- Released: September 7, 2009
- Label: Yep Roc Records
Spin - p.86
"[Schneider is] a Beach Boys geek with a great ear and flair for crunchy-sweet hooks; summery bliss abounds..."
Q (Magazine) - p.1363 stars out of 5
-- "Buzzing with hooks and invention, #1 HITS EXPLOSION channels the cream of their six albums..."
Pitchfork (Website) - "This best-of spanning the six albums they've made in the last decade and a half is their most straightforward record...just Schneider's better hooks lined up end-to-end, plus a couple of showcases for now-departed drummer Hilarie Sidney."
Clash (magazine) - "This greatest hits set is culled from nearly twenty years of activity....A fine introduction to the band."
- 4.Tidal Wave - (Radio Remix, remix)
- 6.The Rainbow
- 7.Seems So
- 8.Same Old Drag
- 9.The Bird That You Can't See
- 10.Shine a Light
- 11.20 Cases Suggestive Of...
- 13.Signal in the Sky (Let's Go)
- 14.Can You Feel It?
- 15.Winter Must Be Cold
- 16.Sun Is Out
Personnel: Robert Schneider (vocals, guitar); Hilarie Sidney (vocals, drums); Tammy Ealom (vocals); Bill Doss (acoustic guitar, cowbells, background vocals); Merisa Bissinger (flute, piccolo, alto saxophone, trumpet); Jon Hegel (tenor saxophone); Rick Benjamin (trombone); Chris McDuffie (piano, organ, synthesizer, background vocals); Mark Mothersbaugh (synthesizer); John Hill & the Retreds, Dan Efram, John R. Ferguson, John Dufilho (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Mike Deming; Robert Schneider; Bryce Goggin.
Audio Remasterer: Fred Kevorkian.
Audio Remixers: Rich Costi; Robert Schneider.
Liner Note Author: Jeff Kuykendall.
Photographers: Joshua Kessler; Richard Peterson; Tammy Ealom.
If the Apples in Stereo had only made Fun Trick Noisemaker and then quit, their legacy as a legendary pop group would have been secure. In 1995, nobody else was making records as giddy or as full of wonder as the Apples, and definitely no one was making records as exquisitely arranged and magical on a shoestring budget. The release of Fun Trick was a defining moment in indie rock that came pretty close to being a lo-fi pop masterpiece, and still sounds just as amazing. That the Apples couldn't top it is no cause for shame on their part; that they kept trying and ended up creating a catalog as rich in great songs and records is cause for celebration. The cheekily titled #1 Hits Explosion is just the kind of career-summing package the band deserves and it makes clear just how wonderful a band it is. Gathering songs in roughly equal numbers from all six of their studio albums (and adding the infectious rocker "Signal in the Sky [Let's Go]" that they recorded for The Powerpuff Girls' Heroes & Villains soundtrack), the collection focuses mostly on the ultra-hooky, power pop-influenced side of the band. Starting with the booming rocker "Energy" from their most recent record, New Magnetic Wonder, the songs fly past like gooey sticks of bubblegum, glowing and shimmering like the finest pop music of the '60s and '70s. "The Rainbow," "Go," "Shine a Light," and "Ruby" (just to pick four) could have easily been hits in 1967 given the right circumstances, "Shine a Light" sounds like a low-budget ELO, and there's absolutely no reason "Signal in the Sky" wasn't topping the charts in 2000. Only "Strawberry Fire" and "20 Cases Suggestive Of..." hint at the trippy, hazily psychedelic side of the group, but even then the hooks in the choruses are strong enough that you could hang a cement overcoat from them with no problem. The possible flaw with the collection is that -- as is the case with any such album -- one of your favorite tracks might be missing ("Glowworm" from Fun Trick, for example). Otherwise, it works as both an excellent overview of the band's career and as a document of some of the finest pop music of the alt-rock era (and maybe of ever). ~ Tim Sendra