It’s a Shame About Ray (But Not About the Deluxe Release)

Posted by Carlos Gabriel Ruiz on April 30th, 2008

The Lemonheads - It\'s A Shame About Ray
From the very moment it starts, It’s a Shame About Ray transfixes and mesmerizes me like maybe no other record before or since. Beautiful and serene while at the same time completely lonely and bittersweet, Evan Dando’s melancholy voice shines through pitch perfectly in his magnum opus. Luckily for all of us mere mortals, Rhino decided to release a deluxe version of this 30 minute marvel of a modern masterpiece with outtakes, b-sides and a full concert DVD as well as a smörgÃ¥sbord of liner notes and interview snippets.

She takes me on a rocking stroll
If you won’t wave guess I won’t know
As by I roll I hope you’ll throw a smile at me

At the time of it’s release, the It’s a Shame About Ray was initially overlooked. Although extremely well lauded and well reviewed, especially in Europe and with the British Press, it wasn’t until their throwaway cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” helped break The Lemonheads into the mainstream and into the arms of both MTV and the zeitgeist.

Unfortunately, Dando and company were immediately derided by long time fans for taking a turn from their Bostonian punk roots and into the public spotlight. People should have seen it coming. What was Lovey if not the perfect bridge of a punk past to a perfect pop future? They already had the songs down, they just needed to evolve a little bit, thrown some polish on it and let them shine. It’s A Shame is that resulting shine.

A ship without a rudder is like a ship without a rudder is like a ship without a rudder

With his perfect cheekbones plastered all over seemingly every magazine cover, Evan Dando became an unwitting product that was being force fed to America. Fanzines like Die Evan Dando Die sprung up posting venomous hate towards Evan. The constant scrutiny and negative reaction forced Dando away from the spotlight and helped produce an equally stellar follow up Come on Feel the Lemonheads.

In the mix tape soundtrack of my life, It’s a Shame About Ray is Side A to Come On Feel’s Side B and you can simply rewind the tape and play it again, Sam.

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