Sloan's The Double Cross - How Will You Be "Whelmed"?
This week sees the release of The Double Cross, Sloan's 10th studio album. In honor of what is sure to be another great entry into the annals of power-pop history I find myself reflecting on the start of Sloan's career almost 20 years ago.
1992's Smeared immediately placed Sloan at the top of the Canadian Indie Rock heap. Fuzzy, poppy, quirky and decidedly non-grunge, Smeared made it clear that Sloan was full of talent and originality, though perhaps only hinted at the power-pop rock champions that Sloan would soon become.
For me the stand out track has always been Underwhelmed. I was first drawn to the song by the great hooks and the fun word play. The grammatical theme of the lyrics appealed to the young writer in me.
She was underwhelmed if that's a word, I know it's not 'cause I looked it up, That's one of those skills that I learned in my school
"I told her affection had two F's, especially when you're dealing with me"
"She cursed me up and down and rolled her R's (Her beautiful R's)"
A more holistic look at the lyrics, though, uncover a portrayal of high school "love" that rings very true for me. The singer/protagonist desperately wants to impress the girl and win her heart but keeps getting in his own way with his compulsion for grammatical correctness.
"The point is not the grammar, it's the feeling, That is certainly in my heart, But not in hers"
"She wrote out a story about her life, I think it included something about me, I'm not sure of that but I'm sure of one thing, Her spelling's atrocious"
That feeling of desperation to impress followed by beating yourself up for being too dorky is perfectly captured and brings me right back to those days, even 20 years later.
And now we must look back towards the future, and to a surely great new release that we will be listening to this spring, summer and beyond. The Double Cross by Sloan comes out on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 and you should buy it.