A basement concert, from left to right: Munson, Wilson, and Slichter
|Origin||Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States|
|Genres||Alternative rock, post-grunge, power pop|
Semisonic is an American alternative rock band formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1995. The band has three members: Dan Wilson (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), John Munson (bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, guitar), and Jacob Slichter (drums, percussion, keyboards, backing vocals). They are best known for their 1998 single "Closing Time".
After the breakup of Trip Shakespeare, Dan Wilson and John Munson joined up with drummer Jacob Slichter to form Semisonic in 1995. An EP, Pleasure, was released that year on Boston indie label CherryDisc, and the studio full-length Great Divide in 1996 on MCA.
Semisonic's breakthrough came two years later in 1998 when their second album, Feeling Strangely Fine, reached the Top 50 chart on the strength of the hit single "Closing Time," their biggest hit in the United States. In a 2008 performance at Harvard's Sanders Theatre, Wilson made it known that it was originally written about the birth of his first child.
Their international career also blossomed when another song from the album, "Secret Smile," quickly became a UK radio favorite in the summer of 1999, eventually peaking at No. 13 on the UK Singles Chart.
In early 2001, the band released its third album, All About Chemistry, The single "Chemistry" was a mainstay overseas; however, the album did not fare as well in the United States. Another song, "Over My Head," was used in the 2001 teen flick Summer Catch, and Semisonic rode the wave of various tours in and around the UK.
Wilson has spoken of doing more Semisonic music in the future but said, "The busy day-to-day life keeps pushing it further into the future." All About Chemistry remains their last studio album.
The band reunited for a series of two shows on June 14, 2017 in St. Paul and June 16, 2017 in Minneapolis for the first time in nearly five years. The St. Paul show at a smaller venue served as a live rehearsal for the Minneapolis show at famed Minneapolis club First Avenue. The band followed similar set lists for the shows, playing the album Great Divide in its entirety with a few additional songs, including a live debut of the Wilson-penned "Basement Tapes". Semisonic played together again in December 2017 with a similar combination of St. Paul and Minneapolis shows, but added a second show at First Avenue. The set list for these shows was the Feeling Strangely Fine track list with some supplemental songs including live debuts of two songs.
In 2018, Feeling Strangely Fine was given a rerelease for the album's twentieth anniversary, including its first vinyl pressing.
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|"Down in Flames"||1996||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||Great Divide|
|"Closing Time"||1998||--||1||13||--||2||48||50||25||Feeling Strangely Fine|
|"Singing in My Sleep"||--||11||31||--||--||--||--||39|
|"Chemistry"||2001||--||39||--||--||--||39||21||35||All About Chemistry|
|"--" denotes releases that did not chart|
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Wilson took time out to do some solo projects and play tour dates around the Midwest in December. Munson joined Wilson's brother and former Trip Shakespeare frontman Matt Wilson to form a side project, The Flops, in 2001, though they were expected to make a final performance in early 2005. In 2009, John Munson and Matt Wilson reunited to form a new band The Twilight Hours. Since forming they have released an album, Stereo Night, and have been touring.
In 2004, Slichter's book So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star (ISBN 0-7679-1470-8) was published, detailing some of the experiences the group had while touring and attempting to get airplay on radio stations across the US.
On October 16, 2007, Rick Rubin's label American Recordings released Wilson's solo album, Free Life, featuring collaborations with numerous artists including Munson and Slichter. The song "Cry" was the album's single.