Monday, October 12, 2015

Top 100 Songs From the 1990s (No. 10)

10. "Holiday"
Artist: Jason Falkner
Year: 1999

Chances are even if you don't have one of Jason Falkner's solo albums in your collection, you have his work on the shelf somewhere. He was in the Three O'Clock, Jellyfish and the Grays, all for the briefest of spells... and he reunited with Jellyfish mate Roger Joseph Manning, Jr., as TV Eyes a decade ago, too. He has shared his enormous talents with the likes of Brendan Benson (see No. 53 on this countdown), Air, Beck, Paul McCartney, Aimee Mann, Susanna Hoffs, Gnarls Barkley, Eric Matthews, Travis, Glen Campbell, Daniel Johnston, Primal Scream and scores of others. All of this studio work and touring pays the bills, and I get the feeling his solo albums, well, don't. That's such a shame because every one of them is a must have in my book. So, while he toils for others, those of us who worship at the altar of Falkner are always wanting for more.

In the past 20 years, if you strip away the covers, demos, EPs, singles and the like, we are left with a mere four full-length albums (as brilliant as they are!), and it has been six long years since we have had one of those. Still, the gaps between albums makes me ever more thankful for the ones we do have, and I listen to them with regularity.

The next three slots on the countdown will feature favorite artists, obviously, but I will not be showcasing a song from their best album in the '90s. In the case of Falkner, he had two solo albums during the decade, and both of them were for Elektra. Remember when being on a major was a big deal? Anyway, 'Jason Falkner Presents Author Unknown' is power-pop perfection. I love every note. For me, a top 10 album from the '90s, but I have found it impossible to separate one song from the pack. So, I didn't. 'Can You Still Feel?' was a slick followup chock full of electronic flourishes and a less lo-fi sound. Today's pick is the standout from Falkner's second-best album in the '90s. I hope you like it, too. "To pick up where I left the story..."

14 comments:

charity chic said...

At first glance and for a horrible moment I thought that was a pic of a 90's Rod Stewart!

Brian said...

Now that would be a shock!

C said...

Indeed, we do have his work on the shelf somewhere, that's quite spooky - how did you know?! (It's Jellyfish: The King Is Half Undressed).

I think this one will be a grower, with its unexpected little twists and turns that keep it interesting, and as long as I erase all thoughts of a 90's Rod Stewart from my mind...

The Swede said...

I've had a post about Jason on the backburner for some time now, but held back, confident that he would feature high on your rundown and I'm very chuffed to be proved correct. At a pinch, from 'Author Unknown' I'd probably go for 'Miracle Medicine' or the utterly sublime 'She Goes to Bed' (a song that has me welling up just thinking about it). I absolutely agree with your selection from 'Can You Still Feel' though, 'Holiday' is an absolutely mesmerising creation (although my security wouldn't allow me to open your file to play it on this occasion). The short and long of it is that everyone should seek out both of these magnificent albums, no question.
(I've been holding back on posting back a couple of others too. Let's see if they make an appearance in the top 9!)

George said...

I have never heard of Jason Faulkner before, and I'm not sure I've heard of the bands he was in. But I do hear a sort of Aimee Mann sound/feel to parts of this song, but not in those prog-like interludes.

George said...

By the way, I have a Rod Stewart album from the 90s.

Brian said...

Swede, Wow, above and beyond holding back on posts like that, my friend. Too kind. It's funny. Many of my recent choices as well as ones coming up have popped up in our blogging community lately which leads me to believe there aren't many left that will surprise anyone. Let me know if you continue to see that security warning. That's a little alarming. I guess it's pretty obvious I think your choices from Author Unknown are wonderful. I have it bad for his work. I paid big bucks for his work when so many of his releases were only available as Japanese imports here in America. I know I'm OK, You're OK and All Quiet on the Noise Floor eventually came out domestically here. Does he have much of a following in the UK?

George, I have an album you need to hear. Expect an email from me later in the week.

Brian said...

C, Ah, yes. Great single to have. I love that song. In fact, it was No. 70 on this very countdown.

The Swede said...

I saw Jason in London several times during the 1990's on the tours for these albums and the shows were always very well supported. I'm not sure if he actually toured the UK or just played in the capitol as part of a European jaunt. He certainly toured the provinces with Jellyfish though, they were extremely popular for a while.

Brian said...

That's good perspective, Swede. Perhaps his following is even bigger there. He rarely tours here, and he usually sticks to the West Coast, particularly San Francisco and L.A. It has been quite a while since he's even done that. Was pretty busy with Beck in more recent times.

McPop said...

I'm a big fan of JF! Great song choice. Rather disappointingly "Holiday" was not included on the vinyl reissue of Can You Still Feel I picked up this year. Not sure of the reason. There are 2 good cover songs on the vinyl however.

I've seen online that Jason is working on a follow up to All Quiet on the Noise Floor. Let's hope it comes out soon (and a domestic release would be nice).

Brian said...

McPop, I thought I might hear from you on this one. I'm assuming your vinyl copy is the one put out on Lovitt Records. They released a 7" of Holiday prior to the album release, but I still don't know why it wasn't on there. I know those two covers well. Do you know the Japanese double disc Everyone Says It's On? The second disc is all covers, including the two from your vinyl. Falkner's choice of covers have always been inspired. You wouldn't expect an American to know bands like Swell Maps or the Monochrome Set all that well. Like you, I have been reading a new album is in the works, but I have heard that for a couple of years. Sure hoping for some news soon. Very pleased to know you're a fan!

kevinpat said...

Okay now you're talking! I love this infectious pop style that bounced around during the 90s. And this is a perfect example. Great choice! Jason's just a talented guy with a clear ear for a hook and a long line to pull you in. This is my favorite album of his, although he has so many choice cuts scattered amongst his work. And I do so love his covers! (despite those very questionable Beatle lullaby albums that sink. Ugh…) He gave Joni Mitchell's "Both Side Now" a spin that nobody expected, among it's billions of covers. It's just WoW. And anyone who covers Essential Logic's "Fanfare in the Garden" is my best friend forever. Ha! (Love my EL 45s!!!) Jason Falkner is a master in that same class as Jon Brion (The Aimee Mann connection that George mentions perhaps??) and the more quirky but masterful work of Lindsey Buckingham (who does the "Holiday Road"….), and perhaps Michael Penn's great Beatlesque albums of the 90's which are all fun too! And then there's all those great power pop players too many to mention. But yes! on the JK "Holiday"!! Very worthy of top ten in my book, not only because it's one great ticket- inducing driving song, but as a representation of all the power guys of the 90's. (This from a big Raspberry fan, but don't tell anyone…..) Thanks, Bri.

Brian said...

Kevinpat, Just saw your comment. Love that you brought up Jon Brion. If Meaningless had come out in 1999 instead of 2001, he would probably have been highlighted on this countdown later in the week. And, yes, choosing an Essential Logic tune is crazy and wonderful at the same time. I'll have something to say about Michael Penn right after this countdown concludes... which will be very soon. Yippee!