I was introduced to Semisonic the way most people my age were, from a song on their second album by the name of Closing Time. The album was called Feeling Strangely Fine and it was quite the album, one that, once you dug deeper than the frequently played song I mentioned before, it was actually very good. Don’t get me wrong, Closing Time is an excellent song, but sadly it became way overplayed for the next year or so causing many folks to pretty much ignore the talent behind it.
I was one of the one’s who loved the song so much I had to have the album. Once acquiring it, I realized that I needed to find more from this band which led me to their first EP release, Pleasure and the subject of today’s article, Great Divide.
Why This Album?
Great Divide, released in 1996, was one of the rare first albums that was damned near perfect. Then again, members Dan Wilson and John Munson had been playing under the name of Trip Shakespeare with Dan’s brother Matt since the early 90’s so it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise how good their followup band’s first album was. Coming across as a clean 90’s Power Pop album, this is one that really speaks from the heart about everything everyone goes through at some point in their life. Starting with a song that would later be featured in the film 10 Things I Hate About You, it is an album that speaks of relationships, of hardships, of love.
In many ways it is almost too perfect with each song working as a gorgeous radio friendly tune that somehow finds a way to sound Beatlesque without even trying. Led by the incredible voice of Dan Wilson, the trio consisting of Dan, John Munson and Jacob Slichter were a force to be reckoned with creating a sound that was both upbeat and soulful all at once.
This album got me through some lonely times and even reminds me of some of my favorite memories of my early twenties with some great friends who are no longer in my life. It brings back a time where I was still figuring out a lot about myself and so it has become somewhat of a time capsule for me of those times. This is one of those albums that is good to just listen to on a raining day, if you’re feeling down or even if you just want some good 90’s tunes. Even the saddest song comes across with a hopeful melody bringing it all full circle. To this day I am still a fan of Semisonic even though they broke up after their third album. Singer Dan Wilson, in the meantime, has become quite the solo artist and has become one of my favorites as well. I hope one day to get a chance to see him live in concert.
There is NOT a bad track on this album. I swear, every time I listen to it I find myself with a different favorite track. To distill them down to a few is tough so I will toss you some that are my favorites from this album at the time of this writing.
Down in Flames is a tune that every person who has ever been in love and lost that love will be instantly familiar with.
There is something about the visuals in this next song that gets me time and again. I love the lyrics
If I could I might
Send my love on a plane ride
A black cross high in a blue sky
A green cross gliding on a million pines
Brand New Baby. Wow, what a tune and what a story in that song.
Finally, In Another Life. This is one that got me through some seriously bad days. It reminds you that things will and can be better, in another life, in another time…but if you wait to long, you might miss out on something right in front of you.
Ok, Where do I get it?
At the time of this writing you can grab a copy here for around $4. If it is gone by the time you read this you might check Discogs for a cheap copy. No matter what you pay, it is totally worth it. Then again, there is always Spotify!
Late to the Game 2/26/19
Thanks for reading, If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and also check out some retro TV goodness with the ongoing series Retro TV Reviews here. You can also find a few of my other Music Reviews Here.
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