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Blake Solomon 06/10/07 12:58 AM

Stroke 9 - Nasty Little Thoughts
 
Stroke 9 Nasty Little Thoughts
Label: Universal Records
Release Date: 1999

Author Note: This is my 100th review. While not all of them were written for this site, I still feel this is a major accomplishment. After all, quitting hobbies is usually my favorite activity. Anyway, I decided to review one of my favorite records. Enjoy, and here’s to 100 more! Personal bias will be in full swing.

I was young and my knowledge of music was (is) lacking. I needed listening material for a long bus ride to Colorado. I had heard the track “Letters” on the radio a few times and saw the cover to Nasty Little Thoughts on a special display rack. To me, it seemed like a sign. My grandmother, who was purchasing the disc for me, seemed a bit uneasy. After all, did Nana really feel comfortable telling my mother she bought me a CD called Nasty Little Thoughts? I was a persuasive little runt back then and I got the CD. And while the rest of the music world might have forgotten about Stroke 9, I never will.

Stroke 9 created a pop rock gem. Nasty Little Thoughts is moody, catchy and nostalgic at all the right times. Just look at the juxtaposition of lethargic “Tail of the Sun” and quirky, upbeat “Washin’ + Wonderin’”. The simple change from self-loathing to awkwardly amusing and back (“Make It Last”) represents true life with unnerving accuracy. This is a personal record. This is a record about friends, dreams, lost love and growing up.

The slower songs and their simple lyrics have had the largest impact. It’s like peeking at your older brother’s diary. We learn with Luke Esterkyn. And, more importantly, I learned from him. In “Angels”, Esterkyn realizes trusting others is risky business. Over sparse, yet crashing guitars, he bellows, “If I rely on you, what am I gonna do when you crush and kill the core connecting us, protecting us, in all we go through?” It’s not optimistic, that’s for sure. And as a 13-year-old kid, I couldn’t really understand it. I only knew “Angels” sounded cool. But as an older, and much too jaded young adult, I have to agree with Esterkyn. Maybe it’s only the idea of trust that keeps us going. Maybe none of us truly believe in it. Sad.

Without trying to be the guy that wishes a band was his alone to enjoy, I mean it when I say: “Little Black Backpack” was the worst thing to happen to Stroke 9. Sure, it made them tons of cash, but it almost instantly negated the 11 other tracks on Nasty Little Thoughts. The hungry machine devoured the band and, along with it, gems like “Are You In This?” The track is a power-ish ballad about when you love someone and realize they don’t love you back. The song has become a lonely anthem for me more than once in my life.

I know, this was supposed to be some sort of celebration. But I think it’s clear I love this album. Look at all the sappy, “look how this applies to my life” sentences. For some selfish reason, it helps to know someone else has been there. I enjoy listening to a record and feeling like, in another life, the artist and I could be friends. Much like the memories this album reminds me of, Nasty Little Thoughts melds happy and sad into one big sing-along. If you discarded this album as another major label force-feeding so many years ago, I ask you to find this anyway you can and give it another shot. Stroke 9 has had a profound effect on me, who is to say it can’t happen to you?


Recommended If You Like: Jimmy Eat World, Something Corporate, Anniversaries, The Early November, the phrase “where has the time gone?”, impossibly open-ended questions

FreshyFresh23 06/10/07 02:34 AM

You give STROKE 9 a 90%.... come on. Then you compare them to JEW and TEN..:/ boo.

gnp8472 06/10/07 09:27 AM

congrats on triple digits man. good review, im gonna check 'em out.

:clap:

Blake Solomon 06/10/07 10:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FreshyFresh23 (Post 6755609)
You give STROKE 9 a 90%.... come on. Then you compare them to JEW and TEN..:/ boo.



lololololololololololol. your opinion > my opinion. lololololololol

Heart-A-Tact 06/10/07 12:53 PM

You write pretty decent reviews. Congrats on 100.

agent00013 06/10/07 07:25 PM

My brother bought me this album for Christmas back in 1999. It was one of my first rock albums and while I don't consider it extremely influential in the types of music I listen to now, it's still an album I look back to with fond memories -- and for a lot more reasons than the original single that made my brother think to buy it. You've done a good job of detailing why this album is worth it.

Shooter McGavin 06/10/07 10:26 PM

Nicely done Blake, congrats on 100

Blake Solomon 06/10/07 11:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by agent00013 (Post 6759407)
My brother bought me this album for Christmas back in 1999. It was one of my first rock albums and while I don't consider it extremely influential in the types of music I listen to now, it's still an album I look back to with fond memories -- and for a lot more reasons than the original single that made my brother think to buy it. You've done a good job of detailing why this album is worth it.


I really appreciate it dude. Yeah, I know some will ultimately call me a fool or just hate on this band, but I really do love this album. I can't say that about too many records. It just makes me feel good, and that really helps me to (obviously) overlook any missteps or things like that.



Quote:

Originally Posted by Shooter McGavin (Post 6761415)
Nicely done Blake, congrats on 100



Thanks shmerms, youve been around for the whole ride.

average_jane 06/11/07 12:42 AM

I honestly don't think I've ever listened to this album...maybe I'll go look for it. :-)

Congratulations on 100 reviews!

Chris Fallon 06/11/07 03:05 AM

Way to be Blake - you do a good job every time I read a review of yours. Honesty is a good key to have in this game of reviewing discs. Congrats on #100, and to many more, brutha. I need to catch up to you, dude!

I just downloaded the Stroke 9 catalogue a few days ago. I enjoy this record; the alternative-pop sound is catchy and very loose, which I find to be relaxing and quite enjoyable. I've always found Stroke 9 to be underrated as a pop-rock band.

Jamie Pham 06/12/07 12:47 AM

Man, I havent heard of this band in such a long time.. I remember listening to "Letters" when I was in 9th grade.. haha

Keatsey 06/12/07 05:30 PM

I think it's cool that this album means so much to you personally, but I think you have to address the issue of objectivity at some point. I mean, the ridiculousness of assigning numeric values to artistic creations aside, is this album really a 90%? The first guy was a douche about it for sure, but I see his point.

Congrats though, 100 reviews is a lot.

Blake Solomon 06/12/07 05:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keatsey (Post 6780652)
I think it's cool that this album means so much to you personally, but I think you have to address the issue of objectivity at some point. I mean, the ridiculousness of assigning numeric values to artistic creations aside, is this album really a 90%? The first guy was a douche about it for sure, but I see his point.

Congrats though, 100 reviews is a lot.



Well, I said at the top that personal bias would go throughout the review. But, I still think the music is solid. I listened to it again today and loved it again. I straight up think this is a great record, as you say, numeric values aside.

S9Dallasoz 06/14/07 10:10 AM

I grew up on this band.
One of my favorite albums.
If you like this go pick up their new album "Last of The international Playboys" which dropped on June 5th.

Here's a Good Review of the new one : 4.5/5

Scott Weber 06/15/07 10:30 AM

Hmm...never was a fan.

FreshyFresh23 08/31/07 02:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blake Solomon (Post 6756263)
lololololololololololol. your opinion > my opinion. lololololololol



Riiight...nice deflection.

Keep on learning from Luke Esterkyn, such a timeless mentor.

Scott Weber 08/31/07 02:23 PM

I love the 10 for lasting value for an ultimate flash in the pan band, haha that's like giving an SR-71 album a 10 for lasting value. Funny how personal value is so different than everyone else's value (so it appeared)

Blake Solomon 08/31/07 02:30 PM

flash in the pan in regards to radio airplay? sure, but when has that decided (especially on this site) whether a band is worth a damn or not. They are still releasing music (the new one is pretty good) and just because most people wrote them off after one catchy pop-rock song doesn't mean they were only able to make one hit song. I love this band and always will. I didn't expect everyone to agree with me, but my emotional attachment to this record, which is instrumental to my definition of value, is too great.

Scott Weber 08/31/07 02:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blake Solomon (Post 7486897)
flash in the pan in regards to radio airplay? sure, but when has that decided (especially on this site) whether a band is worth a damn or not. They are still releasing music (the new one is pretty good) and just because most people wrote them off after one catchy pop-rock song doesn't mean they were only able to make one hit song. I love this band and always will. I didn't expect everyone to agree with me, but my emotional attachment to this record, which is instrumental to my definition of value, is too great.

flash in the pan due to everything. i'd love to see how many copies their new album sold...

Weremoogle 09/14/11 12:17 AM

Nice review, Blake. Thanks.

Segageek 12/10/11 01:36 AM

I love this album great review