Everyone has a band that takes them to a place where no other band can. For me, Mazzy Star is that band. While The Doors remain my overall favourite band of all time, Mazzy Star came into my life at a turning point for me; picture an awkward and out of touch ninth grader still figuring out how people work and needing a release; a trip to somewhere I’ve never seen before. Mazzy Star came to through pure chance in shuffle on Pandora. The song was their only major U.S hit “Fade Into You”. The instant I heard Hope Sandoval’s dreamy, other-worldly voice and the hazy psychedelic music to go with it, I was hooked. Dear god was I hooked. I bought all their albums on vinyl and added them to my quickly growing collection, and started finding more bands like them.
Well that was in 2011, and little did I know that they were working on a new release; their first since 1996. “Seasons of Your Day” was released on September 24, 2013, and soon after became the band’s most successful album since their infamous “So Tonight That I Might See” back in 1993. It somehow managed to peak at No. 5 on the U.S Independent Albums and No. 8 Top Alternative Albums. It even got to No. 42 on the Billboard 200- the chart for the most popular albums overall. That is amazing, considering this is a band that was on hiatus for close to 20 years. That doesn’t even factor how this music sounds, which, especially during the era of Gangam Style, folky, hazy, psychedelic laced music would not be normal to see on Billboard 200.
We’ll change it up and cover the three singles released for this album, starting with “Common Burn” released two years before the LP dropped. “Common Burn” is one of the most beautiful songs the band has, and can soothe anyone who’s getting a rush of anxiety. The song is a slow acoustic love song in the usual vain of Mazzy Star love songs. The few slide guitar licks from David Roback add a slight bluesy twinge to this otherwise dreamy psychedelic love song. “Common Burn” can be equated to slowly floating down a river of multi colored molasses in no certain time or place. It’s the definition of dreamy and timeless.
“Lay Myself Down” is a bit more upbeat. It’s definitely more country influenced, but not at all in the way you would think. More like Johnny Cash meets Pink Floyd, but sung by a female. Sure, there’s slide guitar, but it maintains a very dreamy atmosphere. Hope’s vocals slide over the perfectly in time rhythm section and creates a very hypnotic feeling, one that is only broken up by the next single, “California”. “California” is an all acoustic song, with some sparse and quiet bongos from their long time drummer Keith Mitchell. The song is actually slightly similar to Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California”, in the way they both describe California as some sort of magical getaway from the rest of the world. Naturally Mazzy Star’s song is much more subdued and psychedelic, of course amplified by Hope’s soulful but whispery vocals.
The final single is the title track itself, “Seasons of Your Day”. Another all acoustic song, with some light chimes and sparse strings from the band’s long time violinist Paul Mitchell. The song slowly glides its way to and fro from moods of melancholy and comfort unlike anything else I have heard. It compliments “Common Burn” perfectly as a slightly more realistic feeling is felt on this track, one more grounded in actuality rather than dreamy fiction.
Naturally, this album is not for everyone. It’s not a party starter, rather, one to put on during a rainy and cold day, to sit back with some candles lit and the curtains closed to escape the reality and enter the stoned world that Mazzy Star takes you to during the album’s duration. “Seasons of Your Day” will drift you off to a better place during its 50 minutes, and luckily for us, they have three other previous albums that do the same. Take a day off and experience this album for yourself.
Until next time, take care.