In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, to honor Braid’s new record, we’re picking our favorite songs from “comeback” records.
Sunny Day Real Estate broke up in 1995 amid a flurry of zine-level controversy, with most fingers pointing at singer Jeremy Enigk’s public embrace of Jesus as his personal lord and savior as the breaking point with his bandmates. (His rhythm section would find a bit of success with Foo Fighters.) At that point, the band had recorded a pair of nearly perfect albums, Dairy and a self-titled record that’s commonly referred to as The Pink Album. Enigk went on to record a magnificently baroque pop record called Return Of The Frog Queen that didn’t make much of a splash, and most fans assumed SDRE was history. But only a couple of years passed before How It Feels To Be Something On, which combined the band’s old swirl with some of Enigk’s more pop-focused sensibility. It was jarringly unlike—and somehow less mysterious than—the old stuff, but also undeniably epic. “Guitar And Video Games” is probably the most straightforward song on the record, because it’s possible to guess at what Enigk is going on about lyrically—a relationship of some sort, and the comfort of spending time with the titular pursuits. Its also got a hell of a hook and even a bit of a prog-rock lean, which the band would explore more fully on its next album, the far less successful The Rising Tide. It could have been messy, this reunion—and by some accounts it was—but the songs that came out of it were worth the stories.