If my high school class decides to hold its 25 year reunion this summer, I'll have to tell my classmates of the time in 1986 when I bussed the table of The Smithereens while working at a Columbia-area hotel restaurant. Pat DiNizio and the boys were playing Merriweather in support of their debut album Especially for You and couldn't have been nicer (good tippers!). Being the professional busser that I was, I kept the proper distance and tried not to gush about my favorite song at the time, "Behind the Wall of Sleep."
A quarter century later Don Dixon is back in the producer's chair as he was for the first one. The Smithereens 2011 is our CD of the Week. Beatles/Byrds-inspired melodies drive the songs while power-chords provide the fuel. DiNizio's voice aches with the kind of romantic longing you'd find in old movies, though sometimes a little growling defiance comes through, as on the TMD favorite "Sorry."
Though they've dabbled plenty in nostalgia (a remake of The Who's Tommy and a Beatles' covers record) over the ensuing years, the new music from these Jersey boys feels relevant and time-tested.
Enjoy all the tracks from The Smithereens 2011 this week on WTMD. And compare 2011 to 1986 Smithereens (w. the alluring Suzanne Vega). What a blast!