Everclear has been around since 1991 and was started by leader Art Alexakis. When they were at their height, the main three guys included Art, Craig Montoya and Greg Eklund and this to me is the classic line-up. This was the band at its peak. All the hits you know, “Father of Mine”, “AM Radio” , “Santa Monica” and “Wonderful” just to name a few.
After the disappointing sales and reception of the band’s 2003 album, Slow Motion Daydream, Craig and Greg left the band. Thankfully, Art continued Everclear with now a revolving door of musicians. But don’t kid yourself, the band is Art’s and it doesn’t matter who the players are, you want Art’s vocals and sound as that is all that matters.
I am going to go through and rank 12 albums which does include a Covers Album and a couple albums of re-recordings as those aren’t technically compilations. I won’t review any live albums or ones listed as greatest hits. I figured these 12 best represent that band and are what should be ranked. So let’s get started and I hope you enjoy.
WORST – WORLD OF NOISE (1993):
This is the band’s debut album. It was recorded in the basement of a friend of the band and only cost $400 to make. It was also produced by Art. There are some really cool moments on this release as it is a great look at the potential that was living inside this band. However, there were a lot of problems.
The album is rough, really rough at times. It is raw (which isn’t always a bad thing, but in this case…ehhh). Being a first album, it probably isn’t a good thing to be produced by a member of the band and it shows. This is great to learn about the history of the band and that early spark, but it does fade quickly with this one. This is one that doesn’t get played frequently.
#11 – IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT (2009):
In 2009, Everclear signed to a new label, 429 Records, and instead of releasing a complete and brand new album, the re-recorded a bunch of old songs and a couple new ones, “At the End of the Day” and “Here Comes the Darkness”. The songs are more stripped down and acoustic, but don’t really add anything that is too exciting.
The album includes some great songs such as “Santa Moncia”, “Father of Mine” and “Rock Star” so it is great to have these different versions, but come on Art, we want new music. For that, it is worth getting just for the two new songs. Outside of that, you could skip which I found myself doing a lot.
#10 – RETURN TO SANTA MONICA (2011):
After the disaster that was ‘In a Different Light’, the band was dropped and signed to another label, Cleopatra. So, you would think we would get a new album of new material…well you would be wrong. Since it didn’t work last time, shit, why not try again. ‘Return to Santa Monica’ is another attempt at rehashing old songs.
This time the re-recorded a number of the band’s hits and stuck close to the original with some changes. It wasn’t a re-imagining, more a true re-recording. The album also included a number of cover songs as well. The album isn’t bad, it is really kind of pointless. If I want to hear these songs, I will listen to the originals instead. It is better than the previous album if only slightly better.
#9 – INVISIBLE STARS (2012):
And now we have the third album in a row that is the first album under a new label. The last two were re-recordings of old material and after each one the label dropped them. This time the label is eOne Music. And maybe the band learned their lesson and gave us new music…Yes!!! Finally!! And the album sounds exactly like an Everclear album should sound.
The problem with it is that it might sound like Everclear, but the songs aren’t that exciting or memorable. There are no standout songs that could be considered classic Everclear. It isn’t a bad album at all, only a little forgettable. Now there are some good songs including “Be Careful What You Ask For”, “I am Better Without You” and “Aces” so it isn’t a total loss and if you are a fan, of course you need this one.
#8 – WELCOME TO THE DRAMA CLUB (2006)
This band has had a ton of labels. The success of the band was with Capitol Records and this was the first album after the departure from that label. Now they are with Eleven Seven Music. This is also the first album without Craig and Greg so when this came out, I didn’t know what to expect. What I got was Everclear in sound and style only different members.
Again it is another good album, just not great. You do get some good songs such as “Hater”, “The Drama King” and “Glorious”. I also liked “Under the Western Stars”. My problem with it is the album was only good. Nothing outstanding and again, nothing memorable. With that being said, it is still a must as it is new material and you can get some enjoyment out of it.
#7 – THE VEGAS YEARS (2008):
‘The Vegas Year’ is a COVERS album. Not my favorite kind of album, buuuuuut, this one is pretty good. I found the selection of covers to be interesting and even unique at times. You get Hall & Oates, Cheap Trick, Tommy Tutone, Yazoo, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Tom Petty and even Thin Lizzy. The great thing about this album is it sounds like an Everclear album. They made these songs in the Everclear style and not copycat versions of the songs.
And some of the choices are pure fun including a cover of Land of The Lost and Speed Racer, I mean come on…how awesome is that!! Plus, the Go-Go’s cover of “Our Lips Our Sealed” is also a blast. And then you throw in some Neil Yong and Arlo Guthrie and you get a great set of songs. This is one of the better covers album I have heard.
#6 – SPARKLE & FADE (1995):
From this point on, you can’t go wrong with any of these albums. These to me are the best albums and sometimes the order might change which is why I said, you can’t go wrong with any of these. First up is the major label debut album with Capitol and what a great start it is. The album is one of their best sellers and has some really fantastic songs.
The singles are a must including “Heroin Girl”, “Heartbreak Dollarsign” and the classic “Santa Moncia”. But that isn’t all, you also have to hear “Electra Made Me Blind”, “You Make Me Feel Like a Whore and “Her Brand New Skin” to name a few. This is a great introduction in to the band and then it keeps getting better.
#5 – SONGS FROM AN AMERICAN MOVIE VOL. ONE – LEARNING HOW TO SMILE (2000):
In 2000, Everclear decided to be adventurous and deliver us 2 albums in one year. ‘Learning How to Smile’ is the first of the 2 fantastic releases. This one is further down only because it is the more radio friendly, pop sounding of the two. The other one is a lot heavier. This one has the real big hits that everyone knows including “AM Radio”, “Wonderful” and the Van Morrison cover “Brown-Eyed Girl”.
And those aren’t the only great songs. I also really loved “Here We Go Again”, “Learning How to Smile” and one of my all-time favorite Everclear songs “Unemployed Boyfriend” which is an example of story-telling at its absolute finest. This is the song where I started really loving Art’s songwriting ability. This one is great from beginning to end.
#4 – SLOW MOTION DAYDREAM (2003):
The final album with the classic Everclear line-up and I still dig this one today just as much as back then. This was not a commercial success like the previous releases and I don’t get it. While listening back to the album for this ranking, I think I dug it more than before. It holds up well.
The singles were the amazing “Volvo Driving Soccer Mom” and “The New York Times” and these weren’t the best (although Volvo is awesome). I really loved the heavy “Blackjack” and “I Want To Die A Beautiful Death”. And I won’t forget “Chrysanthemum”, “Sunshine (That Acid Summer)” and “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. All around fantastic release. Not sure why it wasn’t bigger.
#3 – BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK (2015):
At the time of this writing, this is the band’s most current album and damn, did they nail this one. I love this one because it is a heavier Everclear. Loaded with more edginess and rawness and a great rocker of an album. And before I forget, new album, new label. This time it is The End Records…finally though the hit it out of the park and then some.
The one single from this was “The Man Who Broke His Own Heart” which is one of the best on the album. However, there are more. You get “Sugar Noise” and the beast of a song “American Monster” which I like the most. I don’t want to leave out “Pretty Bomb”, “This is Your Death Song” and even “Anything Is Better Than This”. If you like Everclear on the heavy side, this is one to not miss.
#2 – SO MUCH FOR THE AFTERGLOW (1997):
The band’s third album and they were hitting their stride with this one. Also an album you can love all the way through. The album was power pop at its finest and received a ton of radio airplay and an MTV favorite. It remains one of their best selling albums even today and for good reason.
Singles? Yes, the album had 5 singles which is a ton. They were “Everything to Everyone”, “I Will Buy You a New Life”, “Father of Mine”, “So Much For the Afterglow”, and “One Hit Wonder” and they are all awesome. There is also a heavy, groovy instrumental called “El Distorto De Melodica” which is totally badass. I also enjoy “Amphetamine”, “Normal LIke You” and “Why I Don’t Believe in God”. This album is a must own regardless of who you are.
#1 – SONGS FROM AN AMERICAN MOVIE VOL. TWO – GOOD TIME FOR A BAD ATTITUDE (2000):
This album might be a surprise to be at number one since it was not a popular release. It was the second album of the 2000 2 LP release year. Volume 2 is called ‘Good Time For a Bad Attitude” and it is just that. It is heavy and heavier than anything they have done up to ‘Black is the New Black’ and for that I love it. These 2 albums were inspired by Art’s second divorce and this LP features all the anger and is more punk/rock based and I loved it.
The songs? Oh they have the songs…you get the massive opener “When It All Goes Wrong Again”, “Rock Star” which was featured in the movie of the same name starring Mark Wahlberg and you get the final single “Out of My Depth. But that ain’t all. There is the brutal “All Fucked Up”, “Short Blond Hair”, “Slide” and the title track “Songs from An American Movie, Part Two” which ends the album brilliantly. There is not a bad song in the bunch. Give it a listen.
And there you have it, the Everclear studio albums in order of how I rank them from the worst to the best. Let me know what you think. Where did we differ and where did we agree. What is fun about these list is how differently each album impacts people. What I like, you might not, but we like the same artist and that is all that matters really. And if as a result, you find something new, then my job is done!!!