The latest Old 97s album was tough to write about. Especially after seeing "The Breakup", wherein Jen Aniston's character makes an attempt to re-conjugate with Vince Vaughn's character by saying something like, "Hey, my friend got these tickets to the Old 97s tonight. She can't make it, so if you're interested....."
Long story short, he says he's interested, but then he never shows, adding another 30 minutes to the movie. It was frustrating, because he appears to also want to get back with that, but she broke up with him (I think. I didn't watch the first hour of the movie) so he doesn't think that she too wants to rekindle their flame. Somehow he misses that she was obviously opening a door for him. For them. He was so BACK IN. But, like I said, he never showed. She waits for most of the concert, but eventually leaves. Vince Vaughn's character lost his shot at love with Jen Aniston's character. I haven't seen a lot of Jen Aniston's stuff, but judging by the 20 or so episodes of friends I watched and her getting ditched by Brad Pitt for that lady who is like the cat lady, only with kids instead of cats, poor Jen has a hard time keeping-slash-sealing the deal with dudes.
And the Old 97s ended up being no help at all. Thanks for nothing. It was obvious that Vince Vaughn's character had interest their music, but not enough interest that Jen Aniston's character's offer of a free ticket was an offer that he could not refuse, even though the three or four songs that they showed bits of the Old 97s playing were some of their better stuff. Which is where watching this part of "The Breakup" made writing this even more difficult.
See, it reminded me of how great the Old 97s can be and that none of the songs on 'Blame It On Gravity' were Old 97s-great. It would be weird-slash-inappropriate to award something a top 10 ranking and then write about how none of the songs on the album would-slash-should make it on an Old 97s best-of album. Top 10s are supposed to be about positives, not negatives (unless, obviously, it is a 'top 10 worst' list).
And this album is good, and it seems better than the last Old 97s album ('Drag It Up', or something), which left me not wanting more (real minimal listening of that one by me; I don't even know that I listened to it all the way through).
The strength of 'Blame It On Gravity' might be its variety. There are so many different types of songs. There is a dancey tune (the aptly named 'Dance With Me'), a song where the chorus sounds almost exactly like a Pavement chorus ('I Will Remain'), a song where Rhett Miller sounds like a drunk fellow during a hangover ('Early Morning'), three slower songs that could probably be considered ballads and a song where a guy who seems to be on a ship that is going down is commiting to God that he will change his life should the good Lord spare that life ('Here's To The Halcyon'). That's seven of the thirteen songs. The other six sound like most Old 97s songs (they also might be the best songs, no offense to the others, which are also good).
The equation of quality + variety of that quality merits 'Blame It On Gravity' a spot on the You Know How I Do 2008 Top Ten Albums List (YKHID08T10AL).
It's tough to choose a favorite song to play here. I chose 'Dance With Me' only because it is the only song on Youtube that isn't merely a live recording. It should be noted that somebody named beasticular wrote in the comment section of the Youtube video: "I was in love with the old 97's until I watched this...". It's true, it isn't a great music video (in fact, the only top 10 list it would be on is one of those aforemention worst-of deals). Battlestar Galactica fans might like it, though. But don't take my word for it.....
To honor its variety, I will add one more video from 'Blame It On Gravity'. This one is the song I like most today from the album, 'No Baby I'. But don't take my word for it......