Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on


I’m thinkin’ about Tonic

Any Tonic fans in the house?

I've been listening to Tonic's second album Sugar a lot this week. It's probably my favorite from the three albums that they've done, (so far?) and I feel like they often got the short end of a stick as a band. Take a look at their three albums, and from where I'm sitting, there ain't a dud in the bunch.

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly 10 years since Sugar was released, and in that time, I've grown to appreciate it as an album more and more. I can recall being a bit disappointed when I first heard it initially, but after additional listens, I really began to understand it. After winning the hearts of soccer moms across multiple radio formats with "If You Could Only See" from the first Tonic album Lemon Parade, one might have expected Tonic to make a ballad-heavy album with album number two.

They did the opposite and made a ROCK record, something that in 1998, was already becoming a bit hard to find. Sugar summed up for me the ups and downs of being in a relationship - The good times, and that feeling that you would go to the ends of the earth to make someone happy, mixed with the bad times.....the "why am I still doing this" times, and even the book of mixed feelings when it's all over. When you talk about albums that "hold up" Sugar is definitely a winner in that category for me. Typically I'm driving while listening to the album, singing along with the various tracks, and I'll ponder for the umpteenth time how I might resequence the album slightly.

It's JUST about right - I love the opening with album opener "Future Says Run," but I've always felt like "You Wanted More" was a bit out of place in the musical flow on Sugar - the album for me picks up with "Knock Down Walls," and is perfect the rest of the way. Take "You Wanted More" out of the equation, and instead imagine the killer one/two punch opening of "Future Says Run" followed by "Knock Down Walls." Suddenly, you've got yourself a perfect 12 track album, and you can leave "You Wanted More" on the American Pie soundtrack.

Yeah, these are the things I think about while I'm driving. I'm weird.

Tonic - Future Says Run

Tonic - Knock Down Walls

I heard the title track this weekend while driving, and thought of "her." Tonic was one of those early bands that we connected on together. "Sugar" was always a great driving song that made me think warm and fuzzy thoughts of her every time that I would hear it. Only this time, we're not together, and haven't been for quite a while. The feelings this time around were thoughts of a few of the many good times we had shared together through the years. We were good together, but in the end, we were better apart. I'm happier, and I assume that she is too.

Cheers to that.

While we're mushing out - my buddy Mel wrote a great post exploring the simple pleasure that is holding hands with someone. But what does that whole hand holding thing mean to you? Check it out and weigh in with your own answer.

And you know what, here's one more thing, since I'm thinking about favorite albums from the 90s - I LOVED Bringing Down The Horse by The Wallflowers. Wore out a couple of cassettes of it before I got a CD player in my car, and like Sugar, Bringing Down The Horse remains one of my favorite CDs to this day. My new pals over at The had a great weekend post about "6th Avenue Heartache" that jogged my memory on a few details, and also clued me in to a couple of things that I didn't know. Must read stuff as a fan, and you can also dig the acoustic version of "6th Avenue Heartache" posted there as well.

Back to Tonic - anybody want to take me as their plus one to see Tonic on The Rock Boat in January? Man, I would LOVE to see Tonic's been so long!

Come on baby get your shoes on
You're looking like you need a rescue
Underneath the southern moonlight
Where only I can find you
We can do it with our eyes closed
We can sit and talk for hours
Underneath the golden flowers
Where my sunshine grows

Sugar my love
Sugar my burn
Sugar may hide
Sugar may learn

"Sugar" by Tonic from the album Sugar

Tonic - Sugar

Here's a live version from the radio promo single for "Mean to Me." In my dreams, Tonic would release something live from this tour, because this is the only high quality live stuff from Sugar that I've ever found.

Tonic - Sugar (live)

Emerson Hart - Sugar (live)

Relevant Links:

Purchase Sugar from Amazon - CD

Tonic official website

Tonic lead singer Emerson Hart on Myspace

  • Brian

    I was just telling my wife about how much I used to dig Tonic. Nice read!

  • Swapmeet Louie

    Great read! Haven’t thought about Tonic in awhile. Really enjoying your site! It’s great to connect with other music lovers out here on the www. And thanks for linking to our article on 6th Avenue Heartache. Glad you dug it!

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