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100 Albums: "Hints, Allegations, & Things Left Unsaid" by Collective Soul

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Collective Soul
Title: Hints, Allegations, & Things Left Unsaid
Released: 1993
Genre: singer-songwriter alt-metal kind of

By 1992, Ed Roland had all but given up on being a musician. He'd studied composition at Berklee College Of Music and been active in the Atlanta club scene for the better part of a decade. He'd worked in a studio engineering and producing for local artists. He'd formed and dissolved two separate bands. His bands had been staples of the club scene. He'd been featured in a movie-of-the-week and even profiled on local television, but he just couldn't get any traction. Frustrated, he decided to shift his efforts into publishing. He got some friends together to record a quick-and-dirty promotional demo in a basement and started shopping the songs around for other artists to cover. The lead song Shine was an instant hit on college radio. Pressured to put on some concerts for the radio station, Roland formed the band with his brother Dean and drummer Shane Evans, who had helped on the demo, as well as friends Ross Childress and Will Turpin. The song got label interest and the band signed to Atlantic, who released the demo--without being re-recorded or even re-mixed--as their debut.

HA&TLU is not really a Collective Soul record. Roland is adamant that their proper debut is the self-titled follow-up they recorded as a band and released in 1995. Shine, however, is one of the band's most enduring hits, so they're stuck with it. The record is an oddball collection of different styles of music all filtered through the brain of Ed Roland. You have Ed Roland doing arena rock in Shine, you have his take on country in Heaven's Already Here, you have his take on punk in Scream. You have his version of a classical string-quartet concerto called Pretty Donna (you think I'm kidding, but the song is actually kind of gorgeous). Sister Don't Cry is kind of R&B and Wasting Time is definitely college rock. Given what he was trying to do with these songs, it's easy to imagine Scream and Wasting Time as sound-alikes for Nirvana and Sister Hazel, respectively. And in that respect, it's all a little derivative and lo-fi (again, this was a promotional demo, not a polished record). On the other hand, it's upbeat, solidly performed and arranged, and has some spectacular hooks in it. Heaven's Already Here is one of my low-key favorite songs ever. Roland leans a little heavily on choruses that are a few measures of a melody in a major key followed by one or two measure of that same melody modulated into a minor one; you hear this on Sister Don't Cry and Reach. It's definitely an album where one guy told everyone else what to play rather than a group of people working things out while jamming.

So it's not really a Collective Soul record, and it's only barely a record, but it's pretty great, as far as I'm concerned.