Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone Jill Hill Music & Songwriting

audiotrack Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone

reviewed by Jill Hill

Published in Issue No. 15 ~ August, 1998

Okay, the single “Flagpole Sitta” is cool, real cool, and has generated a ton of good press for the band. Entertainment Weekly recently mentioned Flagpole’s video and the song is being used to market the movie Disturbing Behavior. It is a good song with darkly clever lyrics (Been around the world and only stupid people are breeding. The cretins cloning and feeding. And I don’t even own a TV) and the catchy hook, “I’m not sick, but I’m not well.” You and the rest of the population, right?. Perhaps here is where lies the song’s allure. But does the rest of the CD live up to it?

Heck no. But then how could it?

It is not a bad CD. “Terminal Annex” with it’s angry love theme strikes a few chords with its beat and wicked lyrics. “Carlotta Valdez” is a short – a mere 2:44 minutes – but sturdy song. It is an able CD, though not wholly original. The guitar, bass, and drums are balanced and expressive, but the vocals are so affected and impersonal that a simple word like grudges comes out as GR-udg-essssss. The vocal phrasing feels derivative. The trite styling of Sean Nelson easily blends with the style of other bands that are currently popular. It is only on the last track, which begins with ten seconds of silence before opening to some quiet guitar work and Nelson’s low voice, that he begins to have a signature sound. Softly he asks, “Where have all the merrymakers gone?” Later he sings, “Some people will surprise you with a real depth of feeling. And others still may shock Shock !SHOCK! you.” Those words come out with such candor that it is easy to believe that Harvey Danger may very well raise above the other bands perfecting the Gen-X whine.

If you let the CD play out some weird stuff comes up after you think it is over.

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Jill Hill lives with some kids, some dogs, writes, and manages a restaurant where she tries out her new CD's. She listens to a variety of music, from Classical to Blues, but tries to stay away from most rap. In her words: "I am always on the look out for a new band or singer/songwriter that I will like. I like a CD that does not grow old and weary sounding, which mean I don't want buy a CD that can be found on the used CD sale table a month later. One of my favorite CD's is Neal Young's Everyone Knows this is Nowhere. My favorite writer is Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and my favorite novel of his Of Love and Other Demons. X-Files is about the only TV I watch. I do not watch sitcoms and do not like music inspired by sitcoms. I'd rather listen to a sampled rap version of the Jetsons theme song."