Records You Should Listen to Before You Perish Vol. 16

Semisonic – Great Divide

The plan was to burn up when the air was clear
We’d all wear our visors down
An arc welder’s spark in the atmosphere
Not this man-sized hole in the ground
Now your father’s face is frozen between anger and tears
Your mother’s hair’s amazingly grey
And I’m seeing these friends for the first time in years
It’s icicle reunion day

And you never even got to go down
Down in flames
You never even got to go down
Down in flames
You never even got to go down
Down in flames
You never, ever, ever even got to go down
Down in flames

There is just something about Minnesota.

The Minneapolis trio formed in 1995 after the break up of former band, Trip Shakespeare. Although, it wouldn’t be until a few years later that they would become household names (albeit, a one hit wonder). All that aside the years in between obscurity and, “Closing Time” features some of the best songs in their catalogue.

While initially signed to Elektra Records, after the label’s president quit, the label reaccessed it’s talent and dropped Semisonic before they had a chance to even release their first record. Luckily, MCA was waiting in the wings as a safety net fit the band.

Their blend of post-grunge, alternative rock would fit right in with the late 90’s crossover between smart college rock and adult alternative that would define the end of the millennium.

The album starts off fun and light with, “F.N.T.” (Which was also featured on the 10 Things I Hate About You soundtrack). It maintains its smooth, light hearted cruise until, “Down in Flames” the heaviest track on the album both musically and in subject material (the suicide of a friend).

The band was modestly packaged and Dan Wilson & Co were earnest with their humble approach. You won’t find guitar solos that will blow your hair back or astronomical production values but what you will find is a worthwhile, oft-overlooked gem of a record that offered heartfelt genuinity and a level of songwriting consistency rarely found even in that magical era.

Songs You Have Definitely Heard

Songs You Need to Hear

Band: Semisonic

Album: Great Divide

Released: April 9th 1996

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