Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Perfect Pop from Jason Falkner

You may not have heard multi-talented musician and songwriter Jason Falkner’s name before. I would almost guarantee, however, that you’ve heard his music.

For starters, you may be familiar with Jellyfish. Their 1990 release, Bellybutton, saw some airplay. The single, Baby’s Coming Back (one of my least favorite tracks on the album), hit #62 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Other singles included “That Is Why”, “I Wanna Stay Home”, and “The King Is Half-Undressed.” All great songs you may have heard. Falkner left Jellyfish before their second release, Spilt Milk. (Incidentally, several members of this band have gone on to make great music in other bands and as solo musicians. It was quite a collection of talent.)

Falkner then wound up with The Grays. This 90s pop super group was only able to keep it together for 1 album but it was brilliant and got some radio play as well. I was frankly stunned to discover today that this album is currently out of print. It is available used and you should get it immediately, if you don’t already own it.

Wow. I have the same painting in my living room.

Wow. I have the same painting in my living room.

Since that breakup, Falkner has worked with Eric Matthews, Brendan Benson (now of The Raconteurs), Susanna Hoffs, Air, Aimee Mann, Travis, Beck, and Paul McCartney. All of this establishes his musical pedigree. What you came here for, of course, is the music itself.

Falkner’s first solo album, Jason Falkner Presents Author Unknown, was released in 1996. The reason Falkner has been so successful and sought after for so many years is he is a very talented songwriter and plays a bajillion instruments. On this album, almost every instrument you hear is played by Falkner (Simultaneously! OK, not really.) with the exception of the strings and one guitar overdub. The songs are catchy and alternately beautiful and powerful – and sometimes both. I ripped 8 to my iPod. You should too.

  • I Live – Having one guy doing everything certainly unifies the working parts toward his vision of the whole song. This is very tightly crafted power Pop.
  • Miracle Medicine – Great harmony vocals and multi-layered guitar dubs. This has a strong guitar hook at the chorus, too.
  • Hectified – A very cool and self-deprecating song. He makes writing songs this catchy seem effortless. Listen and you’ll hear what I mean.
  • Don’t Show Me Heaven – I like the thought provoking lyrics that are typical for Falkner. “Don’t it make you wonder which came first: the insatiable hunger or unquenchable thirst. Doesn’t matter at all once you check out of here.”
  • …Nobody Knows – Layered jangling and buzzing guitars, harmony vocals and an infectious hook.
  • Follow Me – The distorted guitars hammering behind the bouncy melody wouldn’t be out of place on a Weezer album.
  • Afraid Himself to Be – I’m not sure who he is flinging these accusations at, but I would hazard a guess that this song came out of the break-up of Jellyfish.
  • Untitled – A very pretty closer that ends by transitioning into an even more beautiful mini-song at the end. “You may not have been able to change the world but at least you’ve changed my mind…”

More at http://www.jasonfalkner.net/ and http://www.myspace.com/jasonfalkner.

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April 22, 2009 - Posted by | Popular, Rock, Uncategorized

5 Comments »

  1. Dude — No Miss Understanding?

    Comment by troy | April 22, 2009 | Reply

  2. Meh. What can I say? It didn’t do it for me and didn’t make the cut on my iPod. Maybe other readers will see your vote and check it out, though. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Comment by missedmusic | April 22, 2009 | Reply

  3. Fair enough. We seem to be simpatico on most of the rest, though.

    If you love the man as I do, I assume you’ve followed his career since this disc. I won’t lie; I’ve liked each release more than the one after it. I’m eager to see what he does with his next record, which I think is pretty close to done, if not close to release.

    Thanks for taking the time to come over to my place. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by troy | April 22, 2009 | Reply

  4. Poking around your site, you seem to know way more music than I do. Any advice for a guy looking to recapture the magic of this record and Brendan Benson’s debut? I’ve also been big into Sloan and Guided by Voices, and my favorite Elliott Smith album was Figure 8, if that gives you any idea where I’m coming from.

    Comment by troy | April 22, 2009 | Reply

    • I’m assuming you have The Grays’ album Ro Sham Bo and both Jellyfish albums. Falkner didn’t play on Spilt milk, but I actually think it’s a better album and it’s still in that power pop vein. A quick look at the Wikipedia article on Jellyfish will show you where the guys all went.

      I was never very good at “if you like _____, then you’ll like _____.” That said, you might want to check out The Slip’s album Angels Come on Time and The Shins’ album Chutes Too Narrow.

      Comment by missedmusic | April 23, 2009 | Reply


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