Very few things in music have been making me happy lately; the return of bubblegum pop has made me especially grumpy. But with the bad, there must also be good! The 90s have been making a bit of a comeback in the music department. In the past few mon
ths, we’ve heard new music from such acts as Fiona Apple and Garbage. You can imagine my delight when I discovered that another 90s favorite of mine was putting out a new album…Everclear.
Yes folks, Everclear is back! Invisible Stars brings a new start to the band. Lead singer Art Alexakis rounded up a fresh batch of backing musicians and channeled his roots of upbeat (despite the whiny lyrics) guitar driven music that fans of the band has always loved.
While the band has consistently been putting out music over the years, the last successful album, Return to Santa Monica released in 2011, was filled with covers and re-recorded songs of their own.
While I definitely enjoyed Invisible Stars, I must say, there is one track that stood out to me as just a miss. “The Golden Rule” sounds like the band was experimenting with a sound they’re unfamiliar with and not having much success with it. This song plays like a story being told (a typical Everclear move), but this story is a sarcastic jab at the upper class. Lines like, “Money makes everything easier, money makes me better than you,” make the song feel contrived and very phony.
On a better note, one of my favorite tracks “I Am Better Without You,” tells the story of a dysfunctional relationship that has taken for a turn for the worse (if it’s possible to get worse), and in finally put to an end. “When I hear your name, I think about the changes we refused to see, like the fact that I don’t like you and you don’t like me;” such a simple, but powerful and honest line about a toxic love affair. This song has that classic Everclear sound that I fell in love with when I first heard the band.
“Santa Ana Wind” is a love song dedicated to California, but it also sounds like a proclamation to grow up and be a better person. While I like this idea, Alexakis has got to be in his 50s by now, if he hasn’t grown up, he probably never will. My favorite line of the song is “ I wanna find a better world, I wanna find a better life.” I think we can all relate to a need for a better life.
The lead single “Be Careful What You Ask For” is a catchy and upbeat song that actually has some really dreary lyrics. Alexakis apologizes to his spouse multiple times in the song saying, “This isn’t what you asked for when you married me.” Again, this is classic Everclear. Taking what would be a dreary song for any other artist, and makes it an infectious pop rock song.
In my opinion, after years of struggling to make it back into the spotlight, Everclear has returned better than ever.