Screeching Weasel - Television City Dream [reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Screeching Weasel

Television City Dream [reissue] (2010)

Fat Wreck Chords

1998's Television City Dream came after a pretty major lineup change for Screeching Weasel. Long-time producer Mass Giorgini had replaced bassist Dan Vapid; long-time feather-ruffler Ben Weasel had moved back to an instrument-less frontman position, guitarist Zac Damon coming in to fill that spot; and Dan Lumley replaced Dan Panic on drums. In relative terms, it was a whole new lineup, and consequently, a next evolutionary step for the band, musically.

Television City Dream was an interesting change for the band in that it often forewent the snotty pop-punk of the band's prior albums, harkening back to the earlier material, It featured accelerated speeds and overall faster, punchier, punk rock forays at plenty intervals. Granted, the band's playful vibe persisted on tracks like "Dummy Up", "My Own World", "Outside of You" and the outtake "Crybaby", but it only helps to instill some marginal sense of variety. The pure aggression of "We Are the Generation X" was nice evidence of the band's spastically fast skill.

Lyrically, this may be the starting point of the vitriol between band and fanbase, though. "Your Morality" seems like an early precursor to all the message board backlash response songs of the last decade: "So safe inside your parents' home. / Surf the net from your college dorm. / The trust fund babies scream the loudest when you're not their cherished secret anymore." Similarly, "Punk Rock Explained" lays out the general rise-and-fall story of every punk band ever; you'll find it mildly funny, or only as more evidence of–as some perceive it–Weasel's charismatic-less bitterness. Some of the four sub-minute piss-takes near the end of the record seem a little tossed-off, too ("Shut the Hell Up").

This reissue remixes the songs and adds five bonus tracks, thus featuring every single cut from the sessions. But instead of haphazardly tacking the songs on at the end, they're strategically sprinkled into the track listing, making for a refreshing change-up from the original album's flow.

Television City Dream has a solid place in the Screeching Weasel canon that's emphasized nicely by this re-release. No matter what ill will Ben Weasel has garnered himself in 2011, Television City Dream is reason enough to romanticize–at least somewhat–of a less ethically tumultuous time.

Speed of Mutation
Outside of You