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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

It's A Shame About Ray

The Lemonheads

1992

Buy At Rough Trade
It's A Shame About Ray
Album Summary

It's a Shame About Ray is the fifth album by American alternative rock band the Lemonheads, released on June 2, 1992. The album was produced by the Robb Brothers. At the time of principal recording, the band consisted of Evan Dando (lead vocals, guitar), Juliana Hatfield (bass, backing vocals) and David Ryan (drums). Though not originally on the album, the band's cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" was added to the album in later pressings after it had become a major worldwide radio hit, and it features a later lineup of the band with Nic Dalton on bass.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.14

Votes

11027
Genres
Indie
Rock

Reviews

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Tue May 31 2022
3

3.2 - “Hey man, it’s Sunday morning around 10:30. Thanks again for letting me borrow your stapler to put together the last of those zines. Listen, I’m about to throw on some cargo shorts and head over to the quad with the boombox. Been digging this new Lemonheads album. I’m bringing a hacky sack and my devil sticks, too. You know, just chilling like a villain. If you get this, maybe grab that Spin Doctors CD if that’s coolio? Alright, brotha, come by the quad if you can, otherwise leave a message on my answering machine. Catch you on the flip side. Peace!”

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Fri Jun 04 2021
4

It's a great example of early 90s alt-rock. It really is. Only problem is I can point to a dozen bands that sound exactly the same from the same era. But, for what it is, it's good and deserves a place on the list.

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Wed Mar 09 2022
5

I have a real nostalgic fondness for this record. In 1991, I moved out of home and into the inner city of Sydney, hanging around Glebe and Newtown and seeing gigs at the Annandale Hotel, working in a grungy record store. As it so happens, Evan Dando was also hanging around Glebe and Newtown and the Annandale Hotel (I would see him there pretty regularly around that time) and hanging out with local musos and people who worked in record stores. and he wrote this album about that. The sound, the songs, the people in it, the videos, all reflect that time. the tunes are great, all the songs are really short and leave you wanting more. Celebrity never did Evan any favours, and he never hit this peak again. I love this record, because it is a cracking listen and because it reminds me of a special time in my youth. (I also had a crush on Alison, from the song Alison's starting to happen. She worked at another record store and played drums in a band. She was really cool, and really starting to happen).

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Thu Feb 25 2021
4

Day 38 of Albums You Must Hear!! When I was a kid, I loved Lemonheads. Not the band, the candy. I would buy them almost every day, I loved the sour centers! This assessment isn’t about candy, however, it’s about a band from the 90’s that were also called Lemonheads. I wasn’t familiar with this band before now, or their album released in 1992, titled It’s a Shame About Ray. From the very first song, Rockin Stroll, I instantly knew I would like this band. Evan Dondo, band creator and singer, has a great voice that does a fantastic job of staying in its own lane, without trying to wow the listener.. The melodies throughout this album are great! Lemonheads remind me of other bands of the 90’s that had more commercial success, and while I don’t know the story behind this band, it seems Lemonheads had a shit ton of unfulfilled potential. Title song, It’s a Shame About Ray, is very catchy and a well executed diddy. Kitchen is a song that could’ve been the show tune of a great 90’s sitcom, and I mean that as a compliment. (I also love the bongos on this song). The biggest song for Lemonheads was their cover Simon & Garfunkel’s Mrs. Robinson. I actually remember hearing this version back in the day and loved it then and still love it now! (It was featured in Wayne’s World 2 and later on, in The Wolf of Wall Street). To be honest, I actually prefer the Lemonheads version to S&G’s, the rock drums and electric guitar riffs give it so much life, almost surfer music-ish. Shaky Ground is a very personal song that I suspect is about drug use, maybe something else? I’m really glad I got to experience this album, it is a definite 100% must hear! If you’re a fan of The Lemonheads, please tell me which album to listen to next from them, I plan on hearing more from them! Please share your thoughts, memories, and opinions!!

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Tue Jul 06 2021
1

They're Pavement if Pavement didn't want to live the high-stakes art life and retired to the suburbs, strumming polite tunes in the unborn baby's room-cum-study, dolefully reflecting on what could have been. Basically, the Jason Bateman character in Juno.

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Tue Jul 06 2021
1

If playing the same song over and over again qualifies you for the 1001 list, then baby, I’m in!

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Tue Jun 22 2021
2

Definition of "meh". When your most famous song is a cover of a song from a movie maybe you're not that good

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Tue Feb 15 2022
2

Ok but dull, samey jangly pop rock. Not worth a second listen.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
5

Sound like something I would have love when I was 15

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Thu Apr 08 2021
5

More to them than just Mrs Robinson. I liked the easy tunes with lyrics that were deeper and darker

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Wed Jan 12 2022
5

You really hit my sweet spot today. This was my absolute favorite album in '92-'93, one I still pull out to hear from time to time. It's a perfect little musical gem of that moment in time, one that has held up beautifully over the past 30 years. This album is full of edgy power pop, with a great mix of melodic, bittersweet toe tappers and muscular, energetic rockers. It has those ragged, grungy edges that made it fit in so well in its time. There is a nice interplay of jangly and jagged guitars burning at the edges that keep any of these songs from getting too pretty. The mood of the album goes a level deeper than most power pop, with a strangely cheerful malaise, conveyed through some wonderful, catchy hooks and thoughtful lyrics. It never gets overly dark or dour though. Some of Evan Dando’s lyrics may hint at dissatisfaction and restlessness, but the more pensive and personal songs like “Rudderless” or “Confetti” live easily alongside songs that are just pure fun like “Rockin Stroll” and “Alison’s Starting to Happen.” Dando delivers the lyrics perfectly, with a warm, sometimes slightly wistful and bittersweet vocal. He doesn’t convey the detachedness or irony of some of his contemporaries, so the lyrics come across as very heartfelt. Juliana Hatfield’s brief vocal appearances are like a little lemon zest on your pasta, bright and unexpected. I find myself really enjoying "Hannah & Gabi" today, which wasn't a song I gave much thought to in ‘92. It’s actually one of the best songs on the album, and probably the best musically executed song on here. The slide guitar on that song is really gorgeous. I did not know until today that it was the amazing Jeff "Skunk" Baxter playing on that song. Every song on here is terrific, with no filler. The flow of the album is crisp and concise, clocking in at around 33 minutes if you include “Mrs. Robinson.” The Simon & Garfunkel cover that was added to later versions of the album is doesn’t add a thing, but still sounds pretty great. The cover of “Frank Mills” from Hair is actually very sweet and engaging. Fave Songs (All songs, from most to least favorite): Confetti, Hannah & Gabi, Rudderless, It's a Shame About Ray, The Turnpike Down, My Drug Buddy, Rockin Stroll, Kitchen, Alison's Starting to Happen, Bit Part, Ceiling Fan in My Spoon, Frank Mills, Mrs. Robinson

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Mon Nov 15 2021
3

so critically 90s it almost hurts. overall, nothing special IMHO but enjoyable enough

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Sat Feb 19 2022
3

Having only been familiar with them from their famous cover of Mrs. Robinson, this band is essentially a one hit wonder to me. I always figured they were grunge-adjacent folky pop rock like Blind Melon, and this album pretty much confirms all my expectations. This is a bit more upbeat than Blind Melon but not nearly as interesting. It's perfectly listenable, if bland entry in 90s alternative rock.

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Sat Apr 30 2022
3

I miss this lighter, more gently weird side of that swath of genre you used to be able to get away with just calling “alternative” back in the 90s. Mostly just good old rock and roll, and I’m not sure this distinguishes itself that highly above many similar acts of the age, most of which didn’t manage to crest much above regional recognition. But I liked it perfectly well.

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Wed Oct 21 2020
2

A bit too goofy in places. Non offensive indie pop.

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Sat May 08 2021
2

Soulless jangly indie pop. I feel this sort of stuff, hugely popular at the time, was a backlash against grunge. Grunge was covered in emotion, and it seems someone decided that was too much so they'd strip all emotions out of music entirely. This is the music we ended up with. It feels flimsy, like it's made of slightly damp paper.

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Thu Jul 22 2021
2

Underwhelming 90's alt rock. A bit jangle pop-y. Not my style, frankly. There are some catchy bits for the most part it just doesn't leave much of an impression on me.

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Mon Mar 22 2021
2

“Your just a shit Soul Asylum” or something

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Wed Jun 02 2021
2

This album made me feel like I was strolling down an aisle in Homebase, searching for the most commonplace of plumbing items, only to get distracted by colourful plastic kitchen appliances. It reminded me of the toys you find inside a Kellogg's cereal bag that make you feel simultaneously grateful and offended by their audacity to send you yet another piece of plastic for your lifelong it-could-come-in-handy hoarding pile.

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Wed Oct 27 2021
2

When a cover is the best song on your album you might need to rethink things

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Mon Mar 08 2021
5

Surprisingly solid, for how little I've heard from the band. Right up my alley.

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Tue Feb 09 2021
5

Loved this one! felt like a time machine to the kind of music I used to listen to, but somehow never these guys!

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Thu Mar 11 2021
5

Love it. Such a warm feeling album.

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Tue Jun 15 2021
5

One of the first handful of albums I ever bought with my own moolah and I've still got a huge soft spot for it. It's pretty much perfect in its own early '90s slacker pop kinda way. Although I really wish they had left it alone and not tacked Mrs. Robinson on the end in an attempt to shift a few extra units.

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Thu Apr 29 2021
5

Classic indie. Love it. BT: Rudderless, My Drug Buddy, Alison's Starting To Happen

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Mon Feb 15 2021
4

I'm really liking this. Good power pop, nice melodies. I've not heard this before, except for their take on Mrs. Robinson.

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Mon Oct 10 2022
4

A good album throughout with four very good songs and the rest alright, a couple songs got a little repetitive, but overall a solid album with the backing track being a clear highlight of good guitar and synthesisers.

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Fri Feb 26 2021
5

This is one of my all time favorite albums. I love it.

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Thu May 20 2021
5

90s goodness. I’ve heard of this band but never actually listened to their music. I love it!

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Thu Sep 09 2021
5

I love Evan Dando so, so much and this album is probably his best. The inclusion of Frank Mills from Hair, the musical makes me extra warm inside.

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Thu Oct 28 2021
5

A complete joy and a personal favourite. The threshold between teenage and adulthood on one CD.

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Tue Nov 09 2021
5

Great laid-back indie pop. I think it might be worthy of the golden 5 out of 5! Hook laden singalongs. Continually came back to this album through the 90s. Pity that Evan Dando started taking himself so seriously...

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Wed Feb 16 2022
5

I'm only about 5 songs in but this is the most 90s rock album I've ever heard in my life. If you asked a computer to make an amalgamation of all 90s rock bands this is what it would spit out. This is right up my alley, never heard of this band but really digging it and added a few songs to my playlist. One thing I always do when a band I've never heard of comes up on this list is try and figure out which song is that one song that I've definitely heard before; super easy in this case.

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Mon Feb 21 2022
5

5 stars immediately. Sentimental favorite. Way too many memories attached to this one to pretend. But also I think these quickie songs hold up - catchy as all shit and taking you to some unusual places - at least for music made in '92. If you like this and have never listened to their album 'Hate Your Friends', give it a try.

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Fri Apr 01 2022
5

Anyone turned on to Lemonheads with Lick, Lovey, and the Favorite Spanish Dishes EP pointed to IASAR coming once Dando had the right lineup and songwriting partners. Hatfield’s backing vocals add some sweet, sometimes sad, texture to Dando’s singing. This is a perfectly crafted indie-pop album. It’s a road-trip sing-along record that can be played on repeat. Except for one thing… when I got the CD back in the day it didn’t have the Mrs. Robinson cover. I prefer that version. It wasn’t a necessary add and it’s inclusion diminished the album a bit.

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Fri Apr 01 2022
5

First off the title track is one my favorite songs of all time, it finds its way on so many of my playlists. Confetti and My Drug Buddy are great tunes as well. While it was overplayed as shit back in the 90's, Mrs Robinson is still a good cover. Last thing Juliana Hatfield's backing vocals are awesome this album. It's probably a 4 star album but I'll give it 5 stars based on the title track and the fact it reminds of being 20 again.

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Mon May 16 2022
5

This was probably the best album in their progression towards more mellow tunes. At the time it was probably an album by a traditionally grunge band that your parents wouldn’t mind you putting on. Loved it at the time and still remember all the words.

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Wed May 18 2022
5

Such a good album. I've played it three times today, including the demos.

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Wed May 18 2022
5

This will always be one of my favourite records.

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Tue Jun 07 2022
5

Such a classic album! Every song is pop rock perfection.

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Fri Jul 15 2022
5

Mrs Robinson Cover. Liked it but i wasn't blown away. Melancholy punk rock

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Fri Sep 02 2022
5

Good album, it gave off that early 90s grunge rock vibe. I need to listen to more 90s alternative rock albums.

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Tue Sep 13 2022
5

Flashback for me. Found myself recalling some great tunes and lyrics. Singing along very happily!

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Fri Sep 16 2022
5

A personal favourite, with great backing by Juliana Hatfield which adds so much to these songs

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Wed Nov 30 2022
5

The Lemonheads breakthrough record, It's A Shame About Ray released in 1992, gained the band a widespread following and critical acclaim and it remains their greatest achievement. The only original founding member, Evan Dando crafted a poppy alternative rock sound on this record preceding a more punk sound on their earlier albums. When this record was released, I instantly fell in love with the songs and wore the crap out of that cassette. It remains a constant in my music listening, as it not only captures something about that time period, but it's such a catchy, upbeat record it always puts a smile on my face. Personally, I rank this high as a favourite from the 90's and it's a shame they haven't released anything as good since. Evan continues to tour this record (played in it's entirety) that celebrated it's 30th anniversary this year.

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Sat Dec 03 2022
5

Fun, quick, and full of catchy tracks. Also might be the most radio friendly Grunge in my opinion. Great shit.

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Sat Dec 10 2022
5

I love this album and band. It's a shame about Evan Dando, the dude had some great musical ability and good looks, it's arguablybthat those two things should've propelled the band to bigger heights. Drugs are bad, kids. Don't fool yourselves. If I am honest this is probably a 4, or 4.5 but I have such strong feelings here that I've gotta bump it up. Several of these songs are staples across several playlists so I think it earns that bump just for that.

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Thu Jan 26 2023
5

90s alt rock goodness. Loved this album when it came out the first time I heard it. Still in my "Favourites" rotation.

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Thu Mar 23 2023
5

Man what a fantastic album. If you’ve only heard their cover of Mrs. Robinson you should really listen to the rest of the album

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Sat Mar 25 2023
5

I really did like this album! Some of the songs kind of sound like they'd be in The Barbie Diaries, not that it's a bad thing because it reminds me of my childhood but it is interesting. There's also something that vaguely reminds me of Sonic Youth in a way.

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Sat Apr 08 2023
5

The only lemonheads songs I knew were their covers of “Mrs Robinson” and “Skulls”. Simon and Garfunkel to The Misfits, that’s eclectic. I was curious what this album would be like. I really like this album a lot, there’s great melody and hooks for days. I love Juliana Hadfields harmonies. It’s interesting this album dropped in the height of grunge, it doesn’t really sound grunge at all. Maybe that’s why it didn’t get more attention. To me this is more in the vein of “college rock” like R.E.M., Replacements or Husker Du. In fact, Evan Dando’s vocals and songwriting reminds me of Paul Westerberg a bit.

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Sat Apr 15 2023
5

I enjoy this. I can’t tell if it is dated. Some of it is but a lot of it still feels fresh. It is still an album I can’t divorce from the 90s. I’ll come back to this because it’s catchy. That holds up.

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Mon Apr 17 2023
5

This is a 90's slacker classic. The Lemonheads were so good at churning out sub-3 minute rock songs that were catchy as hell. This album doesn't even have "Into Your Arms" on it either!

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Thu Apr 20 2023
5

I used to wear this record out

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Sat May 06 2023
5

Delighted when this one appeared for me this morning, and instantly knew what my rating would be. Played this a lot when it came out, and its near half hour burst of quickfire songs has always given me a lift. Two bonuses. 1) Juliana Hatfield on bass and backing vocals (which provide a nice contrast to Evan Dando's voice). 2) Not there when I bought it originally on vinyl - a fun throwaway cover of Mrs Robinson.

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Tue May 16 2023
5

I've always seen this as pretty much a perfect album and one I still revisit regularly. Hey, I was in sixth form when it came out and everyone loved it. It was an album that I bonded with people I'd normally hate over.

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Fri May 19 2023
5

"No Juliana next to my Evan" This is arguably the most 90's alt rock record of all the 90's alt rock records ever recorded. Other possible contenders being Weezer - Blue album, Counting Crows - August and Everything After, and Letters to Cleo - Aurora Gory Alice. It's just a stunning perfect masterpiece of exactly what it is - disaffected outcast youth expressing its apathetic and oftentimes wry or self-deprecating views on life, love, and all that bullshit you have to endure when finding oneself.

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Sun Jun 11 2023
5

Lätt banalt och nonchigt, men inte ett svagt spår. Under en halvtimme och Juliana Hatfield körar. Föredömligt.

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Fri Jun 16 2023
5

So good. Beautifully harmonies and classic 90s rock sound.

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Fri Jul 28 2023
5

Album 118 of 1001 Lemonheads - It's a Shame About Ray Rating : 5 / 5 Favorite Track : It's a Shame About Ray / Allison's Starting to Happen / Bit Part (Too many to choose) Brought a big smile to my face when I saw this was my recommended 'album of the day'. This is a personal favorite. My ranking has more to do with the fact that I just really like this album. Good songs that I'm happy to call old friends. It isn't always about the perfect song, the perfect production, the perfect sound...sometimes it is just about what one likes. You won't find this in any discussion about the greatest album ever nor would I expect it to be. We all know what we like and should embrace that. Evan Dando had promised that the album would be "half an hour of guitar-pop perfection, walking the tightrope effortlessly between laid-back melodies and rousing indie cool. It brimmed with the confidence of a songwriter peaking". He delivered. One reviewer wrote "There are other great Lemonheads records, but It’s a Shame About Ray is a singular sort of feat. One almost wants to gouge it from their discography and pretend it’s a one-off from a band who were never heard of again—it has that feeling of a moment in time, something doomed to wilt because its colours were too bright to begin with." I recommend this to those who aren't familiar with either it or the band. Those who do know it, should stop by and pay it a visit. I'm happy to list it as one of my all-time favorites.

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Mon Sep 11 2023
5

Always loved this album. Evan Dando has a great ear for melody, and the simple structures of the songs bely a depth that comes across after a few listens. Superb stuff

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Fri Nov 03 2023
5

Had this album on continuous rotation when it came out.

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Tue Nov 07 2023
5

A FANTASTIC mix of 90s alt and emo. The vibes are perfect. Brilliant songwriting and pitch perfect riffs throughout. This really hit on all cylinders. I loved it. I can see influences all over the place.

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Fri Nov 10 2023
5

I have never listened to the whole album and I'm sorry I hadn't until now. It's wonderful.

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Mon Nov 13 2023
5

I love an excuse to listen to The Lemonheads. Their unique brand of folksy, indie alt rock with a hint of country here and there has always been an amazing concept, and they've been one of my favourite bands from the moment I started listening to them. There's not a single bad song on this album, and there's no hesitation in me giving it 5 stars right off the bat. Their cover of Mrs. Robinson is amazing, and I prefer it to the original. The title track is absolutely perfect, and "Bit Part" is a jam too.

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Fri Nov 17 2023
5

Remember Limewire? Remember downloading all of your favourite songs which were all incorrectly attributed to different bands (if you were lucky enough for it to be music at all)? I first heard this version of Mrs. Robinson from dodgy Limewire downloads, marked as being by The Ramones. I can kind of see why from the voice. Kind of. Anyway, let’s listen! Songs I already knew: Mrs Robinson Favourites: It’s A Shame About Ray, Alison’s Starting To Happen, Mrs Robinson This album way right up my alley. Somewhat lazy vocals over a mix of clean and distorted guitars, and plenty of catchy Melodie’s and harmonies. In other words, 90’s alt rock. After the first few seconds of the opening track I was hooked, and this remained the same right through until the end. The rocky tracks rock, and the softer ones are very pleasant. I can’t fault this. I love it.

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Fri Dec 01 2023
5

Excellent. Just a solid rock album.

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Thu Dec 14 2023
5

It's been a long time since I listened to this album, but it's aged very well.

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

What a very good album this is! A ferocious start with the descending riff of 'Rock and Stroll', followed by the melodic 'Confetti', this is a record of punky pop tunes that really haven't ages in 32 years. The album's closer, a cover of 'Mrs Robinson', wasn't on the initial pressings but was added following it's success as a breakout single. My personal favourite on the album is the gorgeous 'My Drug Buddy', a brilliant piece of writing by Evan Dando, whilst the heartfelt 'Frank Mills' is a strange but affecting vignette. An excellent selection of demos can be found on the double CD anniversary reissue from a few years ago. We'll worth hearing if you're not familiar with them!

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Tue Mar 12 2024
5

I quite enjoyed this album full of (generally) upbeat jangly pop/rock. Nothing too heavy or serious, the vocalist sounds like a mellow Kurt Cobain and the production is crisp (great drum sound). It floated my boat, so top marks from me.

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Wed Mar 27 2024
5

I have a real soft spot for this bit of jangly, 90s alt-pop.

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Wed Apr 17 2024
5

Low key one of the most influential albums of the 90’s and contains one of the best covers ever. Lovely

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Fri Apr 19 2024
5

This is one of my favorite albums from my younger days. Love the melodies & strong clear vocals. Great song writing and excellent guitarwork. Awesome bass & drums. Nothing is overdone. I have my CD. It has 13 songs on it. It's perfect enough as it is. Stop with all of the 30 song deluxe expanded editions. Good grief. Frank Mills has always been a secret favorite of mine and it would've been a great one to end the album on... but for an encore, they ROCK that Garfunkle & Simon song!

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Thu May 06 2021
4

very very good alt rock album, it is nothing special but the songs are catchy well written and does not bog down

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Fri Nov 20 2020
4

Honestly, a lot better than expected. I liked most of the songs.

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Mon Feb 08 2021
4

Good solid Indie/rock/pop album

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Fri Mar 05 2021
4

Really catchy, a bit of an edge. Gives me warm, 90s movie vibes

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Fri Jan 22 2021
4

fun album. pop grunge with notes of pop punk

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Tue Mar 09 2021
4

While I know this isn't an amazing album, it's like a big warm blanket for me. I listened to it A LOT in the 90s and listening to it for this put me instantly at ease. It speaks to a specific time in my life. My first instinct was to give a 5 because of how it made me feel, but after thinking about it more it needs to be a 4.

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Wed Apr 14 2021
4

Decent ‘shoe-gazing indie’ as Karla calls it, but nothing to get too excited about apart from the Mrs Robinson cover which is great

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Mon Jun 07 2021
4

I really like this style of American punk

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Sun Mar 07 2021
4

A fun and jaunty album. Very simple and enjoyable. Favorite song: The Turnpike Down, Hannah and Gabi

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