Out today is a new 20th anniversary edition of Semisonic’s breakthrough album Feeling Strangely Fine from UMe/Geffen Records which adds four bonus tracks to the original tracklisting.
Hailing from Minnesota, Dan Wilson and John Munson were members of the band Trip Shakespeare. When that group broke up, the joined with drummer Jacob Slichter in 1995 to form Semisonic. The trio recorded an EP, Pleasure, released on an indie label. They were then signed to Elektra, but dropped when the label switched presidents. The band then hopped over to MCA and their debut album, Great Divide, in 1996. Four singles were released, but the effort didn’t light up the charts.
For their next album, Feeling Strangely Fine, Nick Launay was brought in to produce. Some of his credits included work with Kate Bush and Talking Heads and he would go on to work with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Dan Wilson wrote all but one of the songs with some contributions from Slichter. John Munson composed one of the tracks (“She Spreads Her Wing”). The group recorded twenty songs from between April and August 1997. The final, twelve-track album was then released in March, 1998.
The first single, “Closing Time,” preceded the album’s release by two weeks and would become the group’s biggest hit. The song, using the closing of a bar as a metaphor for birth, would climb to No. 11 on the Hot 100 and hit the peak of the Modern Rock chart. It would also be nominated for a Grammy. The next single, “Singing In My Sleep,” was released in November and did not fare quite as well, its best charting position being No. 11 on the Alternative Songs chart. The group bounced back with the third and final single from the album in 1999, “Secret Smile,” which peaked at No. 12 in the U.K. Singles Chart. Feeling Strangely Fine itself would end up certified Platinum in the United States.
Semisonic released one more album in 2001, All About Chemistry. They continued for to tour for a time after that but eventually went their separate ways. The group has reunited occasionally over the years with the most recent time being a pair of concerts in 2017. They have not recorded any more studio material, however, since 2001.
The new 20th anniversary edition of Feeling Strangely Fine adds four bonus tracks to the original album. Three are B-sides from various international singles: “Long Way From Home,” “I’m A Liar” and “Makin’ A Plan.” The fourth bonus track, “Beautiful Regret” originally popped up on a demo disc in 1994. Note that there are several other edits and B-sides from the era which are not included. This new release also features liner notes from the band.
If you are interested in revisiting Semisonic’s biggest hit album, it is available tomorrow on CD, while the 2-LP incarnation follows on November 30. We’ve got the full tracklisting and ordering links below.
Feeling Strangely Fine: 20th Anniversary Edition (Geffen/UMe, 2018)
- Closing Time
- Singing In My Sleep
- Made To Last
- Never You Mind
- Secret Smile
- Completely Pleased
- This Will Be My Year
- All Worked Out
- She Spreads Her Wings
- Gone To The Movies
- Long Way From Home
- I’m a Liar
- Beautiful Regret
- Making a Plan
Tracks 1-12 released as MCA Records MCAD 11733, 1998
Track 13 from “Closing Time” U.K. CD single – MCA Records MCSTD 40221, 1999
Tracks 14 and 16 from “Singing In My Sleep” U.K. CD single – MCA Records MCSXD-40227, 2000
Track 15 from Pleasure 2 self-released cassette, 1994