Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Everclear

  • World of Noise [Capitol, 1994] Neither
  • Sparkle and Fade [Capitol, 1995] A-
  • So Much for the Afterglow [Capitol, 1997] B+
  • Songs From an American Movie, Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile [Capitol, 2000] A-
  • Songs From an American Movie, Vol. 2: Good Time for a Bad Attitude [Capitol, 2000] *
  • Slow Motion Daydream [Capitol, 2003] Dud

Consumer Guide Reviews:

World of Noise [Capitol, 1994] Neither

Sparkle and Fade [Capitol, 1995]
In his thirties, with a load of drugs behind him and a young daughter waiting at home, Art Alexakis has a firm enough grip on his life to articulate the anguish other guitar-wielders yowl about. Where on the aptly entitled World of Noise the sharpest lyrics never quite mesh, here almost every song comes with a story, a tune, and a musical pain threshold. Its cast of struggling souls is evoked by somebody past pitying himself--somebody who's been around the block so often he's finally learned that compassion is for other people. A-

So Much for the Afterglow [Capitol, 1997]
Art Alexakis knows he got lucky and figures the surest way to maximize his success is to maximize his music, showing the strengths and weaknesses of someone you sincerely hope has found the investment counselor of his dreams. With his big riffs and self-aggrandizing evocations of a credible life, he's at his best working the timeworn audience-as-beloved trope. The title tune says everything he needs to say about follow-ups in the age of the one-shot. B+

Songs From an American Movie, Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile [Capitol, 2000]
All doubts as to Art Alexakis's punk bona fides are hereby laid to rest--he doesn't have any. Instead he chooses to whup Dave Grohl, the jerk from the Verve Pipe, and if there's any justice Rob Thomas in postgrunge's Bryan Adams sweepstakes. The corn he indulges on this fondly detailed end-of-a-marriage song cycle has nothing to do with abstracted teen agony and everything with classic Garth Brooks, except that Garth never waxed nostalgic for the days he and his honey whiled away watching porn and eating Chinese. Laying on strings, horns, synths, and backup vocals to a fare-thee-well, it makes honest peace with a pop moment when honest pop is the toughest artistic challenge there is. Volume two will supposedly return to the guitar-o-rama of his roots--without any loss of principle, one trusts. A-

Songs From an American Movie, Vol. 2: Good Time for a Bad Attitude [Capitol, 2000]
Not as mad as he says he is ("The Good Witch of the North," "Rock Star"). *

Slow Motion Daydream [Capitol, 2003] Dud