Sunday, February 17, 2008

Albums that you have forgotten you love: Come On Feel The Lemonheads

It is difficult to believe that Come On Feel The Lemonheads was released 15 years ago, but it's true...and makes me feel very old! This is by no means the greatest record ever released, but if you are late 20s/early 30-something, you are likely to remember it with fondness. Equally likely is that the first image that will come into your head is Evan Dando in a flowery dress sporting bunches. Don't ask me why, but I loved those pictures of him when I was a young teen...maybe it is akin to Lisa Simpson and her subscription to 'Non-Threatening Boys' magazine!

The picture on the left is not the exact one with which I was so enamoured, but it's the closest that I am able to find on this ole t'interweb. So was the indie-grunge success of The Lemonheads just down to their undeniably easy on the eye front man? This Divinyl thinks not. And my evidence is their 1993 album.
Come On Feel The Lemonheads was, if you like, their country album; for example, Dando could hardly sound more like Gram Parsons on hit Big Gay Heart. Previous release It's A Shame About Ray may be a better all-round offering, but it is this later album that I continue to return to...and which always makes me smile.
The smiles are, of course, a lot to do with reminiscences, but they are also to do with the endearingly simple sentiments, the sunshiney accompanying vocals of Juliana Hatfield (and even Belinda Carlisle) - epitomising that 90s sound - and, whilst the lyrics can be hit and miss, there really are some gems herein.
"Patience is like bread I say/I ran out of that yesterday" (It's About Time),
"Why Can't you look after yourself and not down on me?" (Big Gay Heart) or
"Would you trust me not to break you/I'm just trying really hard to make you/Notice me being around" (on a song with otherwise questionable lyrics about "booger"s and suchlike - Being Around).
If you haven't listened to this album since those heady teenage days, stick it in the player, or download a couple of sample tracks from here...and smile! These are well written, unfussy songs (ok, with a few dodgy lyrics strewn about!). I know that I can't be objective, and I have no idea what I would think of this album should I be listening to it for the first time now but, you know what, I don't think that it's one that I could ever just dismiss.
Tracks worth revisiting: Into Your Arms, Paid To Smile, Big Gay Heart, Rest Assured, I'll Do It Anyway, Being Around, Favourite T.
Skip past: Rick James Style...a pointless, rambling and, frankly, rather rubbish revisiting of the song Style. Closing Track The Jello Fund...a complete waste of time, particularly as this runs into the 'hidden' track (such a 90s mainstay) which, at 15 minutes and 33 seconds is ridiculous use of studio and CD is mostly tuneless guitar tinkering.
That said, with those disclaimers in situ, this album is still, on the whole, a winner!

mp3: Into Your Arms - The Lemonheads (not to be confused with Nick Cave's irresistably beautiful Into My Arms)

mp3: Paid To Smile - The Lemonheads

mp3: Big Gay Heart - The Lemonheads
*Previous 'you've forgotten you love' album review of Sneaker Pimps with Becoming X.*


Neil Cake said...

Hmm... I kinda disagree. I think "Come On Feel" is a better all-round album than "It's A Shame About Ray". It's better produced and more varied, and there are 5 great ideas in pretty much every song on the album.

"Rick James Style" isn't that bad, and "The Jello Fund" is the last track, so you can just stop the cd before you get there.

Thanks for the piece on this record though. It's actually been one that I've returned to quite a lot.


Wow, what a blast from the past, eh? You're right, their debut 15 years ago makes me feel ancient..he he! My memories about The Lemonheads are filed in the same time capsule as when I just got into The Flaming Lips and Gandharvas (a Canadian indie band). Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Matthew said...

I really like this one too, and haven't listened to it for bloody ages. At the time I only remember liking it, but looking back there are more songs that I really love than I remember there being the first time round.

If that makes any sense at all.

Divinyl said...

Hi Neil...welcome, and thank you for taking the time to comment (awesome name by the way!)...this is what it's all about! I love the discussion.

'Come On Feel' is definitely more produced than 'Shame About Ray', but I think that the energy can translate a little better on the latter. As I said in the post, however, it's this one I return to more frequently...some very well-written songs.

As for "you can just stop the cd"...surely that obfuscates the point? You shouldn't have to if the CD is consistently good!

I do like it when people step up with alternative opinions here though, and very much appreciate your intelligent engagement! I'd like to know your opinions on other stuff too, so please do come back around! :o)

BB...their debut was 16 years ago (this is their sophomore album) old do you feel now? ;o)

Matthew...I really do think it's still good, at least the majority of it. Like I said, I don't think I can be entirely objective, but it's good enough for me to still be listening to it, when so much other music has come and gone since then! And, yes, that does make sense.

Music Web Navigator said...

All about The Lemonheads