Every so often here at the shack someone drops off a CD, EP, or Mixtape. Today of course, we got a package. The person left in a hurry before we could get a good look at him. Curious, I picked up the small package. I hurriedly opened the yellow package, anticipation killing me. The CD case was wrapped in notebook paper. There was a note written on the inside.
“Hope you enjoy this, it nearly killed me.”
Huh, what a way to deliver music! Perhaps it was an omen? Surely not, I hoped.
I finally looked at the CD.
American Standard by Seven Mary Three.
Surely, he was joking, right? I mean I reviewed Cumbersome a while back and thought it was decent, hell it summed up what was going on in my life at the time. I took the CD and popped it in my laptop.
The album opens with Waters Edge, a song about the narrator witnessing a murder in some backwoods place. The song is angry. So far so good. Cumbersome is next, and as I’ve said before; this then seven-year-old thought it was the nest thing since sliced bread. Cumbersome is angry, raw, and full of doom and gloom. Post-grunge is often full of doom and gloom. This is no exception. Roderigo is a slow track, it bored me. Roderigo almost bored me to tears. I hoped there was something to redeem it.
Devil Boy, the fourth track opens mid paced and stays that way. Perhaps the best track on this album aside from Waters Edge. I liked this one. The song reminded me of my earlier days, when I was truly suffering from depression. Maybe the song is about depression. My, my is next and it is a powerful song; it offsets the boringness of Roderigo. As soon as my hopes were built up, they were dashed when Lame, the sixth track came on. Lame nearly bored me to death. Funny, he mentions a biracial person as a mulatto. There must be some guilt in there, somewhere.
Headstrong is a decent song, but it bored me. What didn’t bore me was the 26 on 16-year-old loving that is Margaret. “I can’t find a state we’re legal in.” Best line ever. This song held my interest, unlike Anything, which bored me. I desperately wanted to change the song. I couldn’t change it, I had to listen. I believe this was the third single off this album. Punch in Punch Out is a song about life in Appalachia and/or small town America. I should know that because for the first eight years of my life I lived in Nantucket. That is a small town, at least in the winter.
Finally, the album closes with Favorite Dog. Favorite Dog is a decent song, but that’s the only thing worth saying about it. Overall, this album didn’t kill me, but it bored me. My hopes had been built up based on three songs: Devil Boy, Water’s Edge, and Cumbersome. Seven Mary Three were like a southern, angrier version of Pearl Jam. Unlike Pearl Jam, which had many great singles and albums, 7M3 is never going to achieve the heights that the other grunge bands reached. Sure, Rock Crown, which was their next album was slightly, and I mean slightly better album; despite that album being disliked by critics, both professional and amateur alike. Perhaps I shouldn’t have thought to like this album based on three songs, but something in me said “go ahead anyway”
So, the question to be asked, is, is it shit?
Based on three songs, two of them being singles, yes. American Standard, when it was released in 1995 was surely thought to be the next up and coming thing. Alternative Rock, more specifically, post-grunge is a fickle mistress and there is a mold one must follow. That mold, being angst ridden and dour is what keeps the alternative listener engaged. Doom and gloom is another ingredient, but this album doesn’t have much of it. Aside from the word “fucking” on Water’s Edge, there isn’t much profanity on this album. Something that surprised me.
So, the lesson learned here is, if it has two decent songs, but one good one don’t disregard it all at once, take a listen. Unfortunately, this album is a dud. So, person who dropped this off at my door, the music didn’t kill me, but the boredom almost did. I’ll review Rock Crown, Orange Ave, and Economy of Sound at later dates.