The Posies

Pop Llama Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Alison Bellach


A bitter battle was waged last summer. A battle that would consume all of the time and energy of those involved; a battle between the good hearted and those who wished to squash the wills of those who wanted to succeed merely because they were evil; a battle between Alison and her boss.

In fact, the battle was waged over a simple little music festival in Seattle, called Bumbershoot, which Alison desperately wanted to attend due to the fact that one of the bands she had loved for a long time, the Posies, were playing there. Her boss, on the other hand, felt that there was no need for this frivolity; he, instead, demanded that she spend at least 12 hours of that day in front of a computer doing nothing remotely useful to the company (unlike, of course, the very useful stuff she usually did).

So, inside the electronic dungeon, Alison pined away for the Posies. Little did she know that that pining would be only followed by remorse and anger when she found, later that month, that the Bumbershoot show was her last opportunity to see the band - they had broken up! (No!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

This break up, though, was pre-empted by the release of the Posies fifth and final album, ironically titled my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Success. (Their first album, also on the same label, was called Failure; the other 3 were released on a different label. Talk about cyclical.) So, Alison was somewhat saved... although she was still bitter.

Amazing Disgrace, the Posies' previous offering, marked a somewhat dramatic change in the band's sound and musical attitude; their sweet poppy sound, underlined by dark and sometimes sarcastic lyrics, was replaced by bitter ranting and blunt disgust for the music industry itself. The album earned itself a "Parental Warning" sticker for two songs: "Everybody Is A Fucking Liar" and "Ontario" (which features the word "shit"). This was definitely a surprise for anyone expecting something remotely similar to "Dream All Day," one of the Posies biggest hits and a single from the previous album, Frosting On The Beater, which, well, didn't contain any swearing or overtly negative emotions at all.

Success, sound-wise, is more reminiscent of the days before Amazing Disgrace. Once again, the songs sound sweeter and are not as obviously angry. That is not to say, though, that they lost the edge developed during that one furious album; songs like "Looking Lost" have that hard-rock guitar rift which just screams "I am NOT HAPPY!"

The saddest thing that one realizes when listening to this album is that the Posies, who perfected the sweet sentiment (even if it was a bitter one), aren't going to be around anymore. "You're The Beautiful One," which clocks in at almost six minutes, is a long, bittersweet, wonderful ode. This song makes me want to cry every time I hear it. "There's no kiss; no kiss I'd trade for you / there's no kiss; no disciple I wouldn't betray for you / you're the beautiful one, of course you knew…" Oh boy, if I could only make you know how that sounds, people. Go find a RealAudio stream. I mean it.

Even worse, who else in the world is going to write a love song about a typewriter?! ("Farewell Typewriter") It hurts, man.

The main question that people have had since the breakup of the band, and especially after listening to the pure genius that is most of this record, is "Why?" There is no real competition in the music arena for the genre that the Posies covered. The only other one which comes to mind is Toad The Wet Sprocket, and look! They broke up too! It's a conspiracy against power pop!

Overall, if you love the Posies, you will love this album. Even if you don't like the Posies, I think you'll find this album pretty damn good. The album encompasses all of the changes the band has made during the years; now it's time to wave goodbye.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Alison Bellach 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 Pop Llama Records, and is used for informational purposes only.