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Rock - Released January 1, 2001 | Geffen*

Since the mid-'90s, Semisonic has been inspiring the overuse of words like "literate," "smart," and "well-written" by reviewers everywhere. All About Chemistry doesn't do anything to change that: It is a suite of 12...well, smart and immaculately crafted songs, all seemingly destined for the charts, yet also possessing enough lyrical muscle to elevate them above the level of guilty pleasure. Chemistry injects a heavy dose of piano into Semisonic's former copybook college rock sound, moving the group a few steps closer to the adult pop bracket. "Sunshine and Chocolate" is full of a sensual shimmer, borne along on a tune that is peppy in the best possible way. "Act Naturally" blends sweetness, prettiness, and heartbreak in perfect proportions. "I Wish" dissolves its thwarted desires in a slow-burning, "Layla"-esque coda. And "One True Love," written with Carole King (who also sings backup and plays piano on the track), is both slightly desolate and wholly lovely -- a dream of a perfect love-to-be that also perhaps contains hints of regret for the seemingly inevitable moment when a dream is all it will turn out to be. Frontman and lyricist Dan Wilson creates interestingly human characters, people frayed by love and tossed about by contradictory impulses, not knowing what they want and wanting it all the same. Drummer Jacob Slichter proves he's no pushover in the writing department with "El Matador," a wispy and impressionistic tune that gently references Joni Mitchell while waving goodbye to the summer: "Lying on the couch defenseless/With blue clouds court and spark." Only one song feels like a dud -- "Get a Grip," a charmless but ingratiating paean to self-love that feels...er, tossed off. That apart, Chemistry is almost perfectly balanced -- sweet but not sugared, clever but not wiseass, crafted but not cold. © Leslie Mathew /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | Geffen*

20th Century Masters -- Millennium Collection: The Very Best of Semisonic leads off with their Grammy-winning hit single "Closing Time," which sets the template for the group's sound. Loud guitars, loud drums, Dan Wilson's honest and heartfelt vocals, and simple, hummable melodies put Semisonic in the category of modern bands like the Counting Crows and the Wallflowers who aren't slick but are still pop and popular. The collection features two songs from their debut EP release from 1995, Pleasure; three cuts from 1996's Great Divide, including the snappy title track; four tracks from 1998's Feeling Strangely Fine; two from 2001's All About Chemistry; and the very smooth "Over My Head" from the soundtrack to 2001's Summer Catch. The disc does a good job presenting Semisonic as one of the better bands riding the tail end of the alternative wave. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1996 | Geffen*

Out of the ashes of a group called Trip Shakespeare comes Semisonic, three guys who share a heavy melodic sense. Combining traditional rock instruments with ambient noise and electronic wizardry, they concoct an appealing sound anchored deep in rock and roll. "If I Run" is a gorgeous tune while "FNT" (which stands for "Fascinating New Thing") has hooks galore. A must for any serious fan of rock & roll with a twist. © James Chrispell /TiVo