14 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Chicago’s Material Issue, led by singer-guitarist Jim Ellison, performed joyful ‘60s-inspired pop music that was never about an “Overthrow” but a continuation of a fine pop music tradition. Ellison, sadly, committed suicide before the ‘90s were out. But his classic debut album, with bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko, is a classic that is finally back in print. The sheer simplicity of the joy behind the sound of “Diane,” the simple rock ‘n’ roll lesson of “Renee Remains The Same” and the forward motion of “Li’l Christine,” where the group sounds like an urgent Marshall Crenshaw,  are the pillars of this sublime album. There are plenty of pop confections worth hearing. “This Far Before,” “Very First Lie,” “Out Right Now” and “Valerie Loves Me” are hit singles that never were. Likely had they been originally released in 1966 and not 1991 they would’ve found a home on AM radio. The band may have been, arguably, out of time, but the songs were really timeless. The 20th Anniversary Edition includes eight bonus cuts. Covers of Thin Lizzy’s “Cowboy,” Sweet’s “Blockbuster” and Paul Simon’s “The Boxer” are great fun.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Chicago’s Material Issue, led by singer-guitarist Jim Ellison, performed joyful ‘60s-inspired pop music that was never about an “Overthrow” but a continuation of a fine pop music tradition. Ellison, sadly, committed suicide before the ‘90s were out. But his classic debut album, with bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko, is a classic that is finally back in print. The sheer simplicity of the joy behind the sound of “Diane,” the simple rock ‘n’ roll lesson of “Renee Remains The Same” and the forward motion of “Li’l Christine,” where the group sounds like an urgent Marshall Crenshaw,  are the pillars of this sublime album. There are plenty of pop confections worth hearing. “This Far Before,” “Very First Lie,” “Out Right Now” and “Valerie Loves Me” are hit singles that never were. Likely had they been originally released in 1966 and not 1991 they would’ve found a home on AM radio. The band may have been, arguably, out of time, but the songs were really timeless. The 20th Anniversary Edition includes eight bonus cuts. Covers of Thin Lizzy’s “Cowboy,” Sweet’s “Blockbuster” and Paul Simon’s “The Boxer” are great fun.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.4 out of 5
35 Ratings
35 Ratings
Evan7 ,

Over-rated, by-the-numbers 'power pop'

Bought this album 20 years ago after hearing 'Valerie Loves Me'. While the album has a few other relatively catchy songs ('Out Right Now' being one them), it's no way a 'power pop' masterpiece as some people want to make it out to be. Essentially, it your run-of-the-mill, cliched power pop. The band is a one trick pony and the album gets tiresome halfway through (a little goes a long way). There's so much better power pop from the 90's: the Posies, Jellyfish, Teenage Fanclub, and Matthew Sweet (to name a few). I wouldn't bother with trying to track down their sophmore album, since it's more of the same, but only with less hooks.

bethann6 ,

Love Material Issue

Great songs that bring back good memories for me...back when I was young and didn't have a care in the world! I just downloaded the video for Valerie Loves Me, a favorite song of mine still, after all these years. It's interesting to see too, that back in 1991, these guys have the haircuts and "skinny" jeans that some young guys today are wearing (although they weren't called skinny jeans in the early 90's). Cool to see how fashion comes back like that...

Deuce//Solo ,

Good Pop Sound

I got this cassette tape in '91 as a promo thingy, man it was pretty cool stuff. Still have the cassette and a radio interview of these guys back then.
Good hooks with good melodies and harmonies too.

D//S

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