By Kate VonderPorten
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday Feb. 5, 2002
Monkeys are a recurrent theme in Richmond, Va.-based Cracker's fifth studio album, Forever.
"Guarded by Monkeys" is the title of a song on Forever as well as a motif that appears Where's-Waldo style throughout the album, which is in both Spanish and English. The reasoning behind this is not clear, but such is Cracker.
Mixing eccentric and anti-formulaic lyrics and styling, Cracker has been able to avoid the common pitfalls involved in creating an album after major mainstream success - namely, selling out. Think of what happened to Toad the Wet Sprocket, among others.
Cracker stands out as a band that has tried to maintain its artistic integrity - despite widespread critical success of albums such as the platinum Kerosene Hat - by creating work according to a specific creed. (Actually, the group is probably pretty anti-Creed.)
The group does, however, manage to shamelessly rip off Tom Petty. The song "One Fine Day" wanders only very slightly from Petty's baseline, guitar and drums on "Mary Jane's Last Dance." This is slightly forgivable, as copying is a direct form of flattery.
Despite critical success, Cracker is still creating work solely for itself and according to its own unique artistic sensibility.
Singer/guitarist David Lowry said it best in the band's press release:
"I've never really believed that you have to dumb it down in order to be popular. The kindest thing to do is to trust the audience, to trust that there are other people out there who'll feel the same way."
Additionally, and maybe best of all, the album photography was shot in the retrolicious Shady Dell Airstream motel in Bisbee.