Blow Up

Blow Up
Released: September 3, 1991

  1. Top Of The Pops
  2. Too Much Passion
  3. Tell Me When Did Things Go So Wrong
  4. Evening Dress
  5. Get A Hold Of My Heart
  6. Indigo Blues
  7. Now And Then
  8. Girl In Room 12
  9. Anywhere You Are
  10. Over And Over Again
  11. It’s Alright
  12. If You Want The Sun To Shine

Produced by Ed Stasium

Promo photo for Blow UpThe Smithereens’ original, three-chord electric guitar pop is what the New Trouser Press Record Guide describes as “impossibly winsome, memorable and rapturous without sacrificing any rock ‘n’ roll energy or guts.” More succinctly, the band has referred to their electrifying sound as “AC/DC meets the Beatles” due to their crunch of guitars over intense pop melodies.

Those traits are prevalent in Blow Up, the band’s newest melodic album which also harvests an intensified variety of all the genres loved by the band. “Top Of The Pops” is an edgy riff rocker with a clever analogy that English-rock fans should pick up on; “Too Much Passion” is strongly reminiscent of Motown resulting from DiNizio’s desire to “write the sort of song Smokey Robinson might have written in 1966”; “Evening Dress” is an achingly beautiful ballad lyrically inspired by a short story by the Japanese author Yukio Mishima; and “Indigo Blues” is a pared-down R & B tune guested by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin as a one-man sax section (listen carefully at the end for vocals by 2 ½ year-old Max Babjak).

Top of the Pops ad

Top of the Pops ad

Additionally, Blow Up includes the solo writing debut by guitarist Jim Babjak with the harmony-rich “Now And Then,” empowered by the voices of The Cowsills; “Get A Hold Of My Heart,” co-written by Dianne Warren, features sweet harmonizing with Carlene Carter; and “Tell Me When Did Things Go So Wrong” is the band’s first overtly political song about “what I feel society has turned into,” DiNizio explains.

Perhaps the centerpiece of the album is the strangely powerful “If You Want The Sun To Shine,” which DiNizio describes as ” ‘I Am The Walrus’ meets ‘Kashmir’ by Led Zeppelin.” Interestingly, it’s the first song ’70s metal-fan DiNizio has co-written with a non-Smithereen: Julian Lennon. “Julian is the heir to the musical sensibility of his father,” says DiNizio. “I think his forte is pop and I hope that’s what I brought out of him on that particular song.”

Blow Up’s striking cover design is by famed movie poster/title sequence artist Saul Bass (“Vertigo,” “West Side Story,” “North by Northwest,” “Psycho”); devout film fans, the Smithereens convinced Bass that Blow Up should be his very first album cover. Blow Up was produced in Los Angeles by Ed Stasium.

“It’s an eclectic album in that it showcases every one of our musical influences. With ‘Too Much Passion,’ it was Motown, and in particular, Smokey Robinson. Then you had rockers like ‘Top of the Pops’ and the ballads like ‘Evening Dress’. It was the ultimate pop sampler.” -Pat DiNizio