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Failure

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 17, 1993
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Editorial Reviews

Though singer/songwriters Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow later aligned themselves with a variety of rhythm sections, much of their 1988 debut, Failure, was recorded as a duo. While grunge was being born in the Posies' native Seattle at the same time, Failure shows no traces of its influence. Instead, it owes considerably more to the more reflective side of fellow Seattleites the Young Fresh Fellows and to San Francisco's Sneetches, both in the jangly, '60s-derived, folk-rock-influenced melodies and in Stringfellow and Auer's often melancholy everyday-life lyrics, as on The Longest Line and the heartbreaking Ironing Tuesdays. Although the anthemic Believe in Something Other Than Yourself is probably the album's best offering, all 12 songs are excellent.

Just before the Posies called it quits (for the first time) in 1998, they returned to the same studio, producer, and label that had spawned Failure to record their (first) farewell album, Success.

Personnel: Ken Stringfellow (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboards, drums, shaker, tambourine, hand claps); Jon Auer (vocals, guitar, keyboards).

Recording information: Norsound, Bellingham, WA (12/1987-02/1988); Studio X, Bellingham, WA (12/1987-02/1988).

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Blind Eyes Open
  2. The Longest Line
  3. Under Easy
  4. Like Me Too
  5. I May Hate You Sometimes
  6. Ironing Tuesdays
  7. Paint Me
  8. Believe In Something Other (Than Yourself)
  9. Compliment?
  10. At Least For Now
  11. Uncombined
  12. What Little Remains


Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 17, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Popllama
  • ASIN: B000001PJS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #321,991 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dennis W. Alvey on June 22, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This record was recorded as a demo. Its ironic that its out on CD since it was basically a tape passed around at thier shows. And its still awesome. Even in thier late teens (!?), they constructed some of the best lyrics and power pop melodies ever. Ken Stringfellow might have looked like a girl (with dangling earrings to boot)but these boys kicked ass, live. this is actually the re-issue of the 15th anniversary edition, not just an import. It has a bunch of extra stuff for diehard fans (and thats pretty much the only kind of fans this band has) to enjoy. Like many releases from the band, i found out about it much later... They deserved so much more.
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By A Customer on November 23, 1998
Format: Audio CD
This was my introduction to music in Seattle. It changed my views on music forever. This album harkens back to early pop influences like the Hollies, The Beatles, and Cheap Trick. All of the music was written and played by Jon and Ken and it gives it this simple yet beautiful feel. Not all songs on it are perfect, but it seems to hit right on as a whole album. Don't expect the semi-rocking pop of their latter albums, this is the kind of album all indie rockers wish they could make. Too bad they had to dream of being Seattle Rockers instead of Popsters.
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Format: Audio CD
The first time I saw the Posies was at a Northern Lights record store in downtown Minneapolis. They had just released their album Dear 23. They signed our cds and took out their guitars and played a wonderful acoustic show that I'll never forget. I knew some but not all of their songs back then. The ones I didn't know were from Failure. I looked and finally bought it. It was by far my favorite of the group. I don't like most of their recent stuff, but Failure and Dear 23 will always be my favorites.
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By A Customer on April 29, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I first heard this album when I was a high school freshman (1988). Some friends of mine knew the band; I had never heard of the Posies before. We listened a scratchy tape recording in my friend's beat-up Honda on our way to lunch break from school. On our way to the McDonald's I heard the lyrics to "Longest Line" (track 2) and almost wet my pants. It was as if those lyrics were written just for me! I quickly had my friend make a copy of the already scratchy tape and I still have that crusty old thing. Why am I telling you all this? Because this album meant a lot to me at that time of my life (a hard time for most every one). Here it is 11 years later and the songs still mean as much to me. Of course I have a CD version...the tape is un-playable after years of use and being taken on various trips around Europe and the U.S. What I think is important to note for the prospective purchaser is that you may *think* you know the Posies, but if you haven't heard _Failure_ or even _Dear 23_, then you don't know squat. I think this band's last album should've been _23_ cuz the rest just pale in comparison. The band won't play songs from this album at shows any more...which sucks. It's probably because of the changes in the band's members...we won't go into politics. Bottom line...if you want a CD that will stay strong over a lifetime, then you want this CD.
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By A Customer on March 6, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I listened to this album almost every day for at least a year of my high school life (late '80's/early '90's). I have countless memories of my friends and I driving around with this album on, on Continuous Play. It didn't hurt that we got to see these guys live at places like the then-all-ages venue, the OK Hotel, or the Ballroom at the University of Washington, also in Seattle. No, I love this album because of the music. The lyrics, mainly, the almost perfect whini-ness of the voices, especially Stringfellow's, but Auer's as well. This is always going to be a postcard book of my youth -- it was the perfect soundtrack for growing up smart and sane in Seattle. The lyrics will amaze you. I remember them being touted for their lyrics in a weekly Seattle newspaper. The author of that article was just in awe at what the young duo had put together, and for good reason! Note that this album was recorded in a garage with only a couple of 'layers,' so the sound/tone of the album is somewhat simple and bare. However, as a snapshot in time, the album works very, very well. For it to be slightly "out of focus" captures the moment beautifully, reflecting the band itself at that time, as well as the musical era into which the then-new band was born. Highly recommended.
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By A Customer on May 24, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Now people... that this is an awesome album is not in question, but let's not go bashing on the Posies' other work. Yes, their later albums are more polished, but they are still raw compared to most of today's music. Production, if not overused, is not always a bad thing, and the Posies have used it about at well as anyone I know of. Their last record, Success, is the strongest dose of the bittersweet I've ever heard, and all their music, for that matter, has a heart-rending beauty that I've never heard anyone else duplicate. So let's just have a little respect for two of history's best songwriters, because I have a feeling that they themselves would say their later work evolved for the better.
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By dev1 on February 11, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Maybe I'm stuck in the Mersey Beat avalanche which followed the Beatles to the United States, but "Failure" by the Posies is a near perfect match.

"Longest Line" opens with a comely acoustic guitar and backup vocal harmony, then moves into a toe-tapping feel-good ditty with shimmering electric guitar. If name dropping is proper here, "Under Easy" has the Hollies majestic vocal harmonies written all over. "Under Easy" opens with the Posies typical acoustic introduction, then seaways into a easy going jingle-jangle of acoustic and electric guitars. "What Little Remains" shines with the Posies glorious vocal harmonies.

I call "Failure" delectable pop.
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