you can't call it cheatin', 'cause she reminds me of you


Gin Blossoms


I know these guys from that "I found out about youuuuuu" song. I found their entire discography (minus an EP) on cassette for $2. So I bought it. And now I'm reviewing them. Turns out they're pretty much a less-talented version of Toad the Wet Sprocket.

lineup: who cares?

review index: New Miserable Experience / Congratulations I'm Sorry

missing albums: none

New Miserable Experience - 1992

Rating: ***
Best songs: Found Out About You, Hey Jealousy, Cajun Song, Cheatin'
Worst songs: heh heh, suuuure...


There's not a whole lot to say about these guys. Aside from the country-rock "Cheatin'" and the accordion-driven "Cajun Song", this is all mid-tempo guitar pop that's distorted enough to be called "rock", but not enough to actually offend anyone, other than those ultra-right-wing religious people that think all rock music is evil.

So basically the hits ("Hey Jealousy" and "Found Out About You") and the two aforementioned songs are the only ones that really stand out. My favorite is "Found Out About You" -- the arpeggiated rhythm guitar and vocal harmonies are clearly a take-off of Toad the Wet Sprocket, but there are lots of worse bands that they could've imitated. The rest is a little faceless, though some of the other songs have some points of interest: "Until I Fall Away" has some nice harmonizing, and "Hands Are Tied" comes dangerously close to having an edge. Or at least an Adam Clayton. Overall, this disc (tape) is a solid if unexceptional collection of modern pop-rock tunes.

Congratulations I'm Sorry - 1996

Rating: **1/2
Best songs: Follow You Down, Day Job, Not Only Numb, I Can't Figure You Out
Worst songs: *cough* er... okay, okay, how about Seventh Inning Stretch?


Guitarist/songwriter Doug Hopkins quit/was fired after the first one. Bad idea, as he wrote both the hits from the last album. Consequently, there's only one radio standard on this one ("Follow You Down"), which is probably the best and most memorable song on here: a peppy poppy rocker with a harmonica hook. That last sentence was brought to you by the Alliteration Council. Alliteration: your key to good writing!

Anyway, what of the other 12 tracks on this 1996 A&M Records release? Well, there's a cool rocker that kicks off the album ("Day Job"), a silly snippet of baseball organ that ends the first side (wittily entitled "Seventh Inning Stretch" -- it's the seventh track on here, y'see, and... oh, nevermind), more pop serenading in "Not Only Numb", and nine other songs that I refuse to mention, unless you give me twenty bucks.


How about ten?

Eight, but that's my final offer.

Okay, okay, I'll tell you: "I Can't Figure You Out" has a catchier verse than chorus (I can't figure that out! ha!), and "Memphis Time" basically does the same country-rock thing that "Cheatin'" did on the last album. Retread alert! Anyway, the rest is more generic stuff, so don't pay too much for this one.

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