Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Best Albums You Never Heard

By Kurt Torster

Nine Days “So Happily Unsatisfied” (2002)

I think just about anyone my age would call the decades of the 90s/00’s a vast musical wasteland. Sure there were exceptions, but overall, the mainstream continued to get further flushed down the crapper. So leave it be to me to come across one of the great undiscovered rock albums from a band that might have been considered to be part of said wasteland.

Nine Days will always be looked at as nothing more than a one hit wonder, with their “Absolutely (Story Of A Girl)” propagating many a “Now That’s What I Call Music” type compilation.

Sure, the follow up single, “If I Am” did a minor bit of chart damage but it’s doubtful many remember this one.

So with a moderately successful major label debut under their belt, the band set out to record their second for Sony and then were promptly dropped and the album left to sit around unreleased.

I have to wonder what the people at the label were thinking when the band handed in the tapes for this one. Even as I listen now, this set holds up remarkably well and if one didn’t know any better, could easily have thought it came out yesterday (well, minus a reliance on stuff like auto-tune).

With a sound that now resembles what Train might sound like if they were a Green Day cover band, it’s everything a fan of anthemic rock would want. Big, bold and loud with choruses made to be sung along combined with a handful of introspective (yet never plodding) ballads, this album is close to the top of my “WTF was the label thinking?” chart.

What easily could have been mined for hit after hit, songs like “Good Friend,” the infectious “Emily,” the poptastic “The Joneses” and the amazing epic “Ocean” should have taken this band multi-platinum alongside their similarly sounding brethren Matchbox 20.

Looking back to 2002, music was trending more towards the forthcoming decade chart dominance of American Idol and hip-hop. With Nickelback being the only rock band in the top 10 for the year, it might have been one of the many periods of “experts” proclaiming yet again...rock is dead. But, with a little scratching at the surface, albums like this were easily uncovered and this was actually one of my favorite musical time periods. I found so many great bands that for the most part remain undiscovered, and will give me endless writing fodder.

As opener, “Favorite Song,” prophetically stated, “What if everything you had, was like a castle made of sand, would you open your hand or hold on tight?” Who knew they might have talking about their own career?

The band has since released a handful of excellent EPs and seems to have fractured into a set of solo acts. Since it remains unreleased, the band offers this album for free (yep, free!) in high quality downloads over at their site, So, really, now you have no excuse.

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