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Album #276: Drop Nineteens – National Coma

  • Released: 1993
  • Origin: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • Label: Caroline
  • Best Track: Royal

I mentioned when writing on Yo La Tengo’s latest that ‘Sugarcube’ by them is one of my favourite songs of all time. Another is ‘Winona‘ by Drop Nineteens.

I can’t explain my absolute adoration of this song. Perhaps it’s because, as some people in the YouTube comments allude to, it’s hard to imagine a more 1990s song. It came from the band’s 1992 debut Delaware – an album I would only rate as average-to-good despite that one sublime track.

The other day I discovered an article that caught up with the band. Before reading it, I’m not sure I was even aware that they put out a second album, National Coma, the following year, so I stuck it on.

If Delaware is average-to-good, then I’d have to say National Coma is closer to average. Even some of the band said in the aforementioned interview that they don’t listen to it often. It seems like they were trying to be a bit more arty and experimental, but the result is a bitty album. The production doesn’t do it any favours either – I can go with lo-fi, but it sounds rather thin, and quiet.

Still, they could write a tune, and some moments shine through. ‘Rot Winter’ is choppy and sloppy yet raw and abrasive, while ‘Skull’ is the catchiest track. It peaks on final track ‘Royal’ though, where a grungy, brooding verse is kicked into touch by an infectious chorus.

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