CD Fight Songs (CD 395838),
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Fight Songs

  • 1. Jagged
    2. Lonely Holiday
    3. Oppenheimer
    4. Indefinitely
    5. What We Talk About
    6. Crash on the Barrelhead
    7. Murder (Or a Heart Attack)
    8. Alone So Far
    9. Busted Afternoon
    10. 19
    11. Let the Idiot Speak
    12. Valentine
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 62373

  • Credits
    ProducerAndrew Williams
    EngineerBradley Cook

    Old 97's: Rhett Miller (vocals, guitar); Murry Hammond (vocals, bass); Ken Bethea (guitar); Philip Peeples (drums, percussion).
    Additional personnel: Andrew Williams (various instruments); Jon Rauhouse (steel guitar); Jon Brion (Vox organ).
    Recorded at Kingsway, New Orleans, Louisiana & Sound Factory, Hollywood, California.
    Old 97s' effortless way with a hook has always separated the band from its brethren in the so-called "insurgent country" ranks. Choruses, harmonies, and sheer hummability of tune have always been as important to this Dallas quartet as setting the post-punk honky-tonk on fire. This tunesmanship rises to the fore on FIGHT SONGS. The group's second major-label full-length is unquestionably Old 97s' most "pop" effort yet. But that doesn't mean that the music rocks any less fiercely or that its heartbreak twang is any less severe.
    FIGHT SONGS incorporates Old 97s' modern-rock attack into the C&W tradition. Ken Bethea's guitar bleeds distortion all over vocalist Rhett Miller's melancholy yearnings on "Jagged." Bassist Murry Hammond knowingly rewrites a Louvin Brothers classic on "Crash On The Barrelhead." "Murder (Or A Heart Attack)" is a perfect example of Old 97s' craft, with a hook that screams L.A. pop, rootsy guitars that bring to mind such Californian post-punkers as The Blasters and X, and the general well-produced and poppy feel of R.E.M, circa 1984.

  • Critic Reviews
    Rolling Stone (5/27/99, p.63) - 3 1/2 Stars (out of 5) - "...'alt-country' - a tag that the Dallas quartet has outgrown with the eclectic, often genius FIGHT SONGS. Singer and songwriter, Rhett Miller loves a pure, earnest melody, and he has an ear for the revelatory juxtaposition..."
    Spin (6/99, p.144) - 7 (out of 10) - "...Shuffle rhythms and big-note guitar lend a fading sheen of hick to what is actually a polished slab of melodic pop, full of sad, hooky, vaguely twangy confessionals for entry-level boot-gazers..."
    Entertainment Weekly (4/30/99, p.97) - "...High-strung students of Brothers Everly and Doobie, Crazy Horse and `Wild Horses,' Tex-Mex and T.Rex, they harness achy-breaky hearts to songs so packed with hooks and wordplay they seem ready to explode..." - Rating: A-
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