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Around Christmas time I decided to buy this Semisonic album and the Toploader album, on the basis I liked two of their releases. While I thought the Toploader one was rubbish, the Semisonic one is quality. It has 12 tracks and I am still struggling to choose a favourite. As a St. Mirren fan it should be Secret Smile (the name of my website) however I alo like Singing in my Sleep, Never You Mind and This Will Be My Year. I have gone off Closing Time a bit, but it is still a great song. The music is a bit like the style of my other favourite band, Travis, with a few cheery, happy songs and a few that seem a bit deperessing! There are no tracks on this album that I really hate, but there are a few I don't like. Some of them seem to drag on for ages, and one thing I have noticed is that the endings seem terrible. I have recently purchased one of their other albums, All About Chemistry, which isn't as good, so if you are going to get one get this!
I bought this album on impulse after hearing just two songs on the track list, Closing Time and Secret Smile, which inspired me to buy the album - and I'm glad I did. Its a great shame that here in Britain, Semisonic never got the reputation or credit they deserved. This album is brilliant. It would be very hard to select anystand out tracks but Closing Time would have to be one of them but most of the other tracks on the album, in my belief could have been singles with maybe one or two exceptions. Its a great shame these days that bands like Steps and S-Club 7 rule our British charts and bands like Semisonic never get a look in. My recomendation is that you buy this album now and see how good it is for yourself. You won't be disapointed.
'Secret Smile' will always be the song Semisonic will go down in music history, a low-fi pop gem that was a massive international hit in 1999. FEELING STRANGELY FINE is worth buying for that track alone, but there is plenty more fodder here for you to picture yourself crusing through California to. Semisonic epitomises the sound of US college rock. There are thousands of bands churning out the sort of music which can be found on FEELING STRANGELY FINE, but Semisonic at least appear to show a bit of class in their songs. All are extremely catchy, radio-friendly tunes - it's the type of album where every track could potentially be a hit single. The album does therefore have something of a commerical gloss to it, but the tunes are present nonetheless. 'Secret Smile' is the best track here though. The grungey 'Closing Time', an ode to chucking out time at pubs, is also good if a little cliched. 'This Will Be My Year' and 'California' are both surprisingly strong tracks towards the end of the album,too. As is typical with these tracks, the commerical nature of all the tracks make it easy to spot a duff one - 'DND' is the one to avoid here. The customary slow track to close the album - 'Gone To The Movies' is nothing spesh either. Generally it's good stuff though, even if you have to restrain yourself from picking up the CD, shaking it violently and screaming 'be original!!' from time to time
First let me sum up a few points as to why this album is great. 1) The record has gone over 3 times platinum in the U.S, selling over 1,000,000 records 2) The Album was hailed as the best album of 1998 by Q magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine, and the Sunday Times newspaper 3) The song "Closing Time", on the album, was nominated for the best rock song at the 1999 Grammy awards 4) The single "Secret Smile" was a huge hit in 1999 in the UK, reaching number one in many countries. Now for the detail. Semisonic are from Minneapolis, and consist of 3 members - Dan Wilson, John Munson, and Jacob Sichter. "Feeling Strangely Fine" is the second release for the trio, after the critically acclaimed "Great Divide" of 1995. Their third album is due for release in the UK in the next few months. I was aware of semisonic from the beginning. A song of theirs was featured on the 10 things i hate about you movies soundtrack, which, whilst excellent, did'nt persuade me to buy their album. Then, a few years later, along they come with their huge stateside smash "Closing Time" followed by the single "Secret Smile" - a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Feeling strangely fine rides on the form of those two singles alone, each of the 10 other tracks sounding just as stunning and original, especially the third single - "Singing In My Sleep". Tracks range from the mellow, sweet, "D.N.D", to the 'excuse just to play as loud as we can' tracks, such as "All Worked Out" No one song really sounds the same, as Dan Wilsons enchanting vocals are put through their paces over the space of the 12 tracks, and used especially well in "California", telling the story of a trip to California. All songs all sound rather happy, and chirpy, undoubtedly getting the feet a tapping, and any bad moods soothed. The only exception
s to this, are the slightly haunting "Secret Smile", and perhaps "She Spreads Her Wings", which is probably the most original track of the already brilliant album. In conclusion, Semisonic are greatly under rated, and not as well known as they should be. "Secret Smile" exposed them to the mass audience, and with the announcement of the new album in spring, Semisonic are a band with huge potential, and a band to look out for in 2001.
I wasn't expecting much when I bought this album. I had heard the song "Closing Time" on the radio and had loved it's lyrics, it's piano in the background and it's guitar riffs. Then if that wasn't enough I was standing in the electronics department at Fred Meyer's just perusing the Cd's when the video started playing on one of the tv's. A good video and a good song and next thing I knew I found myself buying this near masterpiece by a group I had never heard of. I expected this CD to be like a lot of my others wherein I buy them for one song and that tends to be the only good song on. Not true here. In fact although I still love "Closing Time" I find my favorite song to be the acoustic stringed sadness etched in the last song "Gone to the Movies". What a beautiful song and a sadly memorable one too. Some poor guy has lost his girlfriend and instead of going after her he decides it's not worth it. Another great song is the semi-rocking "Singing in my Sleep" with it's wonderful rhythms and driving lyrics. All the songs on this are good in their own way. You've got slow songs, fast songs, ballads, rockers and even more(there's even an allusion to "Star Trek" in one song believe it or not which is hilarious in how it seems to come out of nowhere). Personally my favorite songs were for the most part the faster ones wherein the guitars were playing simple little riffs that were quite intoxicating. I wasn't the biggest fan of "DND" or "Secret SMile" but I don't hate them. On the contrary, they're both good songs that you just need to be in a mood for. Overall I quite simply liked this album. If you liked The Wallflowers than maybe this is for you as they seem a little similar (Heck there is even an allusion to The Wallflowers in "Gone to the Movies")in skill and musical direction. Quite good and definitely o
ne of the better albums I bought for just "One" song.
This must be one of the most underated albums that I know. The reason it is underated is because not enough people have taken the time to listen to it. None of the songs are bad, some are good and some are brilliant. "Singing in my sleep" and "All worked out" are two song that stand out: The Latter for it's great tune and superb build up held up by beatiful lyrics. In fact the whole album is beatiful, it has a strange mix, some people say it's like Travis and Oasis in one band, and I just happen to like both Travis and Oasis - well the earlier days anyway. This album is good, just give it a chance, you might even enjoy it.
This is the second album from Semisonic, although the first didn't have a major impact on the music buying public. This album includes the hits Closing Time and Secret Smile from the trio from Minneapolis. Closing Time is the best track on the album and is just excellent. It has punching rock sounds, with almost brit pop vocals over the top, combined with an genius chorus section. It is almost an anthem track which you can't help but love! The second track Singing In My Sleep thens take you further into the Semisonic album and provides agreeable music. It has a great rock musical quality, and the lyric are sung with powerful and punchy emotion. By the time Secret Smile appears as track 5 you feel like the whole album could of been released as singles, and this thought doesn't disappear for the remainder of the cd. Secret Smile being of course one of the best tracks on the album. It has been written in such a clever way, with a mix of mellow vocals one minute, then powerful ones the next. Completely Pleased (track 7) is also a brilliant track, it reminds the listener of so many other great tracks, whilst still maintaining it's individuality. It is a much more mellow moment for the album providing a quick break from the rock fare elsewhere here. The album generally has a more brit pop feel reminiscent of Blur, or Stereophonics rather than from the US. It is fantastic from edge to edge and is one of the best CD's of 98! If you don't have it then you should get it...
Upon first release, this album was criminally overlooked by the record buying public, however radio play of the sedately satisfying Secret Smile soon earnt them a place in our hearts. The phrase 'big in America' can mean many things. In this case it indicates a band with a mature style, that has led to sales of over a million in the USA. Dan Wilson's voice isn't anyhing special, but he manages to achieve many different moods through it's use alone. Loud, quiet, joyful, confused, thoughtful and most importantly, easy on the ear. 'Closing Time' is one of the songs of 1999 for me, it's meandering piano line paving the way for a rousing guitar driven chorus, together with the profound heartfelt lyrics, allowing it to make an instant impression. 'Singing In My Sleep' has a insomnia inducing honkey tonkey piano ditty from which another loud and well structured tune is crafted. The pace in places can reach a bit of a dull shuffle, California and 'She Spreads Her Wings' are quite weak songs, but being surrounded by the contained optimism of 'This Will Be My Year' and the gently moving and inspectiveness of 'Gone To The Movies' redeems the band. The pairing of acoustic guitar and sweeping violins on 'DND' work to a wholesome effect, while 'Completely Pleased' sounds vaguely like a mellowed out Aerosmith. Overall this is a highly enjoyable album which leaves you feeling more than just strangely fine.
After hearing Semisonics two single releases I immediately rushed out to get it, 'Closing Time' and 'Secret Smile' were so good that the rest of the album couldn't possible be bad, could it?? Well the answer is no, it isn't bad, but it certainly doesn't live up to the standards of the two tracks I mentioned above. But then I suppose thats why they were released as singles!! The second track, 'Singing in my Sleep' is worthy of note , it has a similar slow philosophical style to 'Closing Time', 'Made To Last' is Catchy and 'DND' has a nice tune but apart from that the album is unremarkable. It is worth buying, but only just. Not as good as I had hoped.
I would expect that many people have this album in their top 5 CDs of all time list and for good reason. You have to wonder why Semisonic didn’t break through sooner given they had two very good albums preceding this one. As usual you have to put it down to the British charts being dominated by Euro-trash and poppy boy bands who sing about love from the point of view of 10 year old girls. ‘Closing Time’ opens the album in the style you want to be accustomed to. A great track which sadly didn’t manage to follow ‘Secret smile’ into the UK tracks but thankfully many people bought this album on the strength of that one song. ‘Singing In My Sleep’ is so catchy you just want to play it to everybody who you can get close enough to your stereo. At times Semisonic remind you of REM and the Barenaked Ladies which are not bad comparisons. The last track on the album ‘Gone To The Movies’ has to be my favourite. It’s an acoustic guitar driven lament about losing a girl who you desperately want back in your life again or then it could be about wanting a girl who doesn’t even recognise you exist but whatever it means to different people, it’s a beautiful song. Buy this album please even if it’s just so you can look back at the end of the 90’s and say “well at least it wasn’t all boy bands”.
SemiSonic. I feel like I should like it. Calafornia and Gone To The Movies are two excellent tunes, as is Singing In My Sleep. However, there are a number of songs that once seemed fairly good, but now seem just frustrating. The likes of Never You Mind and Made To Last just get annoying, once the initial feel good factor runs off. If you like a good inie song, these American imposters may make you feel a bit ill, despite being rather paletable to the U.S tongue. Closing Time and Secret Smile seemed excellent songs when I heard them on the radio, but even now their effect seems to have dissapeared. Compared to the likes of Oasis, Embrace and the Stereophonics, Semisonic don't get a look in. However, don't regard this as all negative, the songs I mentioned at the start are all worth sticking your ear too, and I think I'll just slip in the song DND, here, as another one you may like. The other songs are a strange pop/rock/indie hybrid, with the emphasis towards pop...and may, therefore, prove to be a useful stepping stone between the different music worlds....but not everyone will like this particular circular disc.
Why is it that if you have the slightest hint of talent in the music world today there is absolutely no chance of getting anywhere in the UK charts? Feeling Strangely Fine is an excellent example of this as it is full of top-quality music such as Secret Smile and Closing Time. But the lesser known titles on this album such as never you mind and california are just as good. However the main advantage of this album is the fact that you still feel upbeat when listening to it, which a lot of albums in this genre never do.
After recently seeing Semisonic at Glastonbury 2000, I have become a massive fan of Semisonic. The only song I had ever heard was "Secret Smile" which why I was amazed to find such a fantastic but not commercial band. "Feeling Strangely Fine" is the best album I have heard in a long time. I am now fastly becoming a dedicated fan to one of the best bands I have heard in years. I advise that if you like music such as Travis, then buy this album immediately. They may not be as commecial as Travis but are just as good, if better than the fantastic Travis.
This album is tops. With its feel good style and great sound this album is so good to listen to whatever mood your in. I assure you that after only a couple of listens to this album you will be singing the lines all the time. If you liked the singles which were "Closing Time" and "SEcret Smile" then you will love this album. Only drawback is that it finishes and that it does not continue for ever. But I do certainly recommend this album if you found the singles good then this album will not disappoint.
This is the sort of album which you keep meaning to buy for ages, and when you finally do, you wish you had bought it in the beginning. It's also been out for quite a while now (Q magazine best-album 1998), although it has only recently become more popular. It is addictive to listen to from the first playing, and it doesn't fade - you still want to listen to it months on, and it is far more durable than many of the current chart CDs. Secret smile is a now infamous song, and the album version is even better than the single. Closing time is also excellent and the other tracks grow on you quickly. 'All worked out' is very harmonic and up-beat. 'California' is refreshing, and 'Singing in my Sleep' is infectious. All in all, an excellent CD, about 9 great songs out of 12, but they're all good.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Closing Time
2 Singing In My Sleep
3 Made To Last
4 Never You Mind
5 Secret Smile
7 Completely Pleased
8 This Will Be My Year
9 All Worked Out
11 She Spreads Her Wings
12 Gone To The Movies