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Samiam - Whatever's Got You Down [reissue] (Cover Artwork)

Samiam

Samiam: Whatever's Got You Down [reissue]Whatever's Got You Down [reissue] (2013)
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Reviewer Rating: 4
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Contributed by: BryneBryne
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After releasing Astray in 2000 – which has grown to be perhaps Samiam's most well-regarded album – the band sort of went away, breaking up but not really breaking up, no longer concerned with being a "career band." Six years later, though, Samiam were back in the studio recording Whateve.
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After releasing Astray in 2000 – which has grown to be perhaps Samiam's most well-regarded album – the band sort of went away, breaking up but not really breaking up, no longer concerned with being a "career band." Six years later, though, Samiam were back in the studio recording Whatever's Got You Down and the pressure was fully off; with the assistance of Chris Moore, the band produced large parts of record themselves with middling results. While it was clear the band hadn't lost a step in their songwriting, the album's extremely raw, often muddy production hindered the songs' impact and memorability. While Samiam stood by the creative decision at the time, by 2009 or so it was clear to the band that the end product wasn't the best representation of those songs.

Like an arc angel, Jeff Dean descended from Chicago, placing his steady hand on Samiam's shoulders – and his other hand on some knobs and buttons inside Million Yen Studios – and breathed new life into Whatever's Got You Down. It's remixed, remastered and wholly restored. This is Whatever's Got You Down the way it was meant to be heard.

To Dean's credit, the rawness of the initial mix is somewhat preserved here; everything is just plain louder and more immediate. The drums hit harder. The guitars ring crisper. The vocals soar higher. Hell, some of the vocal takes don't come close to resembling those of the original; "Take Care" and "Holiday Parade," two of the best parts of WGYD then and now, sounds like entirely new songs. The drama in perhaps the album's best three-song suite, "Get It Right," "Do You Want To Be Loved" and "Storm Clouds," is amplified with this re-imagining, too, with Jason Beebout's once-awkward vocal takes especially revitalized.

Portions of WGYD benefit by being dialed back in this remix as well: Here, "Come Home" seems more reserved and distant than on the album's original mix, allowing the guitars and drums to create tension-filled impact while Beebout quietly sings just barely above them, as opposed to the original where his raw vocals elevated above everything else.

In addition to re-imagined cover art, the reissue also includes a cover of the Zombies' "This Will Be Our Year." Smartly, Samiam play it pretty close to the original, save for some louder guitars. Beebout sings softly, smoothly and admirably. It's a nice and quick way to end this album, one that now has the legs it needs to rank among the best in Samiam's mostly very good-to-great discography. Anyone left nonplussed by the original mix of Whatever's Got You Down will be pleased to hear that things have finally been made right.

 

 
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Samiam - TripsThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsThe Gaslight Anthem - HandwrittenJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyCaptain, We're Sinking - The Future Is CancelledIron Chic - The Constant OneRVIVR - LP [12-inch]The Bronx - The Bronx IVAlkaline Trio - My Shame Is TrueA Wilhelm Scream - Partycrasher

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Kilgore77 (November 25, 2013)

I, like most people it seems, listened to the original the first time and thought it sounded really weird. I immediately ran over to my stereo to see what was wrong with the EQ. Nothing. I was convinced there was a cello playing throughout the recording. Over time I really started to like the unusual production, though. This new mix definitely sounds more like a Samiam record but it's certainly not interesting. Also, the snare sound is truly awful.

BarleyPat (November 22, 2013)

Personally, I like Billy a lot.

BikeMordy (November 22, 2013)

Maybe I'm old, but why does nobody ever mention "Soar" when discussing Samiam's best albums? I think that "Clumsy" and "Soar" are #1 and #2, in my book, respectively. I like all of them, though.

lmchc (November 21, 2013)

"archangel," not arc angel.

BarleyPat (November 21, 2013)

Holiday Parade is the best song on this album. That's all I'm really going to say now because I haven't listened to this new version yet.

bastard_squad (November 21, 2013)

Dude, I loved the record too. I was never critical of it when it was released. I think it was absolutely unfairly maligned. It just didn't sound like anything else in the catalog. I love hearing all the new tracks in the recording though. So very many things that were never heard before.

meltingplastic (November 21, 2013)

Man i feel like I am the only person who loved the original album. I still listen to it a lot because the raw emotion of the songs hit home to me at that point in my life. I love the remix as well and think it really pays tribute to what the songs could be but for me, the original is still better... yup I'm getting old if I prefer non-remixed albums....

drewan187 (November 21, 2013)

Just reserved my copy of the blue and yellow vinyl, can't wait to hear it.

bastard_squad (November 20, 2013)

The remix just allows an already incredible collection of songs to open up and breathe. It's perfect now.

longshot (November 20, 2013)

When I first got back this in 2006 (damn, dude), I can recall thinking that it would be a GREAT record if only the songs didn't sound so weird and muddy. I mean, the drums, c'mon.

Now, several years later, I feel like I've become so accustomed to the sound and have really grown to love it, if only for nostalgia's sake. I'm really curious to hear what this remastered version sounds like, especially the Zombies' cover, but something tells me I'll still go back to the original release when everything's said and done.

Stoked.

Rich27 (November 20, 2013)

Great news as there was some good stuff hidden in the mud!

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