Welcome To The Drama Club review by Everclear

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  • Released: Sep 12, 2006
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (14 votes)
Everclear: Welcome To The Drama Club
2

Sound — 8
Let the therapy session begin -- we're all invited. If there's one thing that Everclear can never be accused of, it's writing songs that aren't straight from the heart. And this time around on the new release Welcome To The Drama Club, it's a broken heart that is the main focus. Regardless of what you think of the musical path that Art Alexakis -- now the only original Everclear member left in the band -- has gone, he has always remained brutally honest. In a world where everything seems plastic and contrived, Alexakis continues to take the most personal (and often emotionally painful) situations and turn them into Everclear songs. Welcome To The Drama Club does not sound like the pop-punk Everclear of the nineties, but that is to be expected with a completely different lineup (Davey French on guitars, Sam Hudson on bass, Josh Crawley on keyboards, and Brett Snyder on drums). The songs are all well written for the most part, although they do now lean more toward the pop side of the equation. The best of what Welcome To The Drama Club has to offer are the stripped-down songs that don't need much more than an acoustic backing. One of the highlights of the CD is Glorious, which is a slower tempo, heartfelt song that allows Alexakis to pour out all the emotions that have built up in him over the past year (like a third divorce and filing for bankruptcy). The song does not rely on any of synthesized effects, but lets the strong vocals of Alexakis carry the entire thing. When keyboards take the lead in songs like Shine, it is somewhat distracting -- particularly when you reminisce about guitar-centered classics of yesteryear like Fire Maple Song. The song is almost too poppy, but it might be found catchy by Everclear novices who don't know what the band is truly capable of creating. If Shine had the personal lyrics of other songs, it might be easier to swallow. But alas, it does not and the result just feels too contrived. Thankfully, most songs on the CD don't leave you with the feeling that Shine might. Welcome To The Drama Club definitely seems to be a cathartic project for Alexakis, and that is what makes it so refreshing in the long run. It might not have the same feel as older albums like World of Noise or Sparkle and Fade, but the honesty heard on earlier CDs is still very much present.

Lyrics — 9
Alexakis' lyrics are absolutely the highlight of Welcome to the Drama Club, but this is to be expected from the man who has written blunt songs like You Make Me Feel Like A Whore and Heroin Girl. No topic is too personal, and that allows listeners to feel just a bit closer to Everclear than another band that doesn't delve too deeply in lyrical content. The themes cover the gamut, from the peak of love to the chasm of heartbreak. In Glorious, the beauty of past love is the focus. Alexakis sings, You were shining in the white light; Like a fairy tale movie star; Never really thought I would find Snow White; Drinking in a downtown bar. The bittersweet feeling that surrounds the song is classic Everclear, and it is exactly what the album needs to balance out the tracks that take a harsher view of love. The band is proclaiming Hater as the Break-Up Song Of 2006 on it's website these days, and for good reason. It is an ode to someone (let's assume the ex-wife) who has put Alexakis through hell for quite some time. The vocalist lets loose on Hater by releasing all that frustration that has been building up inside. I hear you talk; You are such a bore; I see the way you look; I think you look like a whore. Are these the lyrics of the century? No, but that's the point. They are thoughts that your average Joe might say, and that should appeal to plenty of scorned lovers.

Overall Impression — 8
When you're a fan of early Everclear, it's not always easy to listen to the changes that the band has gone through since the early nineties. With that being said, Art Alexakis still has the same passion behind his music, even though synthesizers have taken some of the edge off the songs. Will Welcome To The Drama Club appeal to rock fans? Probably not all of them. There is plenty of heart in the record, but honesty might not be enough to maintain the attention of guitar-based rock fans. The CD should be recognized, however, for it's musical arrangement as well as it's candid lyrics. There is something about Alexakis' delivery -- perhaps it's the twangy, earthy aspect to his voice -- that is down-to-earth and accessible to a lot of listeners. Welcome To The Drama Club is not the best Everclear album that has been released, but it is an up-close-and-personal, fascinating peek into Alexakis' journey as both a musician and a man who has had one rough year.

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Seamus123
    He'd been off drugs for several years before Sparkle and Fade was recorded.
    powerstrokin_06
    if you are trying to say that art needs to get back on drugs to make good music you need to re-think your thought process
    herdrich
    this review sucks. who said candid lyics are worth anything? I don't wanna hear that shit, he can record these songs for himself. there's no reason to make everyone else listen to it besides inflicting his pain on the masses (although luckily everclear's audience is getting progressively smaller with each new record).
    themintrock
    dear thebigal. i am an avid beatles fan, and an avid everclear fan. i don't not appreciate your misconception of drug use in music. although the beatles may have used drugs, quite frequently mind you, they hardly ever kept any of the songs that were written during their high times, because when they read them when they were in their right state of mind, they sucked. Of course numerous songs have been written about drug use, their music did not really reflect their usage, just the feeling. By the way, I believe Art is a very talented musician and I love his music. Of course Sparkle and Fade was a great album, I won't argue there. But to say all of it is rubbish, that's just crazy. This new album has a lot of potential. It may be different to some people, but it really does grow on you. Quite frankly, I think "Your Arizona Room" is one of the best songs I have heard in a while. Everyone can take a song from Everclear and relate to it. That's the genius of it. And that is why Art will continue to have quite a few fans even though you think his music is "rubbish." And by the way, have you written any music lately? And if so, I'll bet it's rubbish. Thank you and good night.
    the222
    hey 'thebigal'. Firstly, if you cant see that taste in music is personal opinion and therefore it is worth nothing to say "the rest has been rubbish" you really are stupid. Secondly, i can't actually believe that any of you would be so stupid to say you need drugs to create good music. Undoubtably, some good music has been written and produced under the influence of drugs but by no means does that suggest that drugs are the be all and end all in music creation. Just look at all the songs that were written on drugs and never made it anywhere, oh i'm sorry they never saw the light of day because they were too poor for release. Thirdly, and this is directed entirely at you 'coquet': what are you doing calling someone's phrase 'gay'? I mean what are you, like 5 years old?
    RHCPfan01
    i love old everclear, buti i have to say, comp0ared to new music,this is actually probably one of the top ten albums i haver listen to that has been released in 06. though i do agree that is is a little to heavily filled with synth stuff
    Tag43
    This is a good album. I liked it. I'm a huge Everclear fan--I like all their albums.
    coquet
    i used to be the biggest everclear fan. but recently, ive found his (im saying his because i think its been all art for the last few albums) music to be going downhill. a lot. i wish hed get back on drugs and make another sparkle and fade.
    coquet
    but sparkle and fade was heavily influenced by his drug experiences. those experiences are now so far removed that he cant pull that kind of inspiration back. thus, he must get back on drugs before he can get back to that place.
    thebigal
    powerstrokin I think you need to think a bit more. Look at all the worlds graetest rock artists. All very highly influenced by drugs. Hell even the beatles wrote good music due to drugs. Sparkle and fade was an awesome album the rest has been rubbish.
    coquet
    powerstrokin_06 : if you are trying to say that art needs to get back on drugs to make good music you need to re-think your thought process
    re-think my thought process? wow, ive heard some really gay phrases, but that one tops them all. and yes, art does need drugs to make good music. because hey, "isn't everything wonderful now?"
    coquet
    hey 'thebigal'. Firstly, if you cant see that taste in music is personal opinion and therefore it is worth nothing to say "the rest has been rubbish" you really are stupid. Secondly, i can't actually believe that any of you would be so stupid to say you need drugs to create good music. Undoubtably, some good music has been written and produced under the influence of drugs but by no means does that suggest that drugs are the be all and end all in music creation. Just look at all the songs that were written on drugs and never made it anywhere, oh i'm sorry they never saw the light of day because they were too poor for release. Thirdly, and this is directed entirely at you 'coquet': what are you doing calling someone's phrase 'gay'? I mean what are you, like 5 years old?
    i never said people in general need drugs to create good music. i said art needs drugs to make good music. or at least recent memories of drug experiences. and dont criticise my phrase bashing; i mean, what are you, gay or something?