This Is Greta!

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The unstated subtext of this album's emphatic introductory title is, " know that album we did a couple of years ago? That wasn't really us." And the album's contents prove them right. Released in 1993, No Biting was a dull, sludgy attempt to jump on the grunge bandwagon, but the far superior This Is Greta! is a much brighter, poppier album. Singer Paul Plagens and guitarist Kyle Baer still favor hard, chunky riffs, but the results sound much more like Cheap Trick than Black Oak Arkansas, always a good thing. Ed Stasium's production burnishes the sound, and his sense of dynamics gives the songs a lot more empty space than the claustrophobic debut. Overall, Stasium's production makes This Is Greta! sound more than a little like the albums he produced for the Smithereens, especially on the power-popping opener, "About You." The songs are better too, likely because Plagens takes a stronger role in the writing. He wrote most of the songs by himself, and co-wrote the songs that Baer and bassist Josh Gordon had a hand in. This gives the album a more cohesive sound, and it certainly helps that Plagens is the best melodicist of the three. Pretty good lyricist too, as the snarky "Cal Cool (You're So Whatever)" attests. Unfortunately, as improved as This Is Greta! is, it disappeared almost immediately upon release and the band was dropped.

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