Songs From An American Movie Vol. Two: Good Time For A Bad Attitude


Capitol Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


When we last heard from Art Alexakis and crew, Everclear were Learning How To Smile through the more introspective, softer songs of the series they called Songs From An American Movie. The second volume (which we'll refer to by its subtitle, Good Time For A Bad Attitude), makes sure that Alexakis and his bandmates are pissed off, plugged in and cranked up. And while this disc is a perfect complement to the first volume (there's reasons that other critics have said Alexakis should have released this as a double CD), Everclear seems more themselves when they are in full shred mode.

Oh, it's not that threre's nothing that radio would touch on this disc. Obviously, the fact that "When It All Goes Wrong Again" is getting played disproves that - yet I wouldn't have chosen that to be the first single. Instead, I'd have gone for "Rock Star," a tongue-in-cheek look at wanting to become big and gain all the "perks" that come with the gig. It could well be that Alexakis is trying to poke holes in that dream - and if this song doesn't do it, the following track "Short Blonde Hair" surely does.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

"Short Blonde Hair" seems to capture where Alexakis and his bandmates were at their near-boiling point, trying to deal with the sudden pressures of success and havin each and every moment of their lives scrutinized and publicized. I have to go out on a limb and say this is pretty much autobiographical for Alexakis, baring his soul in the only way he's truly comfortable doing so.

At times, it feels like many parts of Good Time For A Bad Attitude talk about the near-breakup of the band around the time of So Much For The Afterglow (that is if VH-1's special on Everclear was accurate, and I have no reason to doubt it). Still others feel like Alexakis looking back at his own life, be it marriage ("The Good Witch Of The North") or dealing with all the problems he's faced through the years ("All Fucked Up"), but he's able to use his words to paint a picture that any listener can not only understand, but relate to. This is why Everclear has become such a fan favorite in the last few years.

The only criticism I'd lay on this disc is the closing song, "Song From An American Movie, Pt. 2". On "Pt. 1" on Learning How To Smile, I liked the folk-ish direction that the band had the track moving in, especially with the use of mandolin. On the closing chapter, it tells more of the story (and again feels like a look inside Alexakis's life and seeing how he wishes certain chapters were different - and how some should never change), but it's done in a more electric setting. Sorry, Art - I know you don't really give a shit what critics think, but I honestly wish you had stuck with the folk-like elements to close out the story. It just felt right.

Still, Good Time For A Bad Attitude is a pleasant disc that sometimes outshines its brother in crime, and is yet another feather in Everclear's collective cap. How Alexakis and crew will top this one has yet to be seen... but why worry about that now?

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol Records, and is used for informational purposes only.