The Posies: Dear 23 (1990)

The Posies have been recording on and off since the late 80s, a flurry of good-to-great indie pop music that drinks deep from the Big Star legend (wunderkind maestros Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, who share songwriting, guitar, and vocal duties for the Posies, joined Alex Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens as the reconstituted Big Star in the 90s for multiple "reunion" tours as well as the 2006 album In Space, which was basically a Big Star/Posies hybrid record); but theirs is a more cerebral, baroque power pop, lyrically and musically interesting songs that go more for the left field twist than the straightforward 3-chord chiming guitar pop of many of their peers. Beyond a wealth of band releases, both Auer and Stringfellow have released several solo albums over the years, as well as playing supporting roles in multiple indie pop projects. (My personal favorite is Orange Humble Band, a power pop supergroup of sorts with Stringfellow on vocals.)

They hit an early peak with their second release, 1990's Dear 23, which evidenced surprising songwriting maturity. "Golden Blunders" is a fantastic stand-out, an extended life story narrative with one of those choruses that will be stuck in your head for days (weeks?). A few other tunes hold up well alongside that one, like the boisterous opener "My Big Mouth" and the lovely, sophisticated "Suddenly Mary." But plenty of more modest moments shine as well, like the downbeat epic ballad "Apology," where the chewy hooks remain but need to be untangled from the more ambitious scope of the songs. They close things out with "Flood of Sunshine," another quiet ballad that ramps up into a full-blown 70s-styled lighter-hoisting guitar hero workout.

The album was reissued a couple years back by Omnivore, with better sound an a bonus disc of demos and alternate takes. 

Here's the "Golden Blunders" video:
Here's a live take on "Suddenly Mary":
And here's a live "My Big Mouth" (as a medley with a cover of the Replacements' "Can't Hardly Wait":

Comments

  1. Great post. I can’t believe how much our record collections overlap!

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