Alternative pop-rock is not dead. Repeat: alternative pop-rock is not dead. It just isn’t that pop anymore. The group of bands that held court on Total Request Live around the turn of this century have, for the most part, faded out of the limelight or broken up (in some cases, with the members breaking up, embarking on splintered side projects and realizing quickly that the whole was far greater than the sum of the parts). Like the contemporaneous teen angst film genre, alternative pop-rock had a solid run at the top and influenced plenty of music, for better or for worse, but that time has long since passed.
With all that in mind, Art Alexakis is back to open his heart to the world on Everclear’s eighth studio album, Invisible Stars. Having already officially released five “best of” compilations and changed its lineup twice in the last eight years alone, one would venture to guess that Everclear’s time has gone the way of Michael Jordan’s playing career, but Invisible Stars is manages to squeeze out more nectar from the fruit, albeit in minute, recognizable drops.
By and large, this album does not stray too far from anything Everclear has ever produced. Most of these tracks would fit perfectly on So Much for the Afterglow or either of the Songs from an American Movie discs, when the band was at its pinnacle. The lyrical content seems to come mostly from Alexakis’ personal experiences, as has been the Everclear status quo.
The first song, “Tiger in a Burning Tree,” is a short, weird choice with which to open an album, as the vocals alternate from sounding as if they were recorded over the telephone to being recorded into a microphone. “Be Careful What You Ask For,” the album’s first single, creates a dialectic with the claims that, “We burn out in the dark…We will never die,” though the poignant line in the unbearable heat of the summertime seems to be, “Life looks better when you waste away the day.” An almost certain TRL #1 video in 1999, “Jackie Robinson” provides the most direct ancestral line to classic Everclear, with lyrics about the evolution of race relations and a reference to the 2008 Presidential election played over a chord progression of which, while we’ve heard it before, we can never seem to get enough.
The best times for Everclear were spent echoing from speakers in millennial high school parking lots, Carson Daly has moved on, and while Art Alexakis continues past the half-century mark with a group of people he can legally brand with his band’s name, we know better. Invisible Stars is enjoyable for what it is, and people looking for tremendous artistic growth probably will not find it here. We also know that, even if our memories of Everclear are inextricably linked to movies and moments that we thought were much funnier at the time, we can certainly watch the world die one more time with the next American Pie sequel, and Everclear will be there.
Tags: everclear, Everclear - Invisible Stars album review, Reviews, rory masterson