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Perennial Favorites

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Album Review

Although it had been simmering for a little while, the neo-swing boom had its breakthrough hit in early 1997 with the Squirrel Nut Zippers' "Hell." Instead of fading away, the movement simply gained momentum, virtually guaranteeing a large audience for the group's summer 1998 follow-up album, Perennial Favorites. The title is a sly joke, since the group are revivalists who happen to be part of a fad, but they do prove to be more substantial than many of their peers with this record. Part of the reason they stand apart from the rest of the neo-swing crowd is that they don't forget that there was a bit of menace in the days of hot jazz — it wasn't a naive, swinging party, there was some genuine hedonism as well. Since the Zippers are revivalists, they can only hint at the subtext that informed swing and hot jazz, but that's considerably more than their glitzy peers do. They also have a knack for a solid hook, and they deliver it all with panache and loose-limbed glee. The band may lack the chops that would make this enticing to jazzbos, but they are developing their own style, and they also have songwriting skills. "The Ghost of Stephen Foster," in particular, is a tour de force, encapsulating SNZ's gift for hooks, their subversive sense of humor, and their hidden dark side. Moments like that prove that the Squirrel Nut Zippers are more than a one-hit wonder.

Customer Reviews

highly over looked

i reconmmend this album to anyone. its great and full of jazz. in my opinion this is their best album

Awesome CD

Swing, jazz - don't care what you call it, this is a great CD. Folks who enjoy this should check the Asylum Street Spankers. An underrated but well deserving band!

Very Nice!

I reccommend this album who has a taste for jazz as well as vocal. All songs are fantastic!


Formed: 1993

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The commercialization of alternative music in the '90s resulted in many strange one-hit wonders, but few were quite as unpredictable as Squirrel Nut Zippers. During a time when hipsters were obsessed with swing music in its relation to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin's Rat Pack, the Zippers were fascinated with big-band swing and Harlem, creating a tongue-in-cheek salute to '20s and '30s jazz. For younger listeners familiar with the style but not the content of classic hot jazz, the band was good fun,...
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