Category: The Gin Blossoms

The Gin Blossoms – Congratulations, I’m Sorry

ARTIST: The Gin Blossoms Gin_Blossoms_-_Congratulations...I'm_Sorry

TITLE: Congratulations, I’m Sorry

YEAR RELEASED: 1996

CHART ACTION: #10 US, #42 UK

SINGLES: Follow You Down (#9 US, #6 Mainstream, #8 Modern, #30 UK), Day Job (#29 Mainstream,, #31 Modern), As Long As It Matters (#75 US), Not Only Numb

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not on the normal version. See below.

LINEUP: Robin Wilson, Scott Johnson, Jesse Valenzuela, Bill Leen, Phillip Rhoads.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Followup to their surprise breakout sees them mining the same territory, but without their best songwriter the tracks didn’t have the same impact.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Gin Blossoms second major label album did change up their sound on a few tracks, but mostly mined the same slight power-jangle pop sound. The issue was the songwriting – without the late Doug Hopkins the rest of the band had to pick up the songwriting slack, and except for a couple of tracks (“Day Job”) they seemed like lesser takes on their first album.

“Follow You Down” was really the only track that stands out amongst the rest of the tracks and it was the song that sounded like it really could have been on the first album. Really, much of the album sounded like that. They were really gunning for a second big smash, but by 1996, people seemed to be over the simple sounds of the band.

A major reason for the disappointment could have been a decision by their record company. A&M decided that their single for the 1995 Empire Records movie, “’Til I Hear It From You” (#11 US, #4 Mainstream, #5 Modern, #39 UK) should be left off of the new album even though the soundtrack was also released by A&M. That cut some sales and interest in the album, and forced the band to fill the void.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The title comes from the phone calls the band got for their success, and the loss of Doug Hopkins.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, they finally tacked on the 1995 single. It really could have made the album just a bit better.

 GRADE C+: It really was the same kind of album as before, but with fewer memorable tracks.

The Gin Blossoms – New Miserable Experience

ARTIST: The Gin Blossoms 

TITLE: New Miserable Experience

YEAR RELEASED: 1992

CHART ACTION: #30 US, #1 Heatseekers, #53 UK

SINGLES: Mrs. Rita (#36 Mainstream), Hey Jealousy (#25, #4 Mainstream, #24), Until I Fall Away (#40 Mainstream, #13 Modern), Found Out About You (#25, #5 Mainstream, #1 Modern, #40 UK), Allison Road (#20 Mainstream, #39 Modern)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: You may have this, and remember other songs. It sold a boatload.

LINEUP: Robin Wilson, Doug Hopkins, Jesse Valenzuela, Bill Leen, Phillip Rhoads.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A pleasant sounding jangly, kinda power-poppy, rock record lumped into Alternative Rock because of the times. It sold a boatload.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Back in the 90’s, I got sick of the Gin Blossoms and sold this record back. I think I got 50 cents or something (the market was flooded). On re-listen I discovered that the main reason I got sick of them, besides constant radio airplay for two years, was that singer Robin Wilson sounds the same in every song. I mean, THE SAME.

The melodies may be slightly different, but his inflection and range are in a very set band. The songs are very similar in many aspects, but Wilson’s voice doesn’t help anything. They do add some flourishes outside of the norm (“Cajun Song” for one, and “Hands Are Tied” has more oomph), but still the songs sound nearly the same in terms of melody and feel.

This record took about a year to break, thanks to A&M finally deciding to jump on board the alternative rock game. It did sound somewhat fresh on the radio, and after a long period of not hearing it I was reminded of its pleasant, if limited, charms. 

NOTES & MINUTIAE: You may know that guitarist Doug Hopkins, who wrote half of the songs, including the two everyone knows, was kicked out due to alcoholism and later committed suicide. What you may not know is that the band forced him to give up his band royalties and half of his songwriting royalties as well. He also wasn’t credited on the albuim.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a whole bunch of tracks from earlier records (their first independent record isn’t streaming). A&M also changed the cover when this started to break.

 GRADE B-: Some of the deeper cuts are better (or at least unique), like “Hands Are Tied”, but this album is basically built on its singles.