I feel like I'm getting a second chance to live through the '90s. It's not just my hearing Weezer for the first time; it's all the reissues that labels have been dropping on us: Beck's Odelay, Air's Moon Safari, and Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville are a few.
Now comes a new reissue, this time from Sebadoh: a 15th-anniversary edition of the band's 1993 classic Bubble and Scrape.
I'm not sure how I ever missed this band. I actually did have friends who listened to and loved Sebadoh. I may have heard some of Sebadoh's music at a party or in a bar and not realized it, but I never owned any Sebadoh and couldn't have told you anything about it.
When I saw the Bubble and Scrape reissue come in a few weeks ago, I set it aside in my "I-should-hear" pile. NPR Music producer Stephen Thompson noticed the CD and told me to check out the opening cut, "Soul and Fire." He said it was one of the mopey anthems of his college years — played over and over again on a cassette as he cruised between school and his part-time job at the I-94 Dairy Queen, where he wore a hairnet and dreamed of being a rock star.
Okay, I made that last part up. But I took his advice and cued up the first track. I figured it'd be a little background noise for whatever work I was doing, but I soon found myself motionless, staring off into the distance, absolutely transfixed by the song. When it was all over, I hit the back button and listened again — in fact, I probably listened to that song 20 or 30 times in the week that followed. I later played it for a roomful of friends who all reacted the same way.
The rest of Bubble and Scrape is just as mesmerizing. Even if you already own the album, the reissue is worth getting: It includes an astounding 15 bonus tracks, including an acoustic demo version of "Soul and Fire."
I'll put this album on my shortlist of the year's best discoveries, even if I should have found it years ago.
Listen to "Soul and Fire" from Bubble and Scrape: