“A Feeble Attempt at Listing All the Things Wrong with Everclear’s White Trash Hell EP — a Nonetheless Partially Enthusing Collection of Songs for Completists”

White Trash Hell is an EP by Everclear, which, to me, already bespeaks a severe rudimentary problem, as I would never even think of listening to Everclear for a segment of time under half an hour (the exception being a really loaded mix CD I might have concocted). The extended player “came out,” technically, 20 and change years ago, in March 1997 by way of Britain’s Fire Records, the band’s “British label,” though by that point had suffered a couple years of idling by way of the company withholding it. It has never been released on an American label, nor, I don’t think, distributed as new, commerce-ready CD to America, though it is now available on CD online on Amazon for eight bucks. Really, it’s pretty understandable why Fire would have been reluctant to put it out: this wasn’t exactly the hey day of EP’s, the type of era which would materialize a little more strongly with indie champions like Animal Collective a decade later. Also, the album opener and source of title, “Heroin Girl,” was already available on the band’s prior album Sparkle and Fade — and to top it off, this “new version” actually went by the official title “Heroin Girl (Early Version).” As we all know, devolution doesn’t typically make for sound business.
So yeah, I’m basically just disgusted by the project not for anything on it but rather for its brevity and said repetition, compounded by the fact that though thundering from a production standpoint [1] the song “Heroin Girl” tends to in general be JUST A TAD overrated… but the project is notable for the song “Detroit” and the reason here is twofold. One, no band has EVER, ever, harnessed a better, clearer and more biting Nirvana influence than Everclear has on this song — in fact for a moment you almost think they’re ready to sacrifice their whole dream pop shtick (pipe dreams of course dashed quickly by the next song title “Pacific Wonderland”) for some sort of twisted, centrifugal plowing extravaganza of perpetual blues/grunge. Sadly, the song does carry tinges of bubble gum, as well.
But another noteworthy thing is that the song is about a girl — Art Alexakis keeps repeating that he’s “Dreaming of a Michigan girl” before going into the starker mantra “I’m pleading for a Michigan girl” (remember Chris Cornell just recently died in his attempted trip through the Wolverine state). Now, this is hardly a scientific matter — it’s hardly a phenomenon worth trying to hash out in a syllogistic or a priori method. Suffice it to say though that we’ve obviously had a lot of Northwestern rockers kill themselves over the years and I think I speak for everyone when I say that Art Alexakis has been probably like heinously close but didn’t do so, and for this I’m extraordinarily thankful. But yeah… that is another thing wrong with White Trash Hell, you might say (although whether Alexakis would actually qualify as bona fide white trash in the Midwest is another story… I personally think he dresses too well).
[1] I just learned that Alexakis himself interestingly produced Sparkle and Fade and co-produced So Much for the Afterglow, and in a way it’s strange that he’d have chosen a co-captain here since the two albums are markedly similar in sound.

460 thoughts on ““A Feeble Attempt at Listing All the Things Wrong with Everclear’s <em>White Trash Hell</em> EP — a Nonetheless Partially Enthusing Collection of Songs for Completists”

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