If you are old enough, then you remember Semisonic, the Minneapolis alt-rock trio best known for the immortal 1998 ballad “Closing Time.” If you’re not, then you have, at the very least, encountered “Closing Time” in the wild, possibly while drunk at some bar’s last call. Semisonic went dormant in 2001, shortly after bricking with third album All About Chemistry, and drummer Jacob Slichter detailed his short and surreal journey through the music business in his 2004 memoir So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star. But Semisonic reunited in 2017, and they released a 20th-anniversary reissue of their 1998 album Feeling Strangely Fine (including the original “Closing Time” demo) last year. They’re now getting ready to come out with their first album in 18 years, and you can blame Liam Gallagher for that.
After the breakup of Semisonic, frontman Dan Wilson has released a bunch of solo albums and found work as an in-demand pop songwriter, working with artists like Taylor Swift, the Dixie Chicks, Weezer, and John Legend. He co-wrote Adele’s “Someone Like You,” which is a hell of a song to have co-written. That whole time, he was also trying to write Semisonic songs, but it wasn’t happening. Speaking to the Star-Tribune, Wilson explains:
For a long time, I just couldn’t think up songs that sounded like Semisonic to me. It was not for lack of desire. I’ve had this long ritual where a couple times a year I would sit down with an electric guitar and see if I could write a Semisonic song. And it just really eluded me for a long time.
But in his capacity as a pop songwriter, Wilson sat down in 2017 with fellow ’90s veteran Liam Gallagher. And while he and Gallagher didn’t end up collaborating, he did find himself writing a bunch of songs that sounded, to him, like Semisonic songs:
I admire him so much, and we had a really nice talk… I set out to write some Liam Gallagher songs, but I totally accidentally wrote some Semisonic songs instead… Something about it just put me in the right mood. It opened the door. It was like, “Oh yeah, now I remember how to do this.”
Semisonic are still ironing out the details of the album’s release, and it’ll probably come out next year. Read our Tracking Down interview with Wilson here.