Some said ‘Rock is dead’ in ’98 and electronica (i.e., Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers) is the next big thing. Well, Grunge died, sort of—after Cobain’s death, Pearl Jam’s No Code flopped, and Soundgarden split up. Unbeknownst to many, Pavement’s Brighten the Corners actually saved Rock n’ Roll in ’97. And paved the way for Superdrag’s pretentiously titled Head Trip In Every Key the following year, which proved that rock ain’t really dead, it just took the backseat.
While the Superdrag boasts melodic burst after burst and glorious fuzz on their debut Regretfully Yours, they were closer to breezy power-pop of Fountains of Wayne than to the darker sound of the early nineties. And while their label were probably aiming them to be the next big thing, John Davis and his cohorts had another thing in mind: make a great rock record without repeating Regretfully Yours. The A&R guys wanted another “Sucked Out,” Superdrag gave them the power-pop equivalent of Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie, a rock album replete with horns and string arrangements, piano, organ, sitar, theremin and mellotron–even a microwave oven. It’s not just the kitchen sink, John Davis and co. throws the the whole kitchen into it. Unfortunately, Head Trip flew under the radar and never made a hit, the record label barely promoted it and dropped Superdrag off their roster soon after its release.
All this makes Head Trip an underappreciated gem. A forgotten classic. Though Superdrag never really seemed to aim for Top40 hits, Head Trip wasn’t meant to be something like Nirvana’s In Utero. They were not trying to shy away from the spotlight. They weren’t trying to alienate the Regretfully fans. Superdrag meant Head Trip to be heard and shared. And they’re just there, hanging around the corner, waiting, quietly inviting you to take a chance, grab those headphones, press play.