BEFORE I'D EVER EVEN heard a lick of Jeremy Enigk's high-pitched wail of a voice, I was already a hater. I missed out on the Sunny Day Real Estate buzz in the mid-'90s, due to youth and a regrettable propensity for, ahem, ska music. When the band split in 1995 (amid internal problems rumored to be due to Enigk's abrupt conversion to hardcore Christianity), I turned up my Mighty Mighty Bosstones tape and barely noticed.
Enigk's first solo venture, Return of the Frog Queen, hit the stands in 1996 and made nary a dent in my burgeoning musical life. The concept of a whiny Jesus-lover with a guitar and a suitcase full of love songs did nothing for me. I clutched tight to my completely unqualified opinion and didn't think of Jeremy Enigk for the next 10 years.
It was only with the release of Enigk's second solo album, World Waits, that I finally recognized my egregious error in pigeonholing the singer as the worst kind of modern emo pussy. "A New Beginning," the first song on the album, washed away the glaring preconceptions I once held for Enigk. Gone are the worries of weepy guitar twanging, replaced with a mounting crescendo of sweeping orchestral force. It is lush and layered, and even without Enigk's telltale voice, sets the mood for the rest of the album.
What follows is an eclectic, even challenging take on the whole "solo artist" schtick. World Waits is an album of fully realized compositions that use multi-layered orchestration to place Enigk's mellifluous keen at front and center.
Though Enigk's second outing is at times hampered by sappy, overwrought lyrics and the often grating quality of his more falsetto moments, World Waits is far removed from my youthfully bitter recollections. I can look back now with a certain level of regret for my terrible music tastes and my glaring oversight of such a talented artist. Jeremy Enigk, I am a hater no more.