American Standard

Seven Mary Three

Almost a one-hit wonder band, Seven Mary Three (7M3) finds commercial success and a platinum record with 1995's American Standard. It succeeds in two ways: the first is that it produced a rock radio hit in Cumbersome. The second is that it's an understated album with a fair share of authenticity.

My My, Seven Mary Three's American Standard shows off some diverse musical chops.

Not the most original band of the 1990s, but not the least by far. Seven Mary Three’s Cumbersome was all over the airwaves in late 1995. Boston’s WAAF was more than happy to oblige listener’s requests of playing Cumbersome, Water’s Edge, and My My. But not much else got played off American Standard. Which is fine.

Frontman Jason Ross rocks a badass handlebar mustache in the Cumbersome video. Check it.

Rating

I give American Standard a 6.510

7M3’s second album is better than I recall years ago.

American Standard (1995), the second studio album by Seven Mary Three

American Standard track listing

  1. Water’s Edge
  2. Cumbersome
  3. Roderigo
  4. Devil Boy
  5. My My
  6. Lame
  7. Headstrong
  8. Anything
  9. Margaret
  10. Punch In Punch Out
  11. Favorite Dog

American Standard notes

Water’s Edge

The original version of Kryptonite by Three Doors Down. And, way better.

Water’s Edge is a great rock tune. I always appreciated the vocal nuance of Jason Ross to go from fluttery concern to sandpaper grit rock. It’s on display immediately on track 1 of American Standard.

And there’s the building feedback of any good 90s pre-chorus.

Fairly steep minute long intro in the Water’s Edge video. Bold.

Cumbersome

The Hit!

Cumbersome is three chord (almost) power rock. It probably paved the way for Nickelback’s commercial success, so that sucks. Oh well.

Any kid growing up in the 90s knows the lyrics, “I have become Cumbersome to this world”

Roderigo

Roderigo’s lyrical content is a lot darker than its music. Being tied, beaten down, all things to be found here.

Musically, Roderigo sounds a lot like Green Apple Quick Step’s TV Girl (Reloaded).

Devil Boy

Jesuits in tanks? Where is this album headed!?

Like any good album in the 90s, the verse chimes along, undistorted.

Then the feedback ratchets up in volume as the drums build toward the chorus. Then Everyone steps on their Boss distortion pedals and we have a chorus.

Is Devil Boy formulaic? Maybe. Still, it makes for decent rock songwriting.

My My

My My breaks down the formula, shifting quickly into reverse, taking a page out of Throwing Copper and A Boy Named Goo’s book by using this technique to strong effect.

It’s a fair comparison to say that Seven Mary Three was influenced by Live. Live singer, Ed Kowalczyk pulled Ross and a buddy up on a stage at a Live concert in Tampa in 1991. Then three years later, they were opening for them in arena tours.

What a world we live in!

Lame

Seven Mary Three cuts the power on track 6, leaving frontman Jason Ross alone to confront feelings of race and belonging. Ross builds the raw power of Lame with only an acoustic guitar and his voice, adding progressively harder strums, and a mounting vocal pressure.

Find a more emotionally expressive song on American Standard. You can’t.

Lame is anything but lame.

Headstrong

Nice 90s drum and bass groove intro. 7M3 gets accused of being a Pearl Jam knockoff, and I can see it a bit on Headstrong, but this song is rather authentic to me.

Love the do-over at the 3:00 minute mark. Casey Daniel’s bass is locked in on Headstrong.

It just wouldn’t be a 90s rock tune without the feedback.

Anything

Southern 90s Alt Rock.

Anything is Seven Mary Three’s answer to the Spin Doctor’s Two Princes, a story about a girl whose Daddy wants her to marry a rich man, and not some long haired singer in a dirty rock & roll band.

Maybe it was about a girl named Margaret?

Margaret

Margaret is not quite a 90s alternative rock song. The guitar and bass remind me of Virginia Coalition, another Virginia band who hit the scene a few years later.

Ultimately a song about a girl who was way too young.

Punch In Punch Out

Punch In Punch Out goes full A Capella. Wow!

Then Giti Khalsa gives us a military march that we didn’t know we needed. I’m half expecting 7M3 to bust into Paul Simon’s Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes.

Really diverse songwriting across American Standard.

Favorite Dog

Discordant country music verse. American country power rock pre-chorus.

And just like that, we are back to the majors. Favorite Dog brings back the Cumbersome guitar palm muting.

Whoa, Favorite Dog picks up the pace right before the two minute mark.

We know Paw’s favorite dog is Jessie. So is 7M3’s favorite dog Geronimo?

Or, is he rambling about leaping into a lake?