By Ken Schles / MCA MUSIC
|Semisonic, the band that hit it big a few years ago with
"Closing Time," has just released their new album, All
About Chemistry. The band produced the album
themselves,ensuring that each track is just the way they
(U-WIRE) Louisiana State U.-Minneapolis-based
band Semisonic is open once again for business with
its latest CD, All About Chemistry. When its second
album, Feeling Strangely Fine, went platinum with the
success of the popular airwave hit "Closing Time,"
Semisonic felt liberated and ready to give its fans a new
album in which to revel.
"It was sometimes overwhelming to read all the
e-mails we'd get about how deeply our music was
affecting the fans," said guitarist/songwriter Dan
Wilson. Wilson added that fans, pouring out support, let
the band know that its music was helping people
"make sense of their lives and times."
This, of course, was the encouragement and
inspiration for the band's current album, All About
Chemistry. The new CD is not just a product of
Semisonic's songwriting and musical talents, but
features various digital recording devices,
sound-processing equipment, synthesizers and
samplers that Wilson, bassist John Munson and
drummer Jacob Slichter incorporated into the band's
"I told John and Jake that I wanted us to produce it
ourselves," Wilson said. "I figured this was a chance to
get the new songs on a CD the way I heard them in my
With the rest of the band in agreement, Semisonic
on the role as producer as well as talent. "Since we
produced the record ourselves, we didn't have to
explain these weird sounds to anyone," Slichter added.
All About Chemistry is the band's way of trying
"I told the guys that I thought we'd done a great
introspective album last time around, but this time I
wanted to make something really different," Wilson
said. All About Chemistry is a concept album that takes
the listener through a journey of sexual and social
situations that a group of friends experience in
Each song is related to the chemistry between people,
hence the CD's title, title track, and tracks represented
by figures as they'd be viewed in a chemistry book.
"On the last album, I wrote almost all the songs as
secrets being told to just one person," said the
Grammy-nominated Wilson. "This time around, I
envisioned a big group of friends at a great party, where
everyone has done a few things they'll remember
forever and everyone has done a few things that they'd
Each of the 12 tracks tells stories about the ins and
outs of love and relationships. "Get a Grip" tells of the
fact that there is not necessarily someone for everyone
when the band sing "when the lights come on and the
party's through, there are always a few with nobody to
do." Though several of the songs seem depressing at
first listen, they always lighten up with the usual
All of the songs on All About Chemistry are light and
airy and can be classified into the pop category, but
Semisonic's message is for a more mature audience
than that of the usual fluff bands.
In "She's Got My Number," Wilson sings "she's got my
number/I must confess one look in her eyes/and I feel
undressed/she doesn't care all of the world's standing
at her door/she doesn't even care what they're waiting
for," expressing his fascination with a woman who
doesn't give others the time of day.
"One True Love," a song of pity for oneself for being
alone, was co-written by the legendary Carole King.
King not only helped write the song, but she also
contributes vocals alongside Wilson.
"I think her balance of emotional power and pop
brilliance is like an ideal I've always been reaching for,"
Wilson said. It was pretty amazing to find myself sitting
in a room with her, singing ideas back and forth."
King's influence is evident as soon as the song opens
and the beginning piano piece reminds the listener of
her famous "You've Got a Friend."
Listeners will hear "All About Chemistry" on radio
stations across the country, mixed in with songs and
artists who deserve no recognition. However, All About
Chemistry is evidence that Semisonic has beaten the
one-hit wonder rap and will continue to produce good
music that is easy to listen to.