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Rock - Released October 7, 1997 | Capitol Records

Sparkle and Fade became a surprise hit thanks to "Santa Monica," a gritty, infectious grunge hit that captured Everclear at their best. Like many grunge and post-grunge rockers, however, Everclear's leader, Art Alexakis, felt constrained by his modest success and its implications, deciding to take his band in new experimental directions for their follow-up album, So Much for the Afterglow. As the title suggests -- as well as song titles like "One Hit Wonder," "White Men in Black Suits," and "Everything to Everyone" -- Alexakis is feeling a bit ambivalent about his success, believing that it's only a transient thing. He may be right -- So Much for the Afterglow lacks anything as catchy as "Santa Monica." He attempts to compensate by adding a more elaborate production, complete with Beach Boy harmonies and guest musicians. The result sounds cluttered, not symphonic, and distracts from Everclear's strength as a straight-ahead grunge trio. There are several songs on the album that do showcase the group at their best, but they aren't enough to excuse the confused attempts at progression that make So Much for the Afterglow a muddled affair. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 1995 | Capitol Records

Everclear's major-label debut is a tough, melodic set of gnarled post-punk hard rock. An easy comparison is Nirvana, but Everclear's music is closer to the country-rock leanings of Screaming Trees -- underneath their loud, grungy guitars there is a distinct rootsiness lacking in most Seattle bands and that gives Sparkle and Fade its edge. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Rock - Released January 1, 2004 | Capitol Records

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Everclear, or more specifically their lead singer/songwriter Art Alexakis, were a little more ambitious than the rest of the second-wave grunge bands. They weren't tied to the all-guitars, all-the-time aesthetic, leaping to incorporate synths into their sound on So Much for the Afterglow, their 1997 follow-up to their 1995 breakthrough Sparkle and Fade, and they also released a two-part concept album in 2000s twin records Songs From an American Movie. Alexakis had a broader world view than a lot of the angst-ridden grungers. Perhaps because he was a little bit older than his peers, he approached subjects like parental relationships ("Father of Mine") and marriage ("I Will Buy You a New Life") with a nuanced touch, which not only gave them a distinct personality, but opened up doors at adult alternative radio. For as often as Everclear touched on this sensitive spin on grunge, they just as often -- if not more frequently -- went for easy social commentary, silly jokes or vulgarity, as epitomized by "Volvo Driving Soccer Mom" which pulls off the hat trick. They also could fall on their face musically, reaching too far or trying too hard for a hit, as they did on the unabashed exercise in '70s nostalgia "AM Radio," which was delivered about seven years too late. That inconsistency could make them frustrating as album artists -- every time they clicked, they were undercut by one of their flaws -- but it made them a reliably satisfying staple on modern rock radio in the '90s, since they turned out a series of very good post-grunge hits. That in turn makes them a great candidate for a greatest-hits collection, and their first, Ten Years Gone: The Best of Everclear 1994-2004, was released in the fall of 2004. This contains the big hits that stand the test of time -- the career-making "Santa Monica," "Wonderfull," "Everything to Everyone," "I Will Buy You a New Life," "When It All Goes Wrong Again," "Father of Mine," even "Volvo Driving Soccer Mom" -- but it doesn't contain all the charting singles: in chronological order (and in descending order of importance), the missing hits are "Heartspark Dollarsign," "One Hit Wonder" and "Out of My Depth." Since Ten Years Gone weighs in at a hefty 21 tracks, it's kind of amazing that there was no room for them anywhere on this collection, but apart from "Heartspark Dollarsign," they're not really missed. The bigger problem is that, no matter how generous this running time is, it's simply too much Everclear -- at this length, their inconsistency peeks through, even if this does contain the big hits and important album tracks. Then again, that inconsistency was a big part of the band, so it's accurate to have the collection be a bit inconsistent too, and even this is uneven, it's more consistent than any of their proper albums. Most importantly, it's best moments are proof that Everclear as a band and Art Alexakis as a songwriter delivered some of the stronger post-grunge radio hits of the '90s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2013 | Capitol Records

Though Everclear's sound wasn't particularly distinctive in the post-grunge 1990s, the band's singer and songwriter Art Alexakis penned melodies and lyrics substantial enough to make them stand out from the pack. Best Of brings together ten of Everclear's biggest hits, providing a concise, well-selected sampler of Alexakis' songcraft and the band's expansive, melodic rock. Fans seeking a more complete collection should look for the 2004 compilation Ten Years Gone, which doubles the number of Best Of's tracks, but in many ways, this pared down blast of the band's best is the ideal introduction. © TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2000 | Capitol Records

If the two-part title weren't enough of a tip-off, let's make this clear: Songs from an American Movie, Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile is a concept album, based on Everclear leader Art Alexakis' divorce. Many pop musicians have mined this territory before, but Alexakis pulls off an ingenious move by dividing his divorce album in two parts and two records, separating falling in love from the fallout. Learning How to Smile is the courtship album, painting a picture of when everything was wonderful. He goes back further than that, returning to his childhood, specifically the sparkling, catchy late-'60s and '70s pop that provided the soundtrack to his coming of age. It's all innocent, from the sounds and melodies to the aesthetic; at first, it's hard to tell that this music was made in the wake of a divorce. As the album unfolds, certain themes of regret, sadness, and longing run to the surface, but they're all coated in glittering pop melodies and big rock riffs that mask the emotions of the songs. And, make no mistake, Alexakis is digging deep into his psyche, especially at the end of the record as the romance begins to fall apart. What makes Learning How to Smile work -- and an album this ambitious could easily have collapsed under its own weight -- is that the songs are strong and smart and are given savvy productions that make them sound even smarter. Very few of Everclear's peers could have pulled off an album that skillfully balances such an arty concept with such strong, strikingly revealing songs. Songs from an American Movie, Vol. 1 is the band's best, most consistent effort to date -- and certainly whets the appetite for the sequel. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 24, 2015 | The End Records

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Rock - Released October 6, 2009 | Savoy

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Instead of releasing another full-blown collection of new songs, Everclear issued In a Different Light in the fall of 2009. Harking back to the earliest days of rock & roll, when rock & rollers cut new versions of their old hits whenever they signed to a new label, Everclear redo their old tunes for 429 Records, but where Fats Domino and Chuck Berry pretty much stuck to the letter of their original hits, Everclear revamp these tunes, not so much making them into unplugged versions but turning them into something studiously mature and age appropriate, with the energy dialed down and the palette expanded yet muted. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 21, 2000 | Capitol Records

Everclear separated their double album into two different records, isolating the poppier songs (thematically, the courtship songs) onto the first album, leaving Songs From an American Movie, Vol. 2: Good Time for a Bad Attitude as the hard rock record (thematically, the divorce songs, or, as Art Alexakis puts it, "When It All Goes Wrong Again"). This may have concentrated their talents a little bit too much, but it does result in two pretty dynamic, effective records -- albums whose connections only become apparent through close listening, which is a compliment. If Good Time pales slightly to its predecessor, it's because it isn't as sonically varied as Vol. 1, even if it's still quite catchy. And this is the great thing about Everclear's advanced age, compared to their peers -- they not only have a greater musical reach, they are stronger craftsmen, not afraid to give their big riffs big melodies and pacing the record well, even if it winds up being heavy on hard rockers. Yes, sometimes they seem a little out of step -- the Spike character on "Babytalk" seemed just as out of date when Tom Petty wrote about him on 1986's Southern Accents -- but this is still a stronger post-grunge record than most, heavy on heavy rock, fine songcraft, and lyrics. If Alexakis occasionally delves into inadvertent misogyny, he balances it with sharp wit and warm humanity, plus fine riffs and melodies. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released December 27, 2011 | Cleopatra Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 27, 2011 | Cleopatra Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | Capitol Records

Aging was never going to be an easy task for Everclear. Led by Art Alexakis, a singer/songwriter who was just a little older than the rest of his post-grunge peers, perhaps inevitably led to his tackling subjects outside of the range of the Seven Mary Threes of the world; but that wasn't as much of a problem as the fact that his band was a career band in an era where the music industry and the audience generally ignored career bands. So, after their time in the sun in the mid- '90s, they earned the license to stretch -- resulting in the two-part album, Songs from an American Movie, in 2000 -- but they did it at a time when audiences were fickle, and they lost a big part of their fan base between the two records (Learning How to Smile debuted in the Top Ten that July; that November, its successor, Good Time for a Bad Attitude, peaked at a humiliating 66). The thing is, the band didn't get worse between those two records; if anything, they were more effective than ever in tying their hard rock and ambitious pop leanings together on Learning How to Smile, while Alexakis' songwriting remained sturdy and tuneful. In a different era, say 20 years earlier, they could have sustained a career as a good journeyman rock group, but stakes were higher in the post-alternative world and it was possible for the band to do good work without receiving any credit, while simultaneously stretching themselves too far in an attempt to get noticed thereby hurting the overall record. And that's the problem with Slow Motion Daydream, which consolidates the strengths and weaknesses of Songs from an American Movie on one disc. At its best, the album illustrates that Alexakis is a very good rock songwriter and his songs sound the best with just a little bit of pop gloss. That combination can be irresistible, as it is on the opening two tracks, along with a couple other incidents later in the album (including the "hidden" bonus track; a good song -- one of the best on the record -- but its very presence makes this album seem like a '90s artifact). But for every shining moment, there are missteps, which fall into two categories. First, there's Alexakis' perennial tin ear, resulting in embarrassing stabs at social commentary in "Volvo Driving Soccer Mom," and the misguided "New York Times." More problematic is his commitment to the absurd notion, shared by many of his peers, that sub-Brian Wilson sunshine pop arrangements are the height of "adventurous" rock, resulting in debacles like the bungled baroque strings on "Science Fiction," and similar stumbles like "Chrysanthemum." That there aren't as many flops as there are good songs is something only the dedicated will notice, unfortunately, because journeymen rockers like this aren't paid attention to in 2003, and failed ambitions are more likely to earn ire than note from critics. Which is too bad, because Everclear and Slow Motion Daydream deserve better -- they may not be consistent, but when they deliver, they're still as good as they ever were. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2008 | Capitol Records

Booklet
It has been said that the key to a successful cover is making the song sound like your own. By that measure, Everclear are very successful indeed, as every song on The Vegas Years -- a covers collection consisting partially of new cuts and previously released material, much like Poison's Poison'd!, released in 2007 on Capitol, the very same label that put out The Vegas Years -- bears the unmistakable heavy hand of Art Alexakis, who leans on heavy muted eighth-note rhythms through many of these 14 songs. When he's not pumping out these staccato guitar riffs -- he can't even resist them on a cover of Neil Young's "Pocahontas" -- he dresses "Rich Girl" up in "A.M. Radio" pop threads, turning it into something that could have fit into either half of Songs from an American Movie. All this means that if you read a song title here and imagine how Everclear would cover it, you'd be exactly right, as they make "This Land Is Your Land" into a sequel to "I Will Build You a New Life" and turn both Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back in Town" and Cheap Trick's "Southern Girls" into lead-footed boogies. Again, according to the yardstick of turning songs into their own, this succeeds -- but whether that makes for enjoyable listening all depends on whether you find Everclear's increasingly stiff and staid post-grunge irresistible or not. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 1, 2011 | Cleopatra Records

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Punk / New Wave - Released October 11, 2019 | DO IT Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 27, 2015 | The End Records

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Rock - Released September 12, 2006 | Eleven Seven Music

Art Alexakis always was, for all intents and purposes, Everclear, so the fact that he's the only remaining original member on the group's seventh album Welcome to the Drama Club doesn't really affect the sound of the band all that much: it's still the same melodic grunge that has defined the group since Sparkle and Fade. But where the Everclear on that 1995 debut was a lean power trio, the Everclear on Welcome to the Drama Club is a full-bodied quintet comprised entirely of pros -- and that includes Alexakis, too, who long ago left behind the taut rock & roll that made "Santa Monica" a post-grunge classic. Like the two-part Songs from an American Movie -- the ambitious fourth and fifth album song cycles that derailed Everclear's commercial momentum -- this album finds a rock songwriter with lots of pop ambitions, dressing this record up with multi-tracked harmonies, swirling psychedelia, clavinets borrowed form '70s funk, occasional banjoes, and oodles of organs, and he now has a faceless but crackerjack collection of pros to help execute his plan precisely. This makes Welcome to the Drama Club streamlined and crisp, and sometimes a little bit too orderly for its own good. It lacks both the gut-level attack of his best mid-'90s work and the endearing messiness of his turn-of-the-century concept albums, which means it's not as compelling as the albums made by the original trio, since it never feels as immediate or human as that group. But even if Alexakis' new Everclear feels a little fussy -- a little too fussy for his songs, which display ambition but are always at their best when kept to their simplest -- he still remains an intriguing ball of contradictions with a gift for a hook. He remains leaden with his humor -- the sanctimonious "Hater" might be the worst offender here, but it has stiff competition from the likes of the self-mythologizing "A Shameless Use of Charm" -- but his hooks are still heavy and melodic, which makes Welcome to the Drama Club easy to listen to, even if it is too tidy. At the very least, the album proves that Alexakis is not only a pro, but a survivor: stripped of all his old bandmates and his old label, he's carrying on with music that is a worthy, logical successor to his original music, even if it's not quite as forceful, immediate or memorable. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Punk / New Wave - Released September 7, 2012 | DO IT Records

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Rock - Released September 12, 2006 | Eleven Seven Music

Art Alexakis always was, for all intents and purposes, Everclear, so the fact that he's the only remaining original member on the group's seventh album Welcome to the Drama Club doesn't really affect the sound of the band all that much: it's still the same melodic grunge that has defined the group since Sparkle and Fade. But where the Everclear on that 1995 debut was a lean power trio, the Everclear on Welcome to the Drama Club is a full-bodied quintet comprised entirely of pros -- and that includes Alexakis, too, who long ago left behind the taut rock & roll that made "Santa Monica" a post-grunge classic. Like the two-part Songs from an American Movie -- the ambitious fourth and fifth album song cycles that derailed Everclear's commercial momentum -- this album finds a rock songwriter with lots of pop ambitions, dressing this record up with multi-tracked harmonies, swirling psychedelia, clavinets borrowed form '70s funk, occasional banjoes, and oodles of organs, and he now has a faceless but crackerjack collection of pros to help execute his plan precisely. This makes Welcome to the Drama Club streamlined and crisp, and sometimes a little bit too orderly for its own good. It lacks both the gut-level attack of his best mid-'90s work and the endearing messiness of his turn-of-the-century concept albums, which means it's not as compelling as the albums made by the original trio, since it never feels as immediate or human as that group. But even if Alexakis' new Everclear feels a little fussy -- a little too fussy for his songs, which display ambition but are always at their best when kept to their simplest -- he still remains an intriguing ball of contradictions with a gift for a hook. He remains leaden with his humor -- the sanctimonious "Hater" might be the worst offender here, but it has stiff competition from the likes of the self-mythologizing "A Shameless Use of Charm" -- but his hooks are still heavy and melodic, which makes Welcome to the Drama Club easy to listen to, even if it is too tidy. At the very least, the album proves that Alexakis is not only a pro, but a survivor: stripped of all his old bandmates and his old label, he's carrying on with music that is a worthy, logical successor to his original music, even if it's not quite as forceful, immediate or memorable. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2000 | Capitol Records

Everclear separated their double album into two different records, isolating the poppier songs (thematically, the courtship songs) onto the first album, leaving Songs From an American Movie, Vol. 2: Good Time for a Bad Attitude as the hard rock record (thematically, the divorce songs, or, as Art Alexakis puts it, "When It All Goes Wrong Again"). This may have concentrated their talents a little bit too much, but it does result in two pretty dynamic, effective records -- albums whose connections only become apparent through close listening, which is a compliment. If Good Time pales slightly to its predecessor, it's because it isn't as sonically varied as Vol. 1, even if it's still quite catchy. And this is the great thing about Everclear's advanced age, compared to their peers -- they not only have a greater musical reach, they are stronger craftsmen, not afraid to give their big riffs big melodies and pacing the record well, even if it winds up being heavy on hard rockers. Yes, sometimes they seem a little out of step -- the Spike character on "Babytalk" seemed just as out of date when Tom Petty wrote about him on 1986's Southern Accents -- but this is still a stronger post-grunge record than most, heavy on heavy rock, fine songcraft, and lyrics. If Alexakis occasionally delves into inadvertent misogyny, he balances it with sharp wit and warm humanity, plus fine riffs and melodies. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 21, 2000 | Capitol Records

Everclear separated their double album into two different records, isolating the poppier songs (thematically, the courtship songs) onto the first album, leaving Songs From an American Movie, Vol. 2: Good Time for a Bad Attitude as the hard rock record (thematically, the divorce songs, or, as Art Alexakis puts it, "When It All Goes Wrong Again"). This may have concentrated their talents a little bit too much, but it does result in two pretty dynamic, effective records -- albums whose connections only become apparent through close listening, which is a compliment. If Good Time pales slightly to its predecessor, it's because it isn't as sonically varied as Vol. 1, even if it's still quite catchy. And this is the great thing about Everclear's advanced age, compared to their peers -- they not only have a greater musical reach, they are stronger craftsmen, not afraid to give their big riffs big melodies and pacing the record well, even if it winds up being heavy on hard rockers. Yes, sometimes they seem a little out of step -- the Spike character on "Babytalk" seemed just as out of date when Tom Petty wrote about him on 1986's Southern Accents -- but this is still a stronger post-grunge record than most, heavy on heavy rock, fine songcraft, and lyrics. If Alexakis occasionally delves into inadvertent misogyny, he balances it with sharp wit and warm humanity, plus fine riffs and melodies. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo