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#1 Hits Explosion

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Album Review

If the Apples in Stereo had only made Fun Trick Noisemaker and then quit, their legacy as a legendary pop group would have been secure. In 1995, nobody else was making records as giddy or as full of wonder as the Apples, and definitely no one was making records as exquisitely arranged and magical on a shoestring budget. The release of Fun Trick was a defining moment in indie rock that came pretty close to being a lo-fi pop masterpiece, and still sounds just as amazing. That the Apples couldn't top it is no cause for shame on their part; that they kept trying and ended up creating a catalog as rich in great songs and records is cause for celebration. The cheekily titled #1 Hits Explosion is just the kind of career-summing package the band deserves and it makes clear just how wonderful a band it is. Gathering songs in roughly equal numbers from all six of their studio albums (and adding the infectious rocker "Signal in the Sky [Let's Go]" that they recorded for The Powerpuff Girls' Heroes & Villains soundtrack), the collection focuses mostly on the ultra-hooky, power pop-influenced side of the band. Starting with the booming rocker "Energy" from their most recent record, New Magnetic Wonder, the songs fly past like gooey sticks of bubblegum, glowing and shimmering like the finest pop music of the '60s and '70s. "The Rainbow," "Go," "Shine a Light," and "Ruby" (just to pick four) could have easily been hits in 1967 given the right circumstances, "Shine a Light" sounds like a low-budget ELO, and there's absolutely no reason "Signal in the Sky" wasn't topping the charts in 2000. Only "Strawberry Fire" and "20 Cases Suggestive Of..." hint at the trippy, hazily psychedelic side of the group, but even then the hooks in the choruses are strong enough that you could hang a cement overcoat from them with no problem. The possible flaw with the collection is that — as is the case with any such album — one of your favorite tracks might be missing ("Glowworm" from Fun Trick, for example). Otherwise, it works as both an excellent overview of the band's career and as a document of some of the finest pop music of the alt-rock era (and maybe of ever).

Customer Reviews

Who wears sandals to the ballpark?

Classic tracks. Remastered. For those unfamiliar with Apples, I would recommend purchasing this remastered compilation. For those already familiar with Apples there's no need to purchase the collection unless you do not own all the previous albums.


Formed: 1993 in Denver, CO

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Sunny pop band the Apples in Stereo were one of the leading lights of the Elephant 6 Recording Company collective, a coterie of likeminded lo-fi indie groups -- including the Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Secret Square -- who shared musicians, ideas, and sensibilities. They were led by singer/songwriter Robert Schneider, a native of the tiny town of Ruston, LA, also home to Jeff Mangum (later of Neutral Milk Hotel) as well as William Cullen Hart and Bill Doss (who formed the Olivia...
Full Bio