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.
Today we come to the end (for now) of our Posies review series with their latest release Solid States. It has certainly been quite the journey and I am beyond thrilled that The Posies themselves have shared these reviews with all of you. Thank you so much for the support! So, here is, Solid States.
Why This Album?
One of the biggest curses for bands that have been around as long as The Posies have, is that there is an inherent tendency to keep with a specific sound. This is something that tends to curse exceedingly popular bands who are reluctant to lose fans due to their commercial success and has the unfortunate effect of forcing many bands into stagnation. The Posies, in an odd twist of fate, have managed to skirt the mainstream allowing them to be freer with their experimentation which has managed to keep them fresh and unique with each and every release. While the previous two albums had hints of change due to their time apart, Solid States comes across almost as a new path for our intrepid duo Jon and Ken.
If you try to listen to Solid States after absorbing their earlier works, you might come away a little uncertain. My first play through of this album I was not prepared for the evolution that had happened in the six years since Blood/Candy and I had to take a step back and give it a go with a new set of ears. This is not The Posies we grew up with, sure the core members are the same but they have grown up and it is much more apparent in Solid States than ever before. Looking back, it seems that Jon and Ken were trying to force themselves to be what they once were with their previous few albums but, with Solid States, these two shed that skin allowing them to just embrace who they had become in the intervening years.
Don’t worry, The power pop is still there, but behind walls of ethereal sounds and introspective lyrics. Every song feels like a new emotion that Jon and Ken are attempting to explore after a lifetime of playing music together. Between losing some of their closest friends to the uneven state of the world, these two manage to tell you all about their feelings and emotions in a way that never just feels like someone reading out of their diary. Moving between songs reminding us how powerful we can be with the aptly named We R Power!, to what sounds like a testament to lost friends in Rollercoaster Zen, each song is layered in not just it’s production but also in it’s meaning. With this, unlike much of their previous work, this is not a casual album, this is not an album that can be played and ignored as background noise, but a collection of thoughts, dreams and emotions captured awaiting for someone to spend time with them. Each song on this album is unique with each their own voice but when listened to in one sitting, you begin to hear each track echoing in one another creating something almost symphonic upon completion.
While at first I found myself unsure about this release, the more I listened to it, the more I realized that this is Jon and Ken at their finest. While I hate to say it, this album could easily be their Abbey Road, it is damn near perfect in every way and almost feels like they intended this to be the last, for real this time. It has a certain finality about it that, thankfully, we know isn’t completely true seeing that just last year they released the single Sideways. That being said, if the Posies begin to treat each album as if it were their last, then we are in for a treat with each and every new release. This album is, to me, more than just a collection of songs, it’s a reminder that there is, as the final track tells us, indeed Radiance inside of us all and you should take a moment to experience Solid State’s radiance.
This is a tough one as this album almost feels as if it needs to be played as a single entity in and of itself instead of chopping it up into snippets. That beings said, these three are the three that really stood out for me.
Scattered is a song of absolute undying love. Love for who or what, it doesn’t matter but it is all about devotion to someone or something to such a degree that you and it are almost one. It’s beautiful in every way.
Squirrel Vs Snake was the first release teasing this album and thus instantly became a favorite of mine. It is the most politically charged song they have really ever done and it echoes my feelings in a way that was almost scary at times. It’s songs like these that make me wish I could sit with Jon and Ken and have a casual conversation about life with them. I have a feeling it would be a memorable one.
Rollercoaster Zen. This is such a touching and sad song that honestly the more I listen to it, the more I love it. To me, it’s about the idea that, one day, you will see those old friends again, even when they are gone in a physical sense. It’s beautiful.
Ok, Where do I get it?
This one you can get from the folks at lojinx and even get a bonus tee shirt if you buy the right kit! It’s well worth it. Trust me, I have one of those shirts myself even though it doesnt quite fit anymore… Thanks Pandemic Weight! Or, you can listen on Spotify.
Well, that’s it for now. I anxiously await the next release from The Posies and, even if it is another six years (which I hope it’s not!), I know it will be worth it. Until then…
Late to the Game 6/29/2021
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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