Mercury (American Music Club album)

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American Music Club - Mercury.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 1993 (1993-03)
RecordedNovember–December 1992
StudioSunset Sound Factory (Hollywood, California)
ProducerMitchell Froom
American Music Club chronology
San Francisco
Singles from Mercury
  1. "Johnny Mathis' Feet"
    Released: 1993 (1993)
  2. "Keep Me Around"
    Released: 1993 (1993)

Mercury is the sixth studio album by American indie rock band American Music Club. It was released in March 1993 on Reprise Records as their major-label debut. Virgin Records released the album in the United Kingdom.

"I've Been a Mess" has remained a staple of the band's concerts to the present day. The album's title comes from a beverage featured in the lyrics of "Challenger."


"Johnny Mathis' Feet" and "Keep Me Around" were released as singles from Mercury. The "Johnny Mathis' Feet" CD had a 10-track bonus live CD; it was recorded at Slim's in San Francisco on June 15, 1993, and is usually called Live at Slim's.

A black-and-white 11-minute promotional VHS tape, generally referred to as "1992 press kit," was issued in advance of the album's release. This contained interviews with each band member, live performances, studio footage, and assorted clips, including of Mark Eitzel riding his bike by the ocean. The band members talk at length about the origins of American Music Club, with two of them commenting on how scary it is to be in the band.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Consumer GuideB−[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[3]
The Philadelphia Inquirer3.5/4 stars[5]
Q4/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[7]
Spin Alternative Record Guide7/10[9]

Spin magazine voted Mercury the 14th best album of 1993.[10]


In a retrospective "On Second Thought" feature for Stylus Magazine, critic Todd Hutlock wrote that "the rock-solid ensemble musicianship and straightforward production... let in just enough light to let Eitzel's darkness contrast but not overwhelm things."[11]

Franz Nicolay of The Hold Steady states that Mercury is one of his biggest musical influences.[12]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Mark Eitzel.

1."Gratitude Walks"4:14
2."If I Had a Hammer"3:36
4."I've Been a Mess"4:24
5."Hollywood 4-5-92"4:12
6."What Godzilla Said to God When His Name Wasn't Found in the Book of Life"3:40
7."Keep Me Around"2:53
8."Dallas, Airports, Bodybags"2:00
9."Apology for an Accident"3:57
10."Over and Done"3:05
11."Johnny Mathis' Feet"3:40
12."The Hopes and Dreams of Heaven's 10,000 Whores"4:20
13."More Hopes and Dreams"1:55
14."Will You Find Me?"4:06


Production notes
  • All songs recorded and mixed at Sunset Sound Factory, Hollywood, November–December 1992, and mastered at Gateway Mastering.


Chart (1993) Peak
UK Albums (OCC)[13] 41


  1. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Mercury – American Music Club". AllMusic. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "American Music Club: Mercury". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 0-312-24560-2. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  4. ^ "American Music Club: Mercury". NME: 31. March 13, 1993.
  5. ^ Moon, Tom (April 4, 1993). "American Music Club: Mercury (Reprise)". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  6. ^ "American Music Club: Mercury". Q (79): 77. April 1993.
  7. ^ O'Connor, Rob (April 15, 1993). "American Music Club: Mercury". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 6, 2007. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  8. ^ Cavanagh, David (April 1993). "American Music Club: Mercury". Select (34): 73.
  9. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  10. ^ Placement on Spin's 1993 list
  11. ^ Hutlock, Todd (July 5, 2005). "American Music Club – Mercury". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on March 29, 2006. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  12. ^ Lindsay, Andrew. "Interview: Franz Nicolay (The Hold Steady)". Archived from the original on March 28, 2009. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  13. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 14, 2018.