Old 97's - Too Far To Care (Cover Artwork)

Old 97's

Too Far To Care (1997)


If any of you on punknews.org are familiar with the Old 97's, its probably because your mom likes them. I'm sorry--they've had some nominal success of AAA radio, but they can do so much more than fit into a radio format that plays the Counting Crows or Dave Matthews. I'm sure had I not been lucky enough to hear them before hand, I would hate them.

But thanks to my DJ friend putting on a radio promo from an unfamiliar major label band, I found that its possible to play country-influenced music and not completely suck. Quite simply, "Too Far to Care" rocks. The opener, "Timebomb," absolutely blew me away. The guitars screamed, the drums were as fast as anything Black Flag ever played, and singer Rhett Miller's Texan wail moved me as much as any hardcore I had heard.

The rest of the CD wasn't as fast and definitely not as punk. But something stuck with me. The storytelling, the regret, the longing, the anger. If Mike Ness sat down with Blake Swartzenbach and wrote a song, they might sound like the Old 97's.

This is one of those "well, its country, but its fucking punk." Think Johnny Cash, the Replacements, or Social Distortion. They love the Pixies, quote the Clash, and cover "I Wanna Be Sedated" accousticly (never recorded, unfortunately). Song topics include drunken hook-ups ("Barrier Reef"), heartbreak ("Big Brown Eyes"), and burning down bars ("Nite Club"). The last track is a duet with Exene of X.

Some call 'em "y'alternative", some say "twang-core". "Too Far To Care" is loud, its sincere, its different. Its punk.