Dude, you sound just like that guy!
Bill Clinton and the budget surpluses of the last decade may be a hazy memory, but the indefatigable melodies of that period’s radio hits have endured, perhaps a subconscious cry for normalcy in this age of funny pants and rampant copyright infringement. “If You Could Only See,” the unchallenged champion of modern-rock radio in 1997, was penned and sung by Emerson Hart while in his previous band, Tonic. Admittedly, the average music fan might be forgiven for assuming that Hart faded into the toxic L.A. sunset with the Dishwalla’s and Smashmouth’s of the world, but, in fact, he has emerged from the ether with a fine new solo album, Cigarettes and Gasoline. Inspired by a newfound reckoning with the murder of his father, Hart mines emotional territory not often experienced in the context of a pop record. The title track and songs like “If You’re Gonna Leave” and “flying” channel the author’s realization that life is precious and, like this album, not to be underestimated.