Most Messed Up

On this most Old 97's-ish of Old 97's LPs, the hard-partying twang-punk quartet throw a 20th-birthday bash for themselves. In the tradition of boozy anniversaries, it begins with a victory speech: "Longer Than You've Been Alive" pays tribute to "20 good years of about 25," confessing, "Our jobs are all jobs/And sometimes they suck." Then it's yet another round of airtight songs celebrating life-as-sublime-train-wreck amid music that conjures the British Invasion landing in a Texas barroom. Special guest Tommy Stinson adds a shot of Replacements-style chaos to the mix, notably on "Let's Get Drunk & Get It On" – a balls-out anthem that sums up the 97's religion perfectly.

From The Archives Issue 1208: May 8, 2014