In 1994, I was 12 years-old and listening to Top 40 radio. Primarily, I was into Live, Bush and a smattering of West Coast hip-hop. Perhaps the most enlightened music I was pushing into my eardrums was Public Enemy, but that was only because my brother, eight years my elder, forced them upon me. I was a noob, a doofus, a clean slate. If I were capable of talking to my 12-year-old self right now, I’d most likely immediately get annoyed. What would ramp that annoyance up would be the knowledge that the pipsqueak version of me would have such a fantastic selection of music to choose from outside of the popular realm. Case in point: Superchunk’s 1994 indie-rock masterpiece Foolish.

Their first album on their own Merge Records after three releases on Matador, Foolish was Superchunk’s first fully realized effort to date and a guitar rock haven laced with poignant lyrics and enough hooks to fill a meat market. On this, only the second record featuring Jon Wurster on drums, the band sounded as though they had been together for a lifetime, exuding comfort as well as a lucid edginess that turned this from just a collection of songs to a beginning-to-end necessity. The cover art, created by bass player Laura Balance, belies the record’s raw rock strength. Foolish rips through its first four songs (“Like a Fool,” “First Part,” “Water Wings,” “Driveway to Driveway”) without ceasing. Each track is worthy of single-status without sticking out too far from the rest of the collection.

All this is to say that this album is a perfect example of the state of independent rock during its heyday. Need proof? Here is a short list of albums that came out through the year 1994:

Pavement, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
Guided By Voices, Bee Thousand
Sebadoh, Bakesale
Beck, Mellow Gold
Cheap Trick, Budokan II

Okay, that last one was to make sure you were still paying attention. Honestly, though, if you don’t like the first At Budokan record, you need a head check. Anyways, I digress. It is because of this great slate of releases that year that it is easy to forget Foolish even existed. In the age of independents, Superchunk was amongst the most staunchly independent. This is why of all the records to get a re-release from that era, this album may deserve it the most. As the majority of people from my era eke ever closer towards 30, this digital re-master will give them the opportunity to introduce their 12-year-old nephews and nieces to music that was difficult to be aware of when they were their age. It will certainly, at the very least, skyrocket you to the level of “coolest relative on the planet.” Regardless, it will also do your soul a heap of good to revisit this album so that you can be positive that at one time rock music was fresh, undamaged by synthesizers, V-neck t-shirts, and purposefully bad hair cuts—in other words, when the world of music was trying to shake off the 1980s and prove that schlock need not rule the day.
Terrence Adams