I've been listening to so many sandy voiced songwriters doused in a morass of atmosphere that when the Pernice Brothers' "Wait to Stop" came up on shuffle the other day, the clarity of Pernice's creamy voice, perfect melody, and lush strings knocked me over as if I were hearing it for the first time.
Of course it wasn't my first time. The album from which it came, 1998's Overcome By Happiness, is among my all-time favorites. Though I don't listen to it with as much frequency these days, I must have played it monthly, weekly, daily (along with Joe Pernice's prior effort, the Scud Mountain Boys' Massachussetts) for about five years straight. Massachussetts seems to have retained a touch more glow of acclaim all these years later, but Overcome By Happiness is a pop masterpiece.
I've been singing "Wait to Stop" to myself ever since hearing it this week. My wife noticed me singing it while I was doing the dishes last night and she asked, "Why don't you listen to this kind of music anymore?" It's a good question! My answer being... I don't know, is anyone making great yet simple pop as good as this right now? Overcome by Happiness is like a perfect soufflé—its ingredients are no mystery, but the execution is unparalleled.