February 13, 2003

Beyond Adolescence

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Remember Nada Surf and their 1996 breakthrough hit “Popular,” a witty sardonic tribute to the fickle politics of high school? If not, here’s a probable reason why – After their impressive first major label recording, High/Low, Elektra refused to distribute Nada’s follow-up album stateside, despite rave reviews and steady record sales in Europe. A lengthy legal battle over distribution rights to the disc ensued, which Nada Surf eventually won, and the group released Proximity Effect three years later under their own label. Unfortunately, such long absences have been known to spell death to budding musical careers. Momentum from their earlier mainstream success died down and since the American public has an attention span of only about five seconds, the CD practically went unnoticed.

Just when it seemed that Nada surf was to be written off as yet another fallen 90’s grunge-rock, one-hit-wonder, the group resurfaced with the excellent Let Go, their latest release. This is one of the few records I can honestly listen to from start to finish; it’s that good.

“Blizzard of ’77,” the opening track and undoubtedly one of the best songs on the record, is a catchy short acoustic outburst written in the simple lyrical style of Weezer. “Happy Kid” follows and is about the torment of disaffected youth: “I’m just a happy kid/ stuck in the heart of a sad punk