Gin Blossoms - New Miserable Experience
The Gin Blossoms have today largely been forgotten, even by those who were active music lovers when the band was in its heyday in the nineties. There is just something that seems so uncool about admitting to liking them. OK, so I'm uncool. The band arose, like others, in the wake of the success achieved by R.E.M. and, like other bands such as the Connells, are often, unfairly compared with them. They achieved a measure of commercial success and helped establish this jangly semi-country style of rock in and around the mainstream, something which would only benefit acts such as Wilco later on.
Perhaps the reasons why they never achieved greater success than they did lies in the tragedy which dogged the band around this time. The original singer-guitarist, and the man who penned most of their songs, was Doug Hopkins. Hopkins' depression drove him to drink and the band grew tired of his alcohoilism and kicked him out of the band just before the album was recorded. Shortly after its release, he killed himself. The band never truly recaptured the same level of achievement as a result, and split up after releasing another album.
New Miserable Experience is the one album from the Gin Blossoms that cannot be overlooked. It epitomised that very style of music I have described, and because the songs covered aspects of everyday life that we can all recognise and relate to. For example take the two hit singles off the album, both Doug Hopkins penned numbers. "Hey Jealousy" is all about such a familiar scene - boy meets girl; boy falls in love with girl; boy does something dumb and girl dumps him; boy get hogwhimpering drunk and begs forgiveness; girl says no; repeat cycle. "Found out about You" is about that girl you idolised at school, the one you befriended and followed everywhere in the hope that one day she would see you as more than a friend. And then you found out that she had shagged very boy in class except you.
What makes this album stand out is the fact that, in comparison with the rather sloppy, noisy rock which was so prevalent at this time, particularly in the States with the grunge scene, New Miserable Experience is a taut and edgy rock album full of well-written songs and memorable hooks, and I always love a good hook. Even the album's clunkers, if you can call them that, have some endearing charm about them. Both are country tinged; "Cajun Song" and "Cheatin'", the latter expounding the excuse for shagging someone else least likely in the history of the world to get your girl to take you back -
"You can't call it cheatin'/Because she reminds me of you".
But there are plenty of songs on here to catch and hold your attention. Some are quite dark, such as "29" and "Hold Me Down", while others such as "Allison Road" have a much stronger American feel to them. But whatever your mood, there is something on New Miserable Experience for you. It is one of those albums which is will always remind you of people and events in the past, sometimes ones you might perhaps wish you could forget. But in the end, that is what makes any album a good one, and the Gin Blossoms struck it right with this one.
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on 2012-03-01 dscanland Said:
This album is classic power pop album. It worked it's way into the mainstream based on it's pure pop genius. It's really the only album you need by Gin Blossoms and a quintessential 90s album.