Stand Out Albums has been a showcase for my favorite albums across the vast performers that I love. Covering a little bit of everything from classic rock to country hits, much like Key Movies of My Life, it has been the albums that shaped me. This year, I am taking a slightly different approach by discussing the discographies of my favorite musicians, album by album, in release order.
Since we have already discussed The Beatles and Nirvana, lets leap into a band that quickly became my all time favorite and I only discovered due to my love for Nirvana. The band, The Posies, the album Failure.
Why This Album?
Although Failure was this band’s first release, I did not get a chance to listen to it until later in my discovery of their music. My first introduction to this band was through a handful of compilation discs that I purchased due to their inclusion of rare or unreleased Nirvana songs, specifically DGC Rarities. DGC Rarities Volume 1 contained a smattering from several bands I already loved but when I hit the track Open Every Window, I was dumbstruck on how good this band was. So, I did what any music fan of the time did, I went to my local Camelot Music and looked for more from this band. What I found was not Failure, but their 2nd album Dear 23. From that moment on, well, I knew I was hooked. I go into further detail in my Posies Journey here if you want to read about that, but let’s talk about the album ‘Failure’ shall we?
Released through indie label PopLlama Records, Failure was the first full LP released by The Posies consisting solely of Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow. Opening with Blind Eye’s Open it is instantly clear that, even though these guys emerged during the advent of the Seattle Grunge Scene, there were not following that trend, no, Instead Ken and Jon opted for a more harmonic pop style channeling Lennon/McCartney harmonies with a Hollies sensibility.
What is incredible about this album is just how tight and unified Jon and Ken are as The Posies. While they had already been playing together for a couple years at this point, this album feels like it came from a duo who had been together for decades. The irony in the name of the album itself ‘Failure’ is not lost on such a tremendously written and performed piece of work. This album is far from a failure but, their career as one of the most talented but underappreciated bands of the 90’s was just starting.
Although The Posies style is one of upbeat pop, the constant theme is that of love, heartbreak and teenage angst as was the theme at the time. The thing that makes this album stand out is, even though it is a very angst driven collection of songs, there is a constant and subtle reminder even if things get bad, they won’t last forever. Sure, life can be bittersweet, but it’s the sweetness that keeps you coming back for more.
To me, every time I hear this album it takes me back to those early days when every song and every album I found was new and fresh. It brings me back to a time when I had begun to discover who I was in this world and, of course, it was music that helped usher me into that strange and exciting world of self discovery and The Posies were no small part of that journey.
The song that I can never get enough of is probably their most popular on this album and that is I May Hate You Sometimes. If you have ever been in a relationship with anyone, you know exactly what this song is about. Love and hate are really just two sides of the same coin and it is so easy to feel one or both at the same time.
A Least For now. This one is one that is both sorrowful and a reminder that things get better. One thing I love about this track is how it it depicts the nature of Anxiety and depression. With lyrics like ‘A healthy dose of deep depression keeps you comfortably smug. Life without it you cant image, it’s become your favorite drug.’ have become so much more meaningful for me as I get older. Sure, as a youth I saw this as an acknowledgment of my own frustration and powerlessness, but now, wow, it’s clearly reminding me that depression is indeed addictive and to hold on to those good moments because you will certainly need them for when things are rough.
Ironing Tuesdays. This one really hit home when I ended up in my first serious (and rather abusive) relationship. I never had much luck early in life with love and, but this song seemed as if it was written about all of those mishaps and then some. Thankfully all of that is behind me now and life, uh, found a way, but this one hit close to home for sure.
Ok, Where do I get it?
This is one that has fairly recently been rereleased with bonus tracks so you get even more than I did when I first listened to this one. Grab a copy here or, as usual, listen on Spotify!
Thanks for taking this first step in the Posies Journey with me! Next week we discuss the first full album I owned from them, Dear 23. Until then!
Late to the Game 5/11/2021
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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2 thoughts on “Stand Out Albums: The Posies ‘Failure’ (1988)”
The band were touring Amazing Disgrace in the U.K. and I’d travelled over to Manchester, (from Sheffield), to see them.
It was the first time I’d seen them after discovering and buying Failure.
I managed to have a chat to Jon before the show and asked if there might be a chance of them doing Under Easy, (my favourite track from the album).
Jon said it was up to Joe as they’d never played it with him.
Half way through their set, Jon announced, “this is for the guy who asked for it.” An excellent version ensued, with Ken shouting the changes to Joe!
After the gig I went up to Joe and thanked him, to which he replied, “so you’re the guy huh?” While (jokingly), grabbing my shirt front! We had a good laugh about it.
A great guy. Always willing to talk.
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That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing!!!