This is All That Glitters is Gold, a recurring piece about some of my favorite artists, albums, tracks, and live shows. Here I will write about the music I love, most of which inspired me to start Alt Revue in the first place. I'm excited to highlight this music and talk about how it has impacted me. I hope you enjoy getting a glimpse into some of my favorites!
Today I am so excited to highlight one of my favorite bands of all time, Nada Surf. This band's music has meant so much to me over the years and they will always have a place in my top artists. Today I am extra excited because I get to discuss one of my favorite albums from Nada Surf, Let Go. It is full of so many fantastic songs that I will be highlighting today. I had the opportunity to see Nada Surf's Let Go 15 Anniversary Show in Austin, Texas where they played the album in it's entirety and then played a subsequent sound. That's right, no opener, just all Nada Surf, it was one of the best concert experiences I have ever had (I have included a couple of shots from the show you can see below).
1. "Blizzard of '77" - My favorite song on the album and perhaps one of my favorite songs ever. It just means so much to me personally, which I have gone into before here. Outside of it's personal meaning to me, it's just a simply terrific song.
2. "Happy Kid" - A downright banger of a tune with some fantastic guitar in it. Matthew Caws sings beautifully over the lightly distorted guitar, but the harmonies here are great as well, it gives the vocals a certain depth. There is also some great percussion work in this track that helps with the transitions between song parts, it's so well-done.
3. "Inside of Love" - A heartbreaking song of love and loss. This track has been featured in film to capture just such moments. It features a driving guitar and beautiful lyrics that describe a strong desire to be in love. It's exquisitely composed you simply have to hear it.
4. "Fruit Fly" - A beautifully composed song with lyrics that are narrative in nature. The song starts out slow, but shifts powerfully and features a great part where the music is downright scary good while Caws utilizes a metaphor for the jerky patterns of fruit flies to symbolize just trying to get it right in life. Masterful lyric work and music.
5. "Blonde on Blonde" - A slower tune with a well-paced hook that features references to Blonde on Blonde and managed to avoid a lawsuit! Bravo! All kidding aside, the harmonies in this track are so great, especially the falsetto harmonies! Nada Surf never ceases to amaze.
6. "Hi-Speed Soul" - Another banger in the verses, with quick lyrics, and guitar lines. However, the hook and breakdowns are just brilliant. The slow the song where it needs to, to prevent it just from being a bottle rocket song (a song that just flies through and ends in no time). Nada Surf have such a great understanding of pace and space in their songwriting and should get more credit for it.
7. "Killian's Red" - Another song with lyrics that are built in a narrative fashion. The star of this track is the simply astounding guitar work that is present throughout. This song aims for slower verses and blows it out on choruses. The chorus is built on a great foundation that helps the audience anticipate the chorus both vocally and musically.
8. "The Way You Wear Your Head" - A faster but lighter offering. The star of this tune is the chorus which features a slight falsetto from Caws. The guitar work is also a bright spot as it almost "talks" itself it's so versatile.
9. "Neither Heaven nor Space" - A slower track, the percussion and vocals stand out here. The are simple, they shimmer, and they brilliant. This song is all about being understated and it accomplishes so much through this aim. It's absolutely beautiful and worthy of your time and attention.
10. "Là Pour Ça" - A slow beautifully melodic track that is sang exclusively in French by Caws. One of the benefits of being the son of a diplomat to France. Fun fact, there are actually two members of the group that speak French.
11. "Treading Water" - One of the faster offerings on the album, which to the uninitiated is a typical gear for Nada Surf to operate out of. The breaks in this song where it slows are absolutely outstanding.
12. "Paper Boats" - One of the most hypnotic hooks you will ever hear in a song, with the mixture of melody and especially the vocals from Caws.
Let Go is by far Nada Surf's most commercially successful album. It is also representative of a collection of some of the group's best work. It's also a great entry point for anyone looking to get into Nada Surf. The songs are highly listenable (trust me I've listened to this album thousands of times). If you haven't gotten into Nada Surf before start here and then work your way around. Most people know "Popular", I will tell you that is actually my least favorite song in the band's entire catalogue. That just tells you some of what they have to offer. Give Let Go a listen you'll love it.