The Apples in Stereo – Electronic Projects for Musicians

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist (part 3)

So I own four albums by the Apples – the first time we’ve hit this number in this project. That said, this and the next one are not proper studio albums, and I am pretty sure the Apples are no more, as Robert Schneider is now a math professor or something (he obtained his PhD in mathematics from Emory in 2018). Is it weird that I have two studio albums and then two collections? I don’t think so (obviously). The Apples were pretty inconsistent in the early years and made some confounding choices throughout their career (e.g., all the interludes on Her Wallpaper Reverie; the extreme ELO pastiche of Travellers in Space and Time). They were just sort of unpredictable and inconsistent. I am pretty sure I like this outtakes collection better than the greatest hits collection, which underscores my argument. Or maybe it just tells you something about me.

What I Think of This Album

This is a “rarities and outtakes” (or, if you’re a Who fan, an “odds-and-sods”) collection that coheres better than it should, considering that it spans ten years. It arguably says something about either Schneider’s abundance or his lack of editorial skill that so many of these tracks languished in obscurity in place of some of the tracks that made their way onto the proper albums.

The sighing “Shine (In Your Mind)” is excellent and in no way should have been relegated to a bonus track on the Japanese version of the debut. “Onto Something,” with its breakbeat foundation, is another standout (part of a splint single with Swiss band Sportsguitar, whom you’ll read about in maybe three years, at the pace this project is going); a charming little love song. “Man You Gotta Get Up” is all about the distorted guitar that livens up the sleepy song during the effervescent choruses; the gothic organ part is pretty hilarious.

“Hold On to This Day” is surprisingly stripped down and sober, with Schneider singing sadly about a departing loved one over an acoustic guitar. “On Your Own” is a stomping, quasi-glam rocker. “Other” is pleasant enough but surprises with a guitar workout at the end. Even the filler is enjoyable: “Stephen Stephen” is a jaunty little throwaway no one will understand in ten years, and “The Apples in Stereo Theme” is an alternate universe intro to a Monkees-like tv show set in a Denver loft, while “Avril en Mai” is a gauzy little offering. Not remotely filler is closer “Dreams,” which is downright beautiful, with a lush arrangement with keyboard, mellotron, and bells.

The Best Thing About This Album

Look, “Dreams” is hands-down the best thing on here, closely followed by “Shine (In Your Mind).” I’m not going to argue. But the song I want to hear off this album is “Onto Something.”

Release Date

April, 2008

The Cover Art

It’s not bad, actually, but not good. The abstract art is neither inviting nor offputting. I like the color scheme and how the band name and album title flow across the top.

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