlantic.
The Lemonheads' third Atlantic album has its moments: "The Great Big NO," "Down About It" and "Dawn Can't Decide" don't break new ground (the dB's jangled better 12 years ago), but they're catchy, rollicking pop tunes. Unfortunately, frontman Evan Dando wants to be taken seriously as an artist dealing with big issues. "Big Gay Heart" is a country-flavored protest of gay-bashing in which he takes a cue from Kurt Cobain and flirts with bisexuality. The truth is, he's probably too narcissistic to care about another member of either sex. In "Paid to Smile," Dando protests that he shouldn't be treated special because he's a handsome rock star. But his attitude says exactly the opposite. It's a bit like that old shampoo commercials where the model crows, "Please don't hate me because I'm beautiful. --Jim DeRogatis
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Lead singer Evan Dando delivers his vocals with his typical unpretentious aplomb, as immediately demonstrated "The Great Big No". The songs get this confident treatment no matter how simple they are. Yet Dando throws in a little self-deprecation on "Being Around", where he humorously begs again for a bit part in that oblivious special someone's life. Almost all of the songs maintain a steady mid-tempo pace, including the stand-out track "Paid To Smile", which starts out slowly but picks up in a slight and nuanced manner during the verses. "Big Gay Heart" (as well as "Being Around") allows Dando to indulge his love of country rock and Gram Parsons, and features some fine steel guitar. "I'll Do It Anyway" and "Rest Assured" zip along at a speedy pace, but the album only really rocks on the first version of "Style" ("Rick James Style", the other version, makes for the most unlikely musical pairing since Bing Crosby and David Bowie). Finally, there is "Favorite T", a fine slab of early-90s slacker heartbreak, which, if nothing else, makes you realize that Dando's ex-girlfriend must have been really tall. Oh, yeah, did I mention "It's About Time", "Down About It", and "Dawn Can't Decide"? Those are all really good, too.
Evan Dando is usually described as being The Lemonheads since he started the band and is its only permanent member. However, more than half of the songs on Come On were co-written with erstwhile and future collaborator Tom Morgan (who wrote "The Outdoor Type", possibly the best song on the next Lemonheads album). Moreover, one Robyn St. Clare wrote this album's "Into Your Arms". But listening to The Lemonheads often enough makes it more of less clear that Dando has a certain lyric writing style that results in "Patience is like bread I say/I ran out of that yesterday", "If I was a booger, would you blow your nose?", and "Curtis C called/Left a message in Japanese/Dawn took the call/Reviewed the newest Taang! release". Lines like these evince Dando's knack for puns and excessively droll observations. He may not be a great songwriter, but he does write very goods songs, and does so with innate ease. The result, in the case of Come On Feel The Lemonheads, is a collection of over a dozen thoroughly enjoyable tunes with an obviously very long shelf life. The 3-3/4 stars awarded to this album are very solid ones.
This album is from 1993, which was a great year for alternative music, many masterpieces were released that year: Last Splash (The Breeders), In Utero (Nirvana), just to mention something.
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This is a long-lost, out-of-print release from a forgotten band. I highly recommend it (even if it means getting it from second hand sellers).
It is unfortunate that not only this album, but the band itself has been thrown aside and fogotten by the mainstream. Shame on you hip hop lovers for ruining the music biz.
Evan Dando is the singular musical vision of the Lemonheads. His sing-song tunes often the feel of walking the railroad tracks like a tightrope. Solid, melodic pop songs. Songs like "Into Your Arms" sound like the musical time-stamp to a perfect summer. Right on.
Much like the preceding LP, this one has its couple of instant pop classics. The Robyn St. Clare penned "Into Your Arms" has as memorable a melody as just about anything, and a lyrical hook that bears repeating over and over and over and over and over, despite (or maybe because of) it's lack of Incredible Depth. It's much like the title track of "It's a Shame About Ray," it's just one of those phrases (or couple of phrases) that bears repeating. Kind of like the way Toots and the Maytals "Pressure Drop" should really be extended to 15 or 20 minutes, without any new lyrics.
Many of the tracks on this disc pass by comfortably enough, and Dando's singing is always a treat - just his voice - even if the melodies and lyrics don't especially impress. Juliana Hatfield's accompanying vocals are a nice complement to Dando's. Sneaky Pete's pedal steel on "Big Gay Heart" is also a welcome addition to the Lemonheads' sound.
Other fave tracks include the manic "Style", which seems to be Dando wrestling with concepts of drug use (the topic of endless Dando interviews at the time of this disc's release) and other pressures of life.