Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. Not big, not clever, not hip, not trendy. Just fantastic.
  2. More catchy hooks than you'll find in a fisherman's tacklebox. [3/16/2001, p.68]
  3. Finally, a near-perfect pop disc from Minneapolis's Semisonic. While the band has always hinted it had the right stuff to deliver a truly great record, Chemistry is the first of the band's three releases to make good on the promise.
  4. 80
    Semisonic's newest release, All About Chemistry, hits all the right pop spots, but will likely appeal to a very niche group -- the same group that embraced the easy, witty pop of bands such as Crowded House or Ben Folds Five.
  5. But if "Chemistry" is a pure-pop sugar rush, much of what follows is equally sour, often falling into the thematic trap that snares so many post-hit albums: lots of songs about how success is really hard on rock stars and their girlfriends.
  6. 70
    What it all boils down to is songs. Just as overproduction provides the perfect mask for some bands' mediocrity, the utter simplicity of this recording is the ideal way to reveal Semisonic's renewed inspiration.
  7. Chemistry works precisely because of Semisonic's skillful management of cliche, particularly Wilson's ability to elevate ordinary story lines with buoyant melodies.
  8. Semisonic hasn't exactly turned into Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but signs of self-indulgence have crept into the music, as evidenced by the nearly eight-minute running time of "I Wish" and an abundance of strings and fussy production tricks. But [Dan] Wilson hasn't lost his gift for writing memorable, brilliantly crafted pop songs.
  9. The results are not bad -- nor are they dynamic. It's shiny and it shimmers, but there's no fizz, no explosion.
  10. Palatable but bland easy-listening.
  11. 50
    ...melds Billy Joel and James Taylor... [Apr 2001, p.161]
  12. Semisonic are the lambswool jumper pulled over the eyes of people who have an irresistible soft spot for 'classic' songwriting. Fail to give their songs full attention - and God knows, that's easy enough - you could almost believe this is literate radio-friendly pop; just the thing for those blustery rides through an imaginary Santa Monica freeway.
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Nov 30, 2013
    10
    This was one of my favorite albums of that year (2001), and of that decade (2000s). Excellent songwriting, musicianship and production. I'm surprised that the title track never became a mega-hit; it is a pop-rock classic in my book. Full Review »