The Archives : Old 97's "Blame It On Gravity" (2008)

It hasn't gathered a whole lotta dust, but this record was so grossly overlooked last year, that it's worthy of a little revisit. Gravity is arguably their best record since 1999's Fight Songs and came as a huge surprise after the 2004 clunker Drag It Up.

Blame It On Gravity is far from the recycled sound that the 97's have tried in the past. These songs are fresh and stand as some of the best songs this fantastic band has ever recorded. "No Baby I" could very well be their best song to date and "Color of a Lonely Heart Is Blue" and "The One" round out one heck of a return to form. The strange thing about this album is that they decided to include just a few absolute clunkers, most notably "Dance With Me" and "Early Morning," the latter being perhaps the worst song any band has ever put on a record. But if you excuse a few duds, this is an excellent record, one that gets better and better on repeat listens.

After Rhett Miller's last solo record and the previous 97's record I feared that these guys had run out of gas. But Gravity, along with bassist Murry Hammond's strong solo debut I Don't Know Where I'm Going But I'm On My Way prove that there's still a lot left in the tank. And if I wasn't featuring Gravity, there's a good chance I'd have gone with Rhett's 2002 solo record The Instigator, another solid collection of tunes that deserves far more credit than it gets.