Songs From an American Movie Vol. One: Learning How to Smile Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 16 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 16
  2. Negative: 4 out of 16
  1. While love- and life-torn Alexakis might lyrically be working familiar terrain here, he has the smarts to place his odes to abuse and regret into an intriguing assortment of different contexts, making this album well worth listening to
  2. It's almost silly to accouse An American Movie of being overproduced, because string-driven flights of fancy and studio gloss are simply what successful well-adjusted nice-guy bands do on their third album. [#146, p.89]
  3. The band has introduced cleanser and furniture polish into the summer cleaning, sweeping away the rough edges and brightening up the melodies, which results in the group's best-sounding album to date.
  4. "Learning How to Smile" has compelling subject matter in its reminiscence of love among the white trash ruins, but its climactic strings and cheery chords feel like a theme song to the latest WB teen-sex drama.
  5. 50
    While convincingly earnest and certainly ambitious, the result is formulaic, and lacks the free-wheelin', soulful magic of the original
  6. It vacillates between insignificant fluff and confessional songs that have nothing new to confess.
  7. 20
    There are many things in life worth avoiding... But none can compare to the horrific spectacle of Everclear attempting to lighten up and show the world their jolly side. [Sep 2000, p.112]

See all 16 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. LukeJ
    May 18, 2006
    This album.. infact all everclear albums are awesome in thier own right. i am myself a muscian i an succeful band, and i feel that every single song on this/all everyclear albums are totally clever in the writing and performance.. apart from two tracks that i feel should never of made thier discography.. but im not gonna go into the bad. this album has given me many a good listen and will till the day i die. the lyrics are potent and real, the music compliments the mood and each song takes you on a journey. Those who put down everclear for part 1 and 2 of this album are simpletons and do not realise what everclear was trying to achieve. where can you go after such success? they were trying something different. and personally i commend thier efforts. if you are looking for a great album full of emotion and personal experience to make you feel your not the only person who hurts and wants things to change in this world. then this is the album for you. its my life all over, it will most probably be yours. i just hope that everclear arnt dead forever. Expand
  2. CraigF
    Dec 29, 2002
    Great all-around album in the style of Everclear.
  3. JesusW
    Aug 3, 2005
    For starting out as a solo album by Art it turned out into a good Everclear album. With a memorable track or two.
  4. daven
    Sep 22, 2006
    Someone once told me that they thought all of Everclear's songs sounded the same. That person has obviously never listened to their CDs in their entirety. "World of Noise" was their best best Screaming Trees/Nirvana impression. The following "Sparkle and Fade" was them cleaning up their sound for a more mainstream grunge sound. "So Much for the Afterglow" incorporated pop for the first time into the mix. "Vol. 1" strips grunge in its entirety to result in a complete pop, almost Beatles-esque sound. The results are mostly good, with some tracks just not hitting home. This is no "So Much for the Afterglow" and "Sparkle and Fade" has a slight edge, but its still another solid release from a solid band. Expand
  5. j30
    Feb 1, 2012
    A change for the worse. Maybe So Much For The Afterglow got to Everclear's head a little bit not knowing where to head next. How I miss the Sparkle and Fade days. Expand
  6. Joshua
    Sep 25, 2003
    What happened to Everclear? You expected so much more out of them after their first two major releases, and what you get is something my parents wouldn't even listen to. When Art Alexakis wrote happier songs for So Much For the Afterglow, at least they were good. This album, along with the two after it they've released thus far, is a collection of songs that try too hard to be heartfelt. If they won't make another good album, I guess we'll all just have to stick with Sparkle and Fade. Ah, well. Expand