Nasty Little Thoughts by Stroke 9 (1999)

14Jun11

Who? If you remember Stroke 9, you’ve probably thrown them into the “one hit wonder” category. I’m here to convince you otherwise…stick around for the duration of Nasty Little Thoughts, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised! The “one hit” I’m referring to is of course ‘Little Black Backpack’, a bar room favorite for jukeboxes and cover bands. Everyone’s heard this one before, and if you find yourself in the middle of a crowded beach bar with ‘Backpack’ blaring over the speakers, it’s pretty hard to resist singing along (admit it, you’ve done it).

There’s a kind of solemn (but not boring) vibe to the lyrics throughout much of the record, initiated by album-opener ‘Letters’. This track sets the mood, with its story-telling structure and unanswered questions. ‘City Life’ and ‘Tail of the Sun’ keep that vibe going, as the guitars strum along to the emotional lyrics. These aren’t “emo” songs, there’s just a sense of yearning for better days in the singer’s voice and words, and that passion combined with chilled out instrumentation creates a solid 4-track opening shift for the record. ‘Washin & Wonderin’ and ‘Not Nothin’ kick up the tempo a bit. ‘Make It Last’ has a cool “we’ll never feel this way again” message. ‘One Time’ drifts toward the sounds of Sublime without leaving the rock guitars behind. ‘Down’ has all the qualities of a Tom Petty song (minus Tom Petty) as it sneaks up on you toward the end of the set. Then ‘Tear Me In Two’ closes the record in style…despite its slower pace, it rocks hard.

Yada yada yada…there is not a bad song on this record. And there’s a really consistent aura throughout…rock guitars, catchy hooks, and attention-grabbing lyrics. Stroke 9 may not have ever broken into the major league status of their contemporaries like Third Eye Blind and 311, but it wasn’t for lack of quality. Sometimes in music things just don’t work out like that, and unmitigated gems like Nasty Little Thoughts get forgotten among the confusion of radio-driven pop acts. That’s cool…you’ve got the turtle to remind you of the good stuff you’ve missed! Don’t pass up an opportunity to listen to Nasty Little Thoughts…if you’ve ever been a confused teenager or a nostalgic 20-or-30-something, you’ll find something here to relate to.

music turtle recommends: BUY IT!

What do you think about this album? Comment below

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