Album Review: Retroreviews – Spin Doctors “You’ve Got To Believe In Something” (1996)

Posted: August 14, 2019 by Maximum Mike in The Rocking Chair Blog
I realize this is coming out of left field but I really think we gave up on the Spin Doctors a little early. I agree, writing this review IS a crazy response to discovering I own TWO Spin Doctors CDs, especially when you consider that I haven’t written a Rocking Chair blog post since August of 2015 and this is what I decided to write about. Insanity. But when I picked 1994’s “Turn It Upside Down” off the shelf, I experienced a distinct revulsion and a flash of blurry memory being completely underwhelmed and bored by the second release by the Grammy nominated Alt Rock/Pop Rock legends best known for their 1991 now classic “Pocket Full of Kryptonite” which went cinco platinum! Yes, obviously we all know the two big ones, “Two Princes” and “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” (the latter being the safer bet for most of you) and then the lesser known (but kudos to you if you remember) Superman themed “Jimmy Olsen Blues” and the very funky “What Time Is It?” (4:30). So what ever became of the Spin Doctors? Nothing much. Sure they’re around and touring, for instance they had a slew of concerts this Summer across the US. Most bands that you can think of that are no longer in the spotlight are still around, they’re still making music; the Spin Doctors put out their last album in 2013 which is really not that long ago. Also, Eric Schenkman, the lead guitarist and backing vocalist just put out a new album. But was that it? Were they just one hit wonders? I’m going to argue no. The problem is that the people wanted another “Pocket Full Of Kryptonite” and instead the got the 1994 follow-up, “Turn It Upside Down”. It wasn’t bad, it was just too different, too slow. People wanted another “Two Princes”, another Pop Rock hit. Instead we got a Sophomore Slump, an album that seemed to scream, “We’re stars! We’re cool! We smoke marijuana!” and it simply wasn’t enough and the world lost interest. Now, this was a mistake, on our part. Yes, maybe “Turn It Upside Down” wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be but we obviously gave up too soon. We should have had faith. I mean, a band that could create such Alt/Pop Rock perfection? We should have waited patiently. If we had, we would have discovered 1996’s “You’ve Got To Believe In Something”. IT’S SO GOOD! It fits in perfectly with all the late 90s Alt/Rock (Matchbox 20, Live, popish Sugar Ray, all that stuff) while still retaining their classic Funk Bohemian Pop Rock sound. The album has a lot going for it, from the heavy and dark Blues Rock sound of “Dogs On A Doe” (or if your bad with lyrics “Gam Zu Le Tov), a catchy first single on She Used To Be Mine which is oddly juxtaposed to the Blues Traveler-esque “I Can’t Believe Your Still With Her” and I would be remiss not to mention “Where Angels Fear To Tread” is a song The Wallflowers wish they had written! Finally a very cool, beat driven cover of” That’s The Way I Like It” feat Biz Markie which is surreal and welcomed. This album is what we wanted in 1994, this is the album that would have cemented them as a mainstay band! Alas, it was not meant to be! While I can’t rectify what was (I was twelve in 94), I can put this fantastic album into heavy rotation at home. I recommend you do the same.          

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