The Smithereens

Date with the Smithereens

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The Smithereens released Blow Up, their bid for crossover radio play, in September 1991, just two weeks before Nevermind appeared in stores. Once grunge broke through, the Smithereens were effectively edged out of the college radio market, and it wasn't long before mainstream radio turned their back as well. There was no place to go except back to their roots. Again hiring Don Dixon as producer, the Smithereens made A Date with the Smithereens -- a classic Smithereens album in the vein of Especially for You but with the sound of 11. The problem is, Pat DiNizio hit a songwriting dry spell, and the group simply sounds worn out. "Sick of Seattle" hints at the problem -- too old for grunge, too young for the nostalgia circuit, the group is tired and unsure of their position in the alt-rock universe. Instead of rising to the occasion with a defiant or even craftsmanlike album, they go through the motions. They're such a skilled band that they can't help but turn out a couple of gems, such as "Miles from Nowhere" or "Everything I Have Is Blue," but the cumulative effect is dispiriting. It's no wonder they took five years to deliver a follow-up to A Date with the Smithereens.

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