Sweet Oblivion

Sweet Oblivion

After nearly dissolving due to internal strife and alcohol abuse, Screaming Trees regrouped with a new drummer for 1992’s Sweet Oblivion, which they assumed would be their farewell album. Instead, it made them one of America's most popular rock bands. Boosted by a hit single—“Nearly Lost You,” an urgent and exasperated love song that remains one of the group’s best—the album feels like the one the Trees had been trying to make for their whole career. Mark Lanegan’s wizened vocals finally found a comfortable way to coexist with Gary Lee Connor's unpredictable guitar work. Meanwhile, the songwriting is sterling. Besides “Nearly Lost You,” the album boasts “Shadow of the Season,” “For Celebrations Past,” “The Secret Kind," and “Winter Song”: a string of tracks that epitomize the group's particular brand of pop music velocity. “More or Less” is as close as the Trees ever came to outright grunge. In reality, they were much sweeter and tenderer than they usually get credit for. The scarred yet valiant vulnerability that Lanegan brings to “Dollar Bill” and “Julie Paradise” would become the defining trait of his solo career.

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