Samiam - Clumsy (Cover Artwork)


Clumsy (1994)


"I hate you still, yet I imitate you. You're in my dreams pushing me around. I move my mouth. I watch her cry. It's killing me and you wonder why. Always said I wouldn't be that way. I always said I wouldn't be that way."

And then comes the chorus of Jason Beebout screaming "CAPSIZED!!" Aaaaaaaaah!! It's so great to my ears! The song I'm describing (or trying to) is that of "Capsized." The song is the band's first big single off of their major label debut on the album Clumsy (their fourth overall). The song is probably one of the most emotionally powerful songs to come out of the '90s punk era. Samiam came out of the Bay Area scene along with Jawbreaker, making the punk genre more emotional (creating emo as some would argue). Both bands had powerful/emotionally charged lyrics and their music wasn't exactly what the standard punk sound was/is.

Anyways, the album itself is probably their strongest release they had in the '90s. Most of what you hear in their songs you can hear in bands today, such as Alkaline Trio. "As We're Told" is one of those songs I can guarantee that Alkaline Trio heard and decided to make music just like that. Look at the song "Bad Day": It's super catchy, happy-sounding (key of D Major), but the lyrics are quite the opposite of happy. Dogs ran over on the freeway. People rubbing me the wrong way. Don't feel like smiling. Not the most optimistic lyrics. Then again, Off with Their Heads have half their songs in the same mindset: catchy and happy-sounding but with despairing lyrics.

Beebout's emotional delivery on songs like "Capsized," "As We're Told," "Routine" and "Stepson" just feels really raw with the emotion delivered. At times, it can be very haunting. It's very hard to pull something like that off and very few bands really haven't been able to do so since. Like I said earlier, this band really had a huge effect/influence on how bands in the punk/emo genre could sound (Alkaline Trio and Hot Water Music especially). This album is probably one of the most essential listenings you'll need in terms of where punk and emo today really came from.