Rewind: Semisonic, All About Chemistry

[Semisonic - All About Chemistry]

Semisonic’s 2001 album All About Chemistry was an early entry in my Favorite Edition list that year. By the end of the year, it had been crowded out by a lot of really good Japanese indie rock. (AJICO’s Fukamidori and fra-foa’s Chuu no Fuchi would top the list.)

It ended up on the chopping block when money got tight a few years later.

This glowing review attempts to capture my enthusiasm for the album, but it reads pretty clumsily. “Blip on the proverbial pop music radar”? How did I find such phrasing acceptable?

Most reviewers I read at the time would use lyrics to explicate a songwriters’ state of mind, but I tended to write about what’s happening musically. I don’t do so on this review because Dan Wilson is a clever lyricist, and I actually paid as much attention to the words as the music.

That’s not to say I did a very good job of explaining how.

It’s tough to remember how prevalent the likes of Limp Bizkit and Korn were at the start of the 2000s, but my description of Wilson’s voice is a reaction to that. It also looks like a take a dig at Wayne Coyne, but in a way, it’s a dig at Wilson for having a smooth voice.

I’ve actually missed having this album in my collection. In the years since letting it go, I would crave hearing the title track.

But I also have to find some amusement in my naive enthusiasm for it. As voracious as my appetite for music was, I can’t say my knowledge ran deep nor wide. All About Chemistry seemed revelatory for its wit and melodic sense. I may have even played it on a shift at Waterloo and got some questionable looks from co-workers.

It’s an enjoyable album, but it’s not as profound as I thought it was.

Rewind takes a look at past reviews to see how they hold up today. The albums featured on Rewind were part of my collection, then sold for cash only to be reacquired later.

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Purchase log, 2018-10-02

[Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer]

I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.

New releases

  • Craig Armstrong, Sun On You
  • Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer


  • Amuro Namie, SWEET 19 BLUES
  • Backstreet Boys, Millennium
  • Bill Frisell, In Line
  • Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP (Explicit)
  • Freedy Johnston, Can You Fly
  • Huun-Huur-Tu, 60 Horses in My Herd
  • John Adams, Doctor Atomic Symphony / Guide to Strange Places
  • John Adams, El Dorado
  • k.d. lang, Absolute Torch and Twang
  • Lisa Gerrard, The Mirror Pool
  • Lou Harrison, Scenes from Cavafy
  • Love and Rockets, Earth, Sun, Moon
  • Semisonic, Feeling Strangely Fine
  • Shakira, MTV Unplugged
  • Shudder to Think, 50,000 B.C.

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Purchase log, 2018-09-04

[Jayne Cortez - Everywhere Drums]

I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.

Labor Day sales at thrift stores are a dangerous combination.

New releases

  • Blood Orange, Negro Swan
  • Troye Sivan, Bloom
  • Molotov, MTV Unplugged: El Disconecte
  • Santigold, I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions


  • Anonymous 4, Love’s Illusion
  • Bob Marley and the Wailers, Legend
  • Boris, Akuma no Uta
  • Edgard Varèse, The Complete Works
  • Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes
  • Giovanni Palestrina, Palestrina Masses (Tallis Scholars)
  • Iron and Wine, Around the Well
  • Jayne Cortez, Everywhere Drums
  • John Coltrane, Soultrane
  • Joni Mitchell, Hejira
  • Loretta Lynn, Country Music Hall of Fame
  • McCoy Tyner, Echoes of a Friend
  • Midnight Oil, Scream In Blue
  • Miles Davis, Sketches of Spain
  • Moby, Everything Is Wrong
  • Semisonic, All About Chemistry
  • The Books, The Lemon of Pink
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Axis: Bold as Love
  • Various Artists, If I Were a Carpenter
  • Various Composers, la Quinta essentia (Huelgas-Ensemble)
  • Various Composers, Musica Nova (Consort Veneto)
  • Vivian Green, A Love Story
  • Bananarama, True Confessions
  • Giovanni Palestrina, Missa “De Beata Virgine” (Chorus “Jeunesses Musicales”)
  • Madonna, You Can Dance
  • Rupert Holmes, Partners in Crime

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