There are only a handful of, what I would consider, perfect Albums in existence. To me the perfect Album is a collection of songs that, while good on their own, must be listened to as an entire piece in order to be fully appreciated. Each song is placed in a way that not only complements the song before it, but enriches your experience with each subsequent track leaving you fully satisfied by the end of the last piece. These are albums that stand the test of time and you always find yourself returning to over time. I have a few that I consider to be in this category and this is one of them.
Why This Album?
I was introduced to The Anniversary midway through their short career. Although they released their first EP in 1998, it wasn’t until 2000 that the album Designing a Nervous Breakdown crossed my path. I enjoyed it, It had all of the post-grunge trappings but with a touch of the pre-grunge pop. I could see influences of my favorite 90’s bands wrapped up in this album, but, although enjoyable, it was just a record that ended up on constant rotation but nothing that changed how I felt or stuck with me in a permanent manner.
I lost track of the band shortly after and, it wasn’t until a few years later that my brother in law, who introduced me to Nirvana many years before, told me about The Anniversary’s breakup and that their last album was a masterpiece. I was skeptical on it being a masterpiece, but seeing that I enjoyed their first full length album, I gave it a try. Boy was I delighted.
The moment I put this album on, I could tell that this was something special. From the opening drums of ‘Sweet Marie’ to the jangy guitar and breathy vocals of ‘Tu-Whitt Tu-Whoo’, I was entranced.
It is not often that we are graced with an album this well written and this well performed. Every track is purposeful and not a second of sound is wasted in the 11 songs that make up this 2001 release. There is literally not a bad song here and that in itself is quite a feat. The vocals of Josh Berwanger, Andrianne Pope and Justin Roelofs blend masterfully with the guitar, bass, keyboard and drums of James David, Christian Jankowski and the aforementioned vocalists. Every song on this album could be a single of it’s own all the while playing off of one another to create a blend of sound not unlike a painting. Much like the Beatles did with Abbey Road, I could hear that this band wanted to put out a perfect album before they called it quits and boy did they succeed.
I still listen to this album some 17 years after it’s release and it still impacts me like it did the first time. I can not recommend a better album from such an underappreciated band. You’ll either absolutely love it, or instantly hate it. There is no in-between. That in itself makes it a perfect album and there really is no grey area here, only a pure emotional response.
This is tough. I really do like every song on the album to near equal status. There is literally not a bad song in the bunch and they are best appreciated as a single piece to be listed to in order.
So with that, here is the entire album. Listen to it in full. Appreciate this one moment of genius from a band you have likely never heard before. Then, After you love it, go buy a copy for your collection so that you have it for eternity.
Ok, Where do I get it?
At the time of this writing you can snag a copy of the CD for about $5 from Amoeba Records. It’s worth so much more, but you really should just buy it. You can also stream it on Spotify if you have an account. If you don’t, well that’s on you.
If you like this one, Their other album Designing a Nervous Breakdown can be found on Spotify as well as their great B sides and Rarities release entitled Devil on Our Side.
Well, there you go. I hope you enjoy this gem as much as I do. If you listen to it, or already have listened to it, please let me know your thoughts!
Late to the Game 7/28/2020
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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