Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, Unsung Heroes

1996 – Part 2.3: Tonic – Lemon Parade

Tonic (for this album) is Emerson Hart on vocals and guitar, Jeff Russo on guitar, Dan Rothchild on bass and Kevin Shepard on drums.

The band was formed in 1993 and three years later they had a massive debut album on the back of one song. In the U.S, it has a Platinum certification. Then again, there is a saying that everything went platinum in 1996.

And for the ones who purchased the album, they would be surprised that there is a lot more to Tonic, than just the one “hit” song.

“Open Up Your Eyes”

It feels like a Collective Soul song, heavy and it opens the album, but it isn’t the song that sold it.

“Casual Affair”

It feels like a Pearl Jam song. Actually, this is the style that Nickelback would use and sound like on “Silver Side Up”.

“If You Could Only See”

This is the song that sold the album. In Australia, it was all over radio and it pushed the album to Number 12 on the ARIA charts.

And at 87.3 million streams on Spotify, it’s also the song that will keep paying em for a long time. Nothing else comes close. “Open Up Your Eyes” is at 6 million streams and “Lemon Parade” is at 1.2 million streams.

The simple light intro strummed chords of Am, C, G, F hide the heaviness to come. I used to cover this in the bands I played in and it always got a reaction.

“Soldiers Daughter”

The first 40 second opening is excellent, almost country rock like as they employ an open D tuning D-A-D-F#-A-D.

The vocal melodies from Hart are emotive, about a certain someone who is there to support a hurting little girl.

The first four songs are all killer.

“Lemon Parade”

This one could have come from a Rolling Stones album, as the riffs smell on Keith Richards. And the lead section harmonies could have come from a Thin Lizzy album.

“Mountain”

There is 40 second acoustic guitar “around the campfire” intro, which reminds me of the 70’s blues rock sounds before that sound returned again with a vengeance in the 2000’s, rebranded as country rock.

And when the vocals start, it feels like a “Live” track.

“Mountain” isn’t throwaway pop music. It’s a career song. After the quite of the acoustics, it amps up.

Like a fire I’m drawn to her lust
I can’t run from her, but lord I must
Like a demon I’m drawn to her flame
I’m gonna burn calling her name

The guitars are preaching religion and the words are preaching truth about love and desire.

And then it gets quiet again, with the acoustic guitars. And then explodes again, with a lead break. Reminding me of the British blues rock bands.

“Mountain” is as fresh today as it was yesterday.

“Thick”

It reminds me of a Led Zep track in the first 30 seconds, before it moves into a groove similar to “If You Could Only See”.

“Wicked Soldier”

It’s back to the rock of “R.E.M” merged with “The Tragically Hip”.

“Mr. Golden Deal”

It’s back to the feel of “Soldiers Daughter”. More ballad country blues rock like.

“Bigot Sunshine”

It’s got a wah wah infused main riff, which scratches and wheezes its way into my brain. There are these jangly open D like chords which remind me of Rush and the great Alex Lifeson.

“Celtic Aggression”

It’s a track that’s more filler.

“My Old Man”

Hart brings the emotion to this one, a slow blues rock closer that takes you back to those 70’s albums that pushed boundaries.

If you like the rock music of the 70’s then you will like this album. Give Tonic a go.

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7 thoughts on “1996 – Part 2.3: Tonic – Lemon Parade

  1. Agreed, I like Tonic! Started to listen to all these other nineties band this past year on Spotify, like Tonic, Sponge and Dishwalla, that I’d heard of but got overlooked for the STO, PJs etc. Some great songs and music, especially Tonic. Love your blog!

    • Hey Adriano
      Thanks for reading. Tonic was one of my favorites from the mid 90s along with Collective Soul and the first Matchbox 20.
      Now Dishwala and Sponge are two bands that I also ignored. So I guess it’s time to go to Spotify. Lol.

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