One of the only ‘90s alternative rock albums you ever bought in the ‘90s, even if you weren’t the sort to buy alternative rock albums in the ‘90s. You certainly remember Live (pronounced “it’s alive”) from radio play and music video rotation, but do you really replay their music much? Be honest now. No wonder the band’s earned the running gag of one of the biggest acts of that decade that no one remembers.
As a refresher, they flitted through the realms of grunge, college rock, and even a bit of country, not quite getting pigeon-holed into any specific scene, yet always welcome on the appropriate FM stations. The I Alone vid’ is practically a what’s-what of ‘90s alt-rock standards: a desolate stage shoot with requisite grunge tree, shirtless shaved member, a long-haired scruffy Reality Bites member, a short-haired scruffy Clerks member, creepy animals. Live is about the most ‘90s rock band any ‘90s rock fan will tell you existed, despite the group maintaining a decent career well into the ‘00s, even releasing a new album eighteen months ago. It, erm, didn’t sell even a touch as well as Throwing Copper.
But then few albums did in the ‘90s, Live’s sophomore effort one of the best selling LPs of the decade. This, despite the fact it only hit the top of the charts in a handful of countries, and only scored a couple number one hits out of five singles released (Selling The Drama and Lightning Crashes earning those honors). Throwing Copper was the epitome of a slow burner though, an album from a band no one knew much about, but through consistent airplay and word-of-mouth buzz positive momentum t’was built. It got folks to those
And unlike some other mega-selling ‘90s albums, most folks aren’t so embarrassed at having bought this. Live are a solid rock band, no doubt, capably going from soft and melodic to loud and aggressive as needed. Ed Kowalczyk makes for a good, relatable frontman, telling tales of people on the struggling side of life without ever sounding condescending or ultra-angsty. Live find an agreeable middle-ground, Throwing Copper as engaging a listen as it is a nice casual throw-on; a slightly heavier Tragically Hip, is the vibe I’m getting at.
Yet for as good a rock album this is, you don’t see much in the way of retrospectives for it. Its 20th Anniversary passed by with but a token vinyl reissue, a feat even a middling rock release gets these days. More damning though is its Wiki page, the barest of write-ups offered. Nothing regarding the album's conception, recording process, interviews with band members… this, for a top selling album of the ‘90s. Amazing how something once so popular can so easily turn into an afterthought.
All Over You