Published May 31, 2019This year marks the 25th anniversary of Superchunk's beloved 1994 album Foolish, and to celebrate, the band have recreated the entire LP as a full-on acoustic record. And they roped in some notable guests to make it all happen
Acoustic Foolish features Owen Pallett, who arranged, performed and recorded strings for the album reworking. The record also finds Superchunk enlisting Swearin' member Allison Crutchfield, Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner, Mountain Goats' Matt Douglas and dB's player Peter Holsapple.
There's also some rather amazing new artwork for Acoustic Foolish from Superchunk's own Laura Ballance.
Down below, you can dive into all of Acoustic Foolish, which is followed by a message from Superchunk leader Mac McCaughan explaining how the project came to be. At this point, it doesn't appear Acoustic Foolish is set for a physical release, but you can buy the album digitally on Bandcamp.
Mac McCaughan on the making of Acoustic Foolish:
Our original idea for an all-acoustic album was for it to be a selection of songs from all our albums, played in the style of an acoustic performance in a record store or a radio station, which we have done quite a bit of over the years (and documented on the first of our "Clambake" series in 2001).
But with 2019 being the 25th anniversary of the Foolish album, it seemed weirder and more interesting to record an acoustic version of one whole album. I didn't want this to sound like "acoustic demos recorded 25 years after the fact" or a band trying to "rock out" except on acoustic guitars, though to be fair we do some rocking out. Once we got into the process of learning how to play the songs on acoustic guitars — some of which we had never performed at all — it made sense to make this record its own thing altogether.
When Foolish came out, people kind of freaked out that all the guitar sounds weren't as distorted as they had been, and it was treated as a radical departure from what we had been doing. Which is funny listening to the original album now because it pretty much sounds like our other records. But I started thinking about the acoustic version of the album as "what Foolish would have sounded like if it were as different as people acted like it was." So — we have guests, we have strings, we have piano, we have a saxophone!
The songs themselves, extracted from the drama of the moment and what people wanted to write about then, are more applicable to Real Life than I thought they would be. Without the embarrassing angst of the 25-year-old, they are just songs about transitions, holding grudges or trying not to, letting go of things that aren't healthy, moving through difficult situations and relationships and trying to be "normal" in the course of all that, even though there's no such thing.
We are lucky to have Allison Crutchfield, Matt Douglas, Peter Holsapple, Owen Pallett, and Jenn Wasner lend their great talents to the record and also lucky that Jon has an arsenal of small bells and a vibraslap.