Orange Ave. by Seven Mary Three; July 14, 1998
Sometimes it takes a couple of attempts to make a finished product. When they released American Standard, Seven Mary Three were angry and raw. Before this album came Rock Crown. Today, however I’m reviewing their third commercial effort: Orange Ave. With this album, 7M3 have developed a more polished and accessible sound. Unlike Rock Crown, the critics seemed to like this album.
The album opens with Peel. Peel has the hallmarks of an alternative track; gone is the post-grunge sound. Peel is a hard rock song in every aspect. The vocals sound polished here; this is commercialized alternative. Over Your Shoulder is a decent song that was a single in 1998. 105.7 The Point played this album. I get an almost religious feeling listening to this song, if not religion then it’s something positive, which I didn’t hear on American Standard. Chasing You opens with an organ and guitars. The polished sound continues here. The lyrics are simple, but well written. This almost borders on adult contemporary. What happened, 7M3? Did you sell out?
Each Little Mystery comes next. This song sounds almost adult contemporary-ish. I’m starting to think these guys sold out. I’m wondering where the anger is, and I’m wondering where the raw emotion is. Don’t let me down guys. I hoped to hear emotion on In-Between. So far, I’m not hearing it. This is almost an anthem with the crowd shouting in the song. He’s talking here, not really singing. There goes that shouting. I’m bored. Why did you do this? Was it for the money? The fame? Help me out here. Joliet, finally has what I’m looking for, it seems. The guitars have emotion and the song emits an atmosphere that is doom and gloom.
Wait, it was just a tease. Yes, these guys are too commercial now. A shame really, as I liked American Standard. This is about as emotional as they get, at least so far in this album. Super-Related yet another boring track. Where did this band go wrong? Flagship Eleanor is slick and well produced, but my interest is still not piqued. I went into this with an open mind, hoping for raw hooks and emotion. So far, I haven’t gotten it. Southwestern State is a slow song, I can almost relate to the lyrics, almost. There is a string arrangement in this, which is rare for post-grunge (I still use the genre, as that’s how it was presented to me.) Finally, there’s the emotion! The raw energy. Took them long enough. There’s harmony here! This is a track I can dig. I like this song.
Hang On seems to show signs of the old 7M3, but still there’s something missing. I think I know what’s missing. There’s no rawness here, it’s all shiny and polished. Blessing in Disguise seems to border on adult contemporary, but still has that post-grunge sound to it. I’m bored here, and I don’t know why. Hopefully the final track won’t bore me.
Devil’s Holy Joke opens with windchimes and acoustic guitar. So far, the song is slow. Is this a love song? I don’t take 7M3 to be a band that sings love songs. The song ends, and then a hidden track! Got to love those hidden tracks. Talk to You Like That opens with the acoustic guitar and a harmonica. Soon, the track goes into a steadily rolling beat. The song is almost bluesy in nature, but really, I’m too bored to notice.
Is Orange Ave. Shit?
Had this album come out in say 1994 or ’95 I’d venture to guess this would’ve rocked harder. 1998 was a strange year for post-grunge. Adult contemporary was also a genre that was rising like a tsunami; sometimes the two mixed. There was evidence of this on Orange Ave. This album has aged horribly and it’s not that hard to see why. I was bored quite a few times while listening to this. I can imagine they were under serious pressure by the record label to record this. Unlike Rock Crown, which was released the previous year, this was to be the more accessible album. While Orange is accessible, the chances are small that anyone owns this.
I am one of the few, but that’s because I’m a completest when it comes to discographies. I don’t remember when I acquired this album, but it was recently. I’m a fan of 7M3 and have been since I first heard Cumbersome all those years ago, I wasn’t however, a fan of this album. I’m sorry that I am not, but someone else might be. So, I regretfully deem Orange Ave. to be a shit show of an album.