Sunny Day Real Estate broke up in 1995 when bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith left to join the Foo Fighters or when frontman Jeremy Enigk converted to Christianity, depending on whom you ask. The band got b... more »ack together in the summer of 1997 (minus Mendel, replaced by former Mommyheads bassist Jeff Palmer) to jam, and a full album blossomed. The result, How It Feels to Be Something On, is nothing short of stunning. Poking their heads into the gaping jaws of yearning, Enigk and company unravel tight, atypical rock songs to reveal a shimmering spool of uncertain longing. Almost sounding like an unlikely hybrid of the Smiths and Yes, How It Feels... is the grandest slab of musical sympathy since Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream, equal parts intensity and sadness for the sing-along set. One of 1998's best albums. --Jason Josephes« less
Sunny Day Real Estate broke up in 1995 when bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith left to join the Foo Fighters or when frontman Jeremy Enigk converted to Christianity, depending on whom you ask. The band got back together in the summer of 1997 (minus Mendel, replaced by former Mommyheads bassist Jeff Palmer) to jam, and a full album blossomed. The result, How It Feels to Be Something On, is nothing short of stunning. Poking their heads into the gaping jaws of yearning, Enigk and company unravel tight, atypical rock songs to reveal a shimmering spool of uncertain longing. Almost sounding like an unlikely hybrid of the Smiths and Yes, How It Feels... is the grandest slab of musical sympathy since Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream, equal parts intensity and sadness for the sing-along set. One of 1998's best albums. --Jason Josephes
Seth D. (4wallz) from SPARTA, TN Reviewed on 8/2/2012...
Sunny Day Real Estate reconvened for this third record. But much of the fire had went out of Jeremy Enigk by this one. It's much more mellow than their first two records. Not to say that it is bad by any means. Guitar and Video Games is cool and 100 Million is rocking in it's own right. And Every Shinning Time You Arrive is in the top 5 of my favorite SDRE songs ever.
So I still recommend this album. Just remember though, it is a lot mellower than Diary or LP 2.
Curtis K. from CODY, WY Reviewed on 2/22/2007...
A hard rock group not unlike 'Tool' or 'Smashing Pumpkins.' // This is the sort of album that grows on you every time you hear it. Unassuming at first, but the solid lyrics, elegant melodies and creative tunes prove to make a solid album overall.
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Indispensable work of art.
Jason | CaLiFoRNIA | 08/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you go back and look at some of the reviews here glowing with praise, you'll have a good idea of how good "How it Feels to Be Something On" really is. All I can do is add my two cents to the collective whole and hope it encourages anyone and everyone who is undecided about buying such an album to, well, do so.
Sunny Day Real Estate is one of my favorite bands. I have enjoyed every one of their releases considerably, and it's a shame that they aren't marked as one of the better or more popular bands of the 90's. Began with "Diary", went along with "LP2", skipped to "The Rising Tide", and came back to "How it Feels"; saved the best for last, I guess.
Hmmm, where to start. "Pillars" is an absolutely stunning, restrained composition that is laboriously constructed and beautifully hypnotic. The climax comes around 3:13 in a breathtaking combination of instrument and vocal that is nothing less than euphoric. Absolutely haunting. Roses.... OK, I'm going to refrain from fanatically describing each and every song. I can do that. I can -- really. Hmm...
I'm pondering the thought of exactly "why" this album is Sunny Day's strongest -- or, for that matter, one of the strongest albums I own period -- and I'm not really coming up with a satisfiable answer. It is, without question, the slowest, the most introspective, and the least "rocking" of the band's four studio releases, and upon very first listen, might not knock you flat like "Diary" or even "The Rising Tide". That said, it inevitably burrowed itself deep within my mind -- my soul -- and I swear to God, everytime I listen to it, it's pure joy. I don't know what else to say.
I really did get a kick out of reading the past reviews for this album here, as there were some really great ones. One, in particular, went on about how a work of art is not merely an external object, but can, very much, be a piece of yourself. It's a reflection, a representation, of you. That review inparticular really connected with me, because it is exactly how I feel with this album. If I recommend this album to someone, I will do it with all my heart, and know that I'm in fact sharing a deep part of my very self with them at that."
Musically, their most accomplished album
J A W | Norman, OK United States | 06/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The shifting tones of "Roses in Water" and the climactic buildup of "The Prophet" are worth price of the album. The first time you hear "Roses", you'll probably go "....ewwww". But it grows on you, as you can feel the layers of the melody lines dig into your skin. It's borderline classical, and excellent rock music. Pillars, Every Shining Time, and the title track are also good songs.This album isn't as "rocking" or "melodic" as the LP2 is: that one kept one foot in it's so called "emo" roots, whereas this album has splintered off into its own category. LP2 is more adrenaline oriented, this is more meditative, experimental. Jeremy tests his vocal range, Dan tests his arpeggios, and this plays well. Both albums should be purchased, as both are pillars of the 90s indie rock scene."
Sunny day is the bestest band in the whole wide world!
Jason | 10/19/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this record is the finest masterpiece ever. the most cryptic, caressing lyrics brought to you by the finest voice in all the land and drums impossible not beat along with in the air. these guys are the kings of the underground, coming soon to a major label near you, and they deserve it. i don't know what else to say- how can perfection be described?"
The Masterpiece ****1/2
Janson Kemp | Dallas, TX USA | 11/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"SDRE is a two sided coin. The first side encompasses their first two albums; raw, bleeding-heart, tortured, love-obsessed, low-fi. The flipside represents the latter half of their albums; grandiose, poetic, sweeping, accomplished, passionate. Both sides have a common theme; emotion.
The first album after the band's break, "How It Feels to be Something On," stands as their most accomplished and possibly best album. Jeremy's vocals have improved. His lyrics: more thematic. Surprisingly, the band sounds tighter than they ever did during their emo-pioneer days. They introduce their progressive rock roots here, as well, something they had only previously hinted. As a result, the album plays very much like a rock opera. If the song lyrics were linked by a story, it could rank with "Tommy" and "The Wall" as one of the great concept albums. Regardless, it still FEELS like a concept album and as a result, requires some attention.
The arena ready opener "Pillars" reintroduces us to the band. And the progressivness of "100 million" and the mid-Eastern tinged "Roses in Water" reveal the band's new game plan. Though lyrically not as Christian-based as LP2, Jeremy is still obviously influenced by religion on the aforementioned "Roses" and "Prophet." There are a few tunes that sound like first era leftovers (Days Were Golden and Two Promises) but the band had never really branched out in this way before. They even attempt what can only be described as a break-out-your-lighters acoustic ballad with "Every Shining Time You Arrive." Taken as a whole the album is amazing. Oddly, the band sounds ready for stadiums, even though radio-friendly songs like "8" and "In Circles" are nowhere to be found. But that's a small quibble. The album is great.
Overall: 9 out of 10."
Tragically ahead of their time
Tommy M. | Berkeley | 06/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of the first three SDRE albums, I find this one the most fascinating. It has very little in common with the first two, which tangled sometimes jarringly with emo and stoner rock. Diary and LP2 are both important documents of 90s music, but they don't have the confident polish and grace of How It Feels. While the first two often used chugging rhythms and voice-cracking vocals, How It Feels comes off as an indie rock album that could have come out last week (and I mean that in a good way).
Enigk's voice seemed to have leathered up considerably during the band's breakup, and he's capable of a haunting falsetto that imprinted "100 Million" on my brain from the first listen. The muddy bass of before is now melodic, strummy and very tight with Goldsmith's kit. The giutars do a lot more jangling and picking and less hammering. To call it more "refined" would be a disservice to Diary and LP2, so I'll just say it's a cleaner production. In fact, the mix is fantastic, as another reviewer noted.
It seems that How It Feels was a snapshot of a band in significant stylistic transition only a few years into its career, like Radiohead or the Beatles. And I think this style of music is more suited to Enigk's vocals. It's more affecting. The title track and closing track are excellent examples. It's a little processed, but this never actually sticks out. In their previous work, I felt that Enigk's vocal range was SDRE's weakest link, but he's almost like a different singer here.
What will stick out to listeners of their earlier work is the superior production that lends the album a much wider sonic stage. The muffled living room has become an auditorium, and the haunting How It Feels soars with hope, wistfulness, hurt, and joy. It's not quite like anything I've heard before. Certainly not an album's worth, at least. Every song is, at the very least, pleasant background music, except perhaps for "Prophet," a foray into Eastern-tinged prog that others have done much better, in my opinion."