Nada Surf – High / Low
Elektra – R1 61913
Vinyl Me, Please Records Of The Month – Vol. 37
First time vinyl reissue, Orange wax
As a twenty-something who tried to stay up on the alternative buzz of the 90’s, Nada Surf was a part of my cd stacks. “High/Low” got its fair share of plays when it came out, especially their big hit, “Popular”. Regular pop/rock radio wasn’t playing it but the “alternative” stations that were beginning to pop up on my radio dial were tuned into what made Nada Surf such a hot band for 15 minutes. Their one-hit “smash” was cynical while still being catchy and coming across as moderately sincere in its “fuck you” type message. Grunge was beginning to get a bit long in the tooth but Nada Surf were catchy and they rocked, even if it was beginning to sound like the whole 90’s alt-rock thing had begun to plateau.
I can understand why Vinyl Me, Please decided to choose “High/Low” as their January 2016 Record Of The Month. It’s a legitimately solid album throughout and, perhaps more importantly, theirs was first time it would be released on vinyl. Wins and high fives all around, right? So why is it so low on the top 12 list?
Truth? Despite really enjoying this album, I don’t feel like it could even remotely be considered a must-own album from that decade. I appreciate the fact that VMP dug deep and released an album that needed to be pressed to wax, but I would have chosen differently. I hold my VMP picks to a higher standard, but that’s just me. Soul Coughing’s “Ruby Vroom” comes to mind as a pick that would have been worthy of the VMP treatment. Afghan Whigs’ “Gentlemen” would have had me worshipping the ground on which VMP headquarters is located. A number of other choices come to mind as well, without having to delve into the “grunge’s greatest hits” catalog. Still, this pressing is the only wax version available and it’s a good record that still sounds like something I’d put on today. Not often, but I didn’t spin my cd that often either.