The Lemonheads – It’s A Shame About Ray: #868 of best 1,000 albums ever!

The Lemonheads - It's A Shame About Ray

Why is The Lemonheads’ It’s A Shame About Ray on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

Do you want this album to seduce you? That’d be a yes.

What does The Lemonheads’ It’s A Shame About Ray mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?

I first heard of The Lemonheads and It’s A Shame About Ray by way of the casually ingenious cover song of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson.”

Because I had spent half my childhood renting VHS tapes from my local library, I was well familiar with the 1967 film The Graduate, the movie that the song was written for and the character, Mrs. Robinson, played by Anne Bancroft, who dropped the iconic line, “Do you want me to seduce you?” on young(!) Dustin Hoffman’s Ben Braddock. That line blew my young(!) mind, I can tell you, when I first heard it sometime during the 1980s.

Anyway, I immediately dug what The Lemonheads did with the song, speeding up and rocking up the tempo in an incredibly ear pleasing pop punk-meets-jangle pop number. It’s slightly tongue in cheek but mostly homage, and most importantly it absolutely stands on its own and remains one of my favorite early 1990s gems.

I really hate the first seven seconds or so of “Bit Part,” where someone screams “I just want a bit part in your life!” But then it quickly transitions into a magically catchy jangle pop number. Evan Dando and crew’s sound just feels so lived in, for lack of a better word, that it’s as approachable as it is catchy. I guess that’s to say this is catchy music that you completely don’t mind getting “stuck in your head.” Welcome to my head, “Bit Part” (minus those first seven seconds), says I!

“Allison’s Starting to Happen” has to be a song title that a million punk and new wave bands have to jealous of. And it’s a fantastic song, leaning a little more into the punk side of the bands repertoire in a fabulous way. And at 1:59 this song gets in, does it’s thing, assures you that Allison indeed is starting to happen, and cuts out leaving you wanting more.

There’s a bunch of great demo versions of songs on the album’s “extended” edition. For example, I dig this acoustic version of “My Drug Buddy.”

I have kind of a weird admission to make: there was a period of years when I had somehow internalized the completely false idea that The Lemonheads’ lead singer, Evan Dando, had died, probably (again, just in my mind) of a drug overdose.

All I can say in my defense is that the early to mid-1990s were a weird time. Basically pre-Internet, for one, and it was a time when a shocking number of talented musicians really did pass away way before their time, ranging from the likes of Nirvana’s Curt Cobain to Sublime’s Bradley Nowell to Blind Melon’s Shannon Hoon. And while of course it would have been fairly easy to confirm my incorrect assumption by way of the band’s continued output throughout the decade, I just… didn’t. Perhaps I was living up my slacker Gen X ethos to the max, who knows!

Okay, way too much time/space discussing why I had picked up a completely false piece of information.

Some stats & info about The Lemonheads – It’s A Shame About Ray

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Alternative Rock, Boston Bands, Pop Punk, College Rock, Jangle Pop
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was It’s A Shame About Ray released? 1992
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #868 out of 1,000

The Lemonheads’ It’s A Shame About Ray on Spotify

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.