9 60492-4 See How We Are
Produced by Alvin Clark
Released on 1987
US CHART POSITION #107
Find it at GEMM
9 60492-4 cover  

I own two X albums: this and Under The Big Black Sun. I gotta make a note to myself to buy more X albums. See How We Are doesn’t send a chill down my spine the way Black Sun does, but it’s still as solid as a rock. The voices of John Doe and Exene Cervenka meet in midflight like a pair of drunken larks, and the subject matter is unflinching, honest and intelligent. Some things never change with X. Even a new guitarist (Tony Gilkyson) and a new producer (Alvin Clark) take a backseat to the band’s unique brand of driving, alternative rock. What’s interesting is that the original punk label seems to have worn off with time. In its place are roots rock sensibilities, a sort of shared affection for country and rockabilly that gets mixed in with the final product. Thus it’s a little tricky to pin down exactly where X belongs in the contemporary music scene, but that there’s a place for left-of-center rock this intelligent is undeniable. See How We Are didn’t see the same chart success as previous efforts, but many critics took a shining to it. It’s not hard to hear why: “4th of July,” “Left & Right,” “See How We Are,” “Holiday Story,” “Cyrano De Berger’s Back.” Great stuff. When Exene takes the lead, X can sound like The Go-Go’s fueled on Grrll power or The B-52’s on a bad hair day (e.g., “Anyone Can Fill Your Shoes”), while John Doe is more earnest, kind of a cross between Paul Westerberg and John Mellencamp (which would leave you with a Mellenberg, I guess). Or maybe the better analogy is The Crammps with more talent. As I said, it’s tricky to pin down (for me, anyway). I’m just happy to see X still hit the mark, whatever they were aiming for. The production value is more lush than the bare, sinewy Black Sun, but the core principles remain intact.

TRACK LISTING

  1. I'M LOST    2:55
  2. YOU    3:28
  3. 4TH OF JULY    (Dave Alvin)    4:03
  4. IN THE TIME IT TAKES    3:09
  5. ANYONE CAN FILL YOUR SHOES    2:46
  6. SEE HOW WE ARE    3:46
  7. LEFT & RIGHT    2:57
  8. WHEN IT RAINS...    4:29
  9. HOLIDAY STORY    3:36
  10. SURPRISE SURPRISE    2:50
  11. CYRANO DE BERGER'S BACK    (John Doe)    3:32

    Expanded CD reissue tracks
  12. HOLIDAY STORY (DEMO/REMIX)
  13. I'M LOST (DEMO/REMIX)
  14. HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED (OUTTAKE/ROUGH MIX)
  15. IN THE TIME IT TAKES (DEMO/REMIX)
  16. SEE HOW WE ARE (DEMO/REMIX)

    All songs written by John Doe/Exene Cervenka unless noted

CREDITS

D.J. BONEBRAKE -- drums, percussion
EXENE CERVENKA -- vocals
JOHN DOE -- vocals, bass
TONY GILKYSON -- guitars
Dave Alvin -- guitar, 6-string bass
Benmont Tench -- Hammond & Casio
Julian Stoll -- engineer
John X -- engineer
Alvin Clark -- mixing
Mike Russ -- photography
John Heiden -- design

return to X discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US 1987 Elektra LP/CD/CS 60492 lyric sleeve
GER 1987 Elektra LP 960 492 lyric sleeve
US 2002 Rhino CDX 78259 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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