Swedish rock group The Soundtrack of Our Lives never really made the jump over the Atlantic the way their sound demanded. Even though they earned a nomination (whatever that means) for “Best Alternative Album” (whatever that means) at the 2003 Grammy Awards (whatever that’s worth), TSOOL never really got the attention they deserved. My favorite album of theirs happens to be the one they were nominated for, entitled, “Behind the Scenes”.

STOOL - Behind the Scenes

This year, the band decided to call it quits, so I find it fitting to spend some time appreciating some of their contribution to music. (On a side-note, I have to say thank you to comedian William Green for introducing me to TSOOL early in college.)

On the surface, the music is a vague mixture of post-India Beatles, dashed with the aggressive guitars of The Rolling Stones, and a tolerable smattering of psychedelic rock. Digging deeper though, the band dances around their sonic influences to present an expansive view of life through fresh eyes, highlighted by the apt named “21st Century Rip-Off”, the sing-along friendly “Mind the Gap”, the celebration of change and time “Still Aging”, and of course, the song that you likely have the greatest chance of having heard as it is the single, “Sister Surround”. Give it a listen here:

The quality that I admire most about TSOOL is their ability to present songs that have independent tones and topics, at the same time blending one idea into the next. This balance between continuity and freedom makes the album just as easy to listen to from one end to the other (and back again, Bilbo) as it does as single tracks on the music player of your choice. While there are a few tracks out of the fifteen on the album that I generally skip, I do so out of excitement for the ones I know are coming.

“Behind the Scenes” is an album that I find myself going back to every few months to gain energy and bounce my head. Whether I am feeling dull or creative, the album, whole or as pieces, gives me fresh perspective, even after dozens of listens. Four out of five bears.

About the Author

Tim McLeod
“All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.” –Ernest Hemingway How many can claim that their understanding of the word “Apocalypse” spurred from—no, not the Bible—a 3,000 year old super villain left over from ancient Egyptian times that exists in only the Marvel Universe? How about their first taste of Greek Mythology coming from a straight-laced leader of the X-Men: Cyclops? All writers for this site, put down your hands. My love for literature started when I was sitting on my front porch when I was six-ish years old. A lanky, ugly, and unfoundedly pompous young gentleman named Brian Kronner crashed his bike in my front lawn because he was trying to carry too many action figures. From this introduction, I began reading comic books voraciously. I loved the ideas, and the words that got me there. Brian opened doors for me through this clumsiness, a trait he never quite got over. It was only a matter of time until that appetite for ideas took me to new areas like Mark Twain, Billy Shakespeare, and Ernest Hemingway. That’s where I’m coming from.