It all might have been very different for Minneapolian trio Semisonic. Having released a moderately rockish, moderately mild and moderately successful debut album in Great Divide, the band then deiced to rip up all their process in the face of considerable label pressure for hits by retreating to the comforts of their unfashionable home city to record it’s follow up.
In retrospect arriving in the studio with a black sheet of paper was an inspired move; singer-songwriter Dan Wilson had inside his head at least a clutch of songs which suitably tough and tender, defined partially by his own experiences as a new father and a the profundity of becoming an adult in a world where grown up children, even then, dominated the conversation.
Feeling Strangely Fine – a nod to the band’s attitude that surrounded the final package they’d crafted, despite in their own ears the lack of hooks – straddled the Atlantic in terms of it’s appeal, the home market cornered by Closing Time, whilst over in Britain the mellower, post-Britpop scene fell head over heels into Secret Smile.
Wilson would go on to write for 21st century royalty such as Adele and Taylor Swift, but Feeling Strangely Fine is evocative of an era where artists didn’t have to put everything on the line so often; this reissue is a little short short on worthwhile new material, but pleasingly long on a nostalgic glimpse back into simpler times.
You can read the full review here.