Blind Melon

Capitol, 1995

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Talk about underrated! When this album came out in August of 1995, it was immediately panned and in some circles was dubbed one of the worst records of the ‘90s. Two months later, frontman Shannon Hoon died of an overdose in the band’s tour bus and the album was swept under the rug, destined to be forgotten. But then something happened, people like myself and several of my friends discovered the album and were immediately blown away by it. The first time I heard it, I was dumbstruck; I thought the album was fantastic and deserved to be heard. To this day, I still rank it in my top 20 favorite records of all time.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

From the beginning of the first single “Galaxie,” the listener is immediately captivated. This is a completely different band from the one that brought you “No Rain.” Gone are the hippie, jam-like overtones from the first record. Now what you’ve got is a clean, crisp, precise alternative rock presentation without, as guitarist Rogers Stevens once put it, “the extraneous bullshit.”

“Galaxie” is one of those songs that stands the test of time, as does “Toes Across The Floor,” the other classic on the album. Driven by a nice bass riff and a flute line, the band eases through the groove until the hard-hitting finale which features one of Hoon’s best vocal performances.

The whole tone of the album is very dark and gloomy, from the tribute to serial killer Ed Gein on “Skinned” to the overall doom of “Dumptruck.” Perhaps the album’s theme is best represented by “Car Seat (God’s Presents),” where Hoon talks about Susan Smith, who drowned her two young boys. The song is highlighted by the reading of ‘God’s Presents,” a poem written by one of Hoon’s relatives.

The bittersweet tone of “New Life,” where Hoon croons about wanting to be a good father for his newborn daughter can’t help but be seen in light of Hoon’s subsequent death. There’s just so much foreshadowing going on in the music that it almost boggles the mind, including the New Orleans jazz funeral march heard at the end of “Lemonade.”

While Hoon’s death overshadowed the release of the record, it shouldn’t overshadow the music. This is one of the best alt rock records of the ‘90s, and unlike bands like Better Than Ezra, Our Lady Peace or Eve 6, the music of Blind Melon still holds up and can stand the test of time.

Rating: A

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