And now for a stroll down memory lane… The sound of decades past.
Notable August 1999 releases:
Days of the New – Days of the New II (Green )
Travis Meeks is one of my favorite musicians and also a classic case of “what could have been”. After his band, Days of the New, released their debut album to critical acclaim and commercial success behind singles “Touch, Peel and Stand” and “Shelf in the Room”, and “The Down Town”, they earned a spot opening for Metallica on their Reload tour. The future couldn’t be much brighter for Travis and his bandmates.
Not long after this success, Travis parted ways with the other three musicians and began recording what was essentially a solo album that he released under the Days of the New moniker, again with the same eponymous name as the first record. He plays nearly all of the instrumentation here and is joined on six of the tracks by Nicole Scherzinger on accompanying vocals. This lovely album has been called “The Green Album” by fans and shows a more classical and diverse sound than the rock-based original. Both of the first two albums are truly genius and depending on my mood I could make a case for either one being the better of the two.
Green starts with “Flight Response”, which lets the listener know pretty quickly that this is not going to be much like its predecessor. Over the sound of horses running and whinnying, the song builds itself to one of the harder-hitting tracks on the album. Nicole’s beautiful and haunting voice segues the song into the direct and questioning “The Real”, which is a common theme throughout the album: many of the tracks transition into one another, forming what can feel like an hour long symphony of sorts.
I won’t go into every song here, but if all you know of this is the radio single “The Enemy”, that is a shame. There is so much more (and better) to be heard here, including my highlights “Take Me Back Then” and the desperate pleas for forgiveness and acceptance of “Not the Same”.
Eventually Travis’s drug dependence and inconsistency in performing led to a career cut far shorter than it had any right to be, which is a damned shame. If and when his long-rumored fourth Days of the New album is released, I will be delighted to hear it – until then, his first two efforts are masterpieces worth celebrating.
Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/7gKPB1DPm0yQnVp2klk3Hl?si=zkAYNRJTRUyT5sNfOo5LIQ
Filter – Title of Record
After the surprising success of Short Bus and its uber-popular single “Hey Man Nice Shot”, the follow up took a while. This is because Richard Patrick (formerly the touring guitarist for Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails), the singer/songwriter, guitarist and only constant member of Filter, changed the lineup of musicians involved and decided to construct his own recording studio for the second album, Title of Record. What resulted was a terrific, heavy set of tunes that is best known for the outlier mellow radio hit “Take a Picture”, still Filter’s most frequently streamed song to date.
The record begins with a brief intro that leads into “Welcome to the Fold”, easily my favorite song here. Over seven and a half minutes, Richard delivers an epic onslaught of guitars, pained screams, and the protagonist begging his mother for his medicine. This song is when I fell in love with Filter, and while this album brings the goods throughout, this is the highlight.
The soft-loud approach on “Its Gonna Kill Me” is tremendous and features some fantastic grunge/metal guitars, and “Cancer” makes Richard sound downright evil, with no good intentions: “I’m the scum of the Earth, I am a cancer”. “I’m Not the Only One” finds a man accepting his fate as a man cheated, with violent wails and yet more loud and aggressive guitars. In addition to “Take a Picture”, the album closes with the soft and rather beautiful “Miss Blue”.
Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/0bsS6wybJvPfLs7cr3bj7j?si=lyd_uQU5Tse1tAReT-7Wrg
Notable August 1969 release:
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Green River
Although this runs at just over a half hour, it is an absolute classic full of the songs of everyday Americana. Green River is their second of three LPs released in ’69, and their first to hit #1 in the US. It’s also their second bestselling studio album (Cosmos Factory) and went 3x platinum.
Hard to beat this group of tracks: the title track, “Commotion”, “Bad Moon Rising”, “Lodi”, and “Wrote a Song for Everyone”. If you only know the hits, you’re missing out on some gems, like the bluesy jam that is “Tombstone Shadow”, “Sinister Purpose” or their cover of the James Brown classic “The Night Time is the Right Time”. John and Tim Fogerty are on top of their game here and this is a must listen for anyone who likes music, period.
Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/0i9mOB6mPGqwVvtJEXiwPG?si=jEj7XO39R2q3VRGFIcfjhg