Sound — 10
Wow. Can't believe there haven't been any prior reviews posted for this album as it is not only the best of Blind Melon's catalog, but definitely one of the greatest albums I've ever had the pleasure to listen to. From the opening riffs to the closing swirls of musical grandeur, Blind Melon crosses boundaries and wows the audience with its amazing use of double lead guitars, which I feel is the best aspect of the album and the band, very underrated bass playing, and, of course, the distinct, powerful, and memorable vocals of Shannon Hoon. I would describe the band's overall sound on this album as a varying combination of rock, hard rock, psychedelic, folk, jam, and maybe even some funk and metal as well. And, like I said before, the amazingly talented guitar playing adds a truly distinct dynamic that is really indescribable...you just have to listen to it to understand what I mean. Now I'll give a song by song breakdown: 01.Soak The Sin: a really hard rockin song with a badass riff, very reminiscent of Led Zepellin, but at the same time has a really good rhythm and a lot of cool changes. 02.Tones Of Home: stylistically similar to Soak the Sin, but perhaps a little less hard rock and a little more of the jam and funk aspect here. And please keep in mind I use the work funk very loosely, mostly to describe the great rhythm and percussive sounds of a lot of the guitar work. 03.I Wonder: starts off with a nice acoustic kind of intro and builds into a cool song with some psychedelia as well as more hard rock components. 04.Paper Scratcher: one of my two favorites on the album. An absolutely stunning intro/verse riff with so much coordination between the two guitars. The chorus is very mellow and the guitar solos are really noteworthy. 05.Dear Ol' Dad: another one that starts off quiet/slow and builds up to part psychedelic and part hard rock with some really intense, grabbing riffs. 06.Change: a lot of people love this song, but its probably my least favorite on the album. Its an acoustic, ballad-type number that I just find a little boring. Its still really good with some solid vocals and is rather catchy, but its just not anything to write home about in my opinion. 07.No Rain: the song that Blind Melon is most known for. A really catchy song with some nice acoustic melodies going on in the background. Chances are if you've never even heard of this band you've still heard this song. 08.Deserted: starts off with a psychedelic feel and eventually gets loud and hard with some elements of jamming and funk as well. 09.Sleepyhouse: one of the quieter (relatively speaking) songs on the album. Has some sitar (or something similar) in the beginning with really good vocals and, as always, great instrumentation. 10.Holyman: has a lot of cool riffs, once again exceptional vocals, and a very standout bass line as well. 11.Seed To A Tree: my other favorite song on the album. Badass guitar work with a cornucopia of crunching, percussive, and melodic wah-wah-laden guitar and interesting lyrics. The guitar solo is perhaps the best on the album. 12.Drive: a slower, laid-back tune with Grateful Dead style jamming in it as well as some great lyrics. 13.Time: great way to end the album. Exemplifies all of the genres that Blind Melon encompasses. Folky/rock in the beginning, hard rock portions, and an outro that is another Grateful Dead or Allman Brothers Band-esque venture.
Lyrics — 10
Shannon Hoon's singing is quite distinct and quite good. His voice melds seamlessly with the music and functions perfectly within all of the different sounds of the album. The lyrics are, for the most part, really interesting and extremely well-written. My personal favorites as far as lyrics go are Holyman, Tones of Home, Seed to a Tree, and Paper Scratcher, and, though I don't love the song overall, Change. The lyrics in Paper Scratcher actually go really well with the proceeding guitar solo too...check it out, that part's pretty awesome.
Overall Impression — 10
This album is really like nothing I've ever listened to before. I love that there are SO many different genres represented here and they all blend into one amazing sound that can only be described as Blind Melon. This is definitely the album to start with if you are new to Blind Melon as Soup and Nico can be a bit less accessible and are darker, though very, very good too. Try focusing on each instrument separately as you listen and you will be astonished at how all of the parts fit together and at the intricacies of each. Run, don't walk, to the record store and get this masterpiece... You're already 16 years too late if you haven't.