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  The Island of Misfit Songs  
  Scot Ninnemann  
Release Date:
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Okay. I feel really bad about this. My truck ate Scotís CD.

Let me explain. See, myself, PostLibyan and Tracers (and my wife, and Squid, and the Priestess, but not Zythos, Dutchie, or that guy in LA) all went to university together. Also attending said university was a lovely young lass whom weíll call Rizzbess. (Rizzbess is probably our default legal counsel, now that I think about it, should we ever truly piss someone off.) [EDITOR'S NOTE: Rizzbess is indeed On Retainer to EvilSponge. It never hurts to have a lawyer handy. -- Brendan] Anyway, we all went to school with Rizzbess, right? And then, later, Rizzbessí sister attended the same school (with me, but not with P-Lib or Tracers.) Rizzbessí sister eventually started going out with this guy, Scot. Because we all still, on occasion, will hang out with Rizzbess and her sister, we all met Scot. By the time Scot got off his ass and married sister-girl, weíd all become pretty good friends.

So, now weíve got this buddy, Scot. Right? Because of Rizzbess. And we like Scot. Heís a good guy. Heís funny (though not as funny as me.) He has good taste in beer. Mostly. A good guy, Scot. And talented. Puts together a mean composition of Beatlesesque guitar pop on occasion, music that lands somewhere between folk and Matthew Sweet, he does. As good or better, really, than the vast majority of stuff youíre going to hear at Eddieís Attic.

So Scot released his fourth CD a couple months ago. And of course, he sent us a copy. That is, I would argue, the rational and reasonable thing to do, after all. Said CD made its way down to me to review, and out I set to review it. (We could tangent off into my insane backlog of reviews now, but wonít.)

The way I review CDs is this: I take them out to my truck, and I listen to them for at least a week as I drive back and forth to work. This is probably why I like upbeat pop music so much more than the shoegazer stuff that P-Libís into. But again, this is a tangent.

So, I listen to music in my truck, during my commute to and from work. Or wherever the hell else Iím going. This, bracketed by headphone sessions at work, is where I digest music. So I took Scotís CD to the truck. And from there, it vanished into thin air quite mysteriously. I mean itís not like someone stole it. Because I would think they would have taken, you know, the other twenty or so CDs in there as well, and maybe even the laptop thrown carelessly in the backseat. But these things did not dissipate into thin air. Only Scotís CD did that.

I am flummoxed. I mean the thing is just gone. Nowhere to be found; no longer of this world; an ex-parrot. Iíve spent the past two weeks searching every possible CD hiding place, to no avail. The little gray men now have Scotís CD, apparently. And they got it out of my truck. This disturbs me in a quite visceral way.


Scotís new CD is called The Island of Misfit Songs. Itís a compilation of stuff from 1989-2003, mostly songs that didnít seem to fit neatly onto one of his other releases. Thereís good stuff here. Thereís some stuff that should probably have been left on whatever dusty shelf he dug it off. The first four tracks are all very good stuff. Track three, Ice Storm is actually on my short list for inclusion on the 2003 best of compilation (which is probably the highest compliment any of us 'Spongers ever give a song.) Four, My Fascist Girlfriend is pretty damned amusing, and itís good for sing-a-longs while driving.

Dance of Light and On Strike sort of lose me though, mostly because of my allergies to earnestness. Earnestness is to me as lactose is to P-Lib. Track seven, A Sort of Mental Housecleaning feels like itís got something worthwhile hiding inside, but I canít quite find it.

But Throwback picks up another solid vibe and gets the head to bobbing again. The vocals here feel less forced, too. Scot, buddy, youíre a tenor. Embrace this. The baritone stuff doesnít make sense to me. Stop that. Lamppost, again, is a very good, poppy, hooky song and Iím singing along again.

We will not mention ďtrack 9 Ĺ,Ē because Scot is my friend. Letís just say that I think Lamppost would have been an excellent end to the compilation, Ďkay.

So, when we get down to it, The Island of Misfit Songs opens strong, sort of sags in the middle, regains its focus a couple of tracks from the end, and then forgets to end when it should. Thatís not bad at all, especially considering that it is, in the end, a compilation of songs that just donít fit into track listings particularly well.

Should you go get a copy? Well, hell, sure. Scotís a good guy, and like I said, heís as good or better than most folksy pop singers out on various scenes. Going in youíre going to need a basic appreciation of straight pop melodies, earnest lyricism and multi-layered productions, and honestly, Iíd suggest you start with one of his last ďalbums properĒ before swinging by The Island of Misfit Songs comp, but otherwise you should be pleasantly fulfilled. And if youíre in the Chapel Hill, NC area, maybe you should look him up sometime. If you talk music with him, heíll probably buy you beer.

As for sponge ratings, hereís my basic calculus: 4 sponges for quality of material, plus 1 for being a good guy, minus 1 for apparently having CDís that disappear into thin air and make you paranoid about driving your truck. So, 4 sponges, with the disclaimer that I like Ice Storm enough to consider bumping the entire release back up to 5, and would if not for that Big Toe song at the end.

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If you are interested in this album, you can get it from Mr. Ninnemann's website.


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