Semisonic was an American alternative rock band formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1995. The band had three members: Dan Wilson (lead vocals, guitar), John Munson (bass guitar, backing vocals, keyboard), and Jacob Slichter (drums, percussion, keyboard). They are perhaps best known for their 1998 single "Closing Time".
Formation and debut album
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.
Breakthrough and international success
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.
Third album and future
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.
- Pleasure (demo) (1993)
- Pleasure EP (1995, EP)
- One Night at First Avenue (2003)
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|"Down In Flames"||1996||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Great Divide|
|"Closing Time"||1998||11||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|
Soundtracks and compilations
- Semisonic performed "Sugar, Sugar" with Mary Lou Lord on the 1995 tribute album Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits, produced by Ralph Sall for MCA Records.
- Semisonic contributed the title song for the 1999 Kevin Costner movie For Love of the Game.
- "Over My Head", a bonus track on some editions of All About Chemistry, was used in the 2001 teen flick Summer Catch.
- "Closing Time" appeared in the 2011 movie Friends with Benefits.
- In the fall of 2001, Semisonic contributed their cover of the Wings song, "Jet", for the Paul McCartney tribute CD Listen to What the Man Said.
- Wilson with Bic Runga contributed "Good Morning Baby" to the American Pie soundtrack in 1999.
- "F.N.T." was featured in the 1996 movie The Long Kiss Goodnight and the 1999 movie 10 Things I Hate About You.
Other projects by members
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.