ARTIST: The Feelies
TITLE: Only Life
YEAR RELEASED: 1988
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Away (#6 Modern Rock)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They cover What Goes On by the VU
LINEUP: Glenn Mercer, Bill Million, Stan Demeski, Brenda Sauter, Dave Weckerman
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A major label record, but the Feelies don’t really change up anything. And that’s just peachy.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The band’s biggest influence was the Velvet Underground, and the title track definitely is of a piece of later-period VU with Glenn Mercer’s voice having a definite Lou Reed vibe. They also cover “What Goes On” by Reed and company as the album ender, so the VU is a big part of this album.
Not everything specifically apes the Velvets. Many tracks are back to the gentle jangly strumming plus guitar solo of The Good Earth, with more emphasis on song than on mode. (The guitar solos are the secret weapon – not really distorted but not exactly clean, either). Tracks like “For Awhile” and “The Undertow” show some growth in songcraft, while maintaining their signature sound. They also use secondary percussionist Dave Weckerman to great effect on many tracks.
One thing about the Feelies is that they’re consistent. Their first three albums deliver exactly what the listener expects.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The title track is used as the theme of a podcast by the Harvard Business Review.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE A-: Solid album that solidified the Feelies’ place in college and alternative rock.