Perfect from Now On

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Perfect from Now On
Perfect From Now On.jpg
Studio album by Built to Spill
Released January 28, 1997 (1997-01-28)
Genre Indie rock
Length 54:13
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Phil Ek
Built to Spill chronology
There's Nothing Wrong with Love
Perfect from Now On
Keep It Like a Secret
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Alternative Press 5/5 stars[2]
Chicago Tribune 3/4 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly B+[4]
NME 8/10[5]
Pitchfork Media 9.2/10[6]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[8]
Spin 8/10[9]
The Village Voice B+[10]

Perfect from Now On is the third full-length album released by Built to Spill, and the band's first major label (Warner Bros.) release. It was recorded at the Avast! Recording Company in Seattle, Washington by Phil Ek. Stylistically, the album was marked by its experimentation with longer song structures, philosophical lyrics, and the incorporation of cello.

The album was essentially recorded three times. The first time, Martsch attempted to play all the instruments except drums. He and Phil Ek were dissatisfied with the results, so Martsch brought in Nelson and Plouf and recorded the album again. However, these tapes were destroyed by heat when Ek was driving from Seattle to Boise to record additional overdubs. The band rehearsed some more, then recorded the album a third time.

In September 2008, the band embarked on a three-month tour to perform the album in its entirety.[11]

Music, lyrics and instrumentation[edit]

Perfect from Now On displays more "melodic grandeur" than previous Built to Spill albums,[12] is more influenced by psychedelic rock,[13] and addresses attempts to "grasp the infinite" in its lyrics.[14][15] According to a 2008 interview with Martsch, the song's lyrics draw upon a metaphor for eternity, explained to him by a college professor, as the whittling down of a metal sphere ("ten times the size of Jupiter … to the size of a pea") with only a feather.[16]

The album also included new instrumentation and more complex song structures, such as "I Would Hurt a Fly",[17][18] which evolves from "jittery rock to haunting chamber pop" with a cello interlude between.[19] Other songs, such as "Stop the Show", also transition from one song segment to another,[20][21] with instruments from the Mellotron to the acoustic guitar,[14] and without choruses, creating a "sprawling, abstract" effect.[20]

The album's nearly nine-minute closer, "Untrustable / Part 2 (About Someone Else)", is a "series of seamlessly linked songs within a song"[22] a "churning, oceanic ode to the relative nature of the divine"—centered on the repeated "angrily shouted"[17] phrase "And God is whomever you perform for"[14]—before finally "tumbling into a warehouse full of clocks and wind chimes".[7]


Perfect from Now On was released to widespread critical acclaim and is widely regarded as an indie rock masterpiece as well as Built to Spill's magnum opus. ranked this album at #22 on its "Top 100 Albums of the 90s" list. The album, along with 1999's Keep It Like a Secret, is frequently cited as one of the greatest indie rock albums of all time, and has come to influence many modern alternative, rock, and indie acts. [23]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Doug Martsch.

  1. "Randy Described Eternity" – 6:09
  2. "I Would Hurt a Fly" – 6:15
  3. "Stop the Show" – 6:26
  4. "Made-Up Dreams" – 4:52
  5. "Velvet Waltz" – 8:33
  6. "Out of Site" – 5:33
  7. "Kicked It in the Sun" – 7:32
  8. "Untrustable / Part 2 (About Someone Else)" – 8:53



  • Doug Martsch - vocals, guitar, Moogs, bass on "Made-Up Dreams"
  • Brett Nelson - bass, Moog on "Untrustable / Part 2 (About Someone Else)", Optigan on "Kicked In The Sun"
  • Scott Plouf - drums, percussion, piano on "Randy Described Eternity", Moog on "Stop the Show" and "Kicked In The Sun"

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Brett Netson - guitar on "Randy Described Eternity," "I Would Hurt a Fly," "Stop the Show," "Velvet Waltz," and "Out of Site"
  • John McMahon - cello on "I Would Hurt a Fly," "Stop the Show," "Velvet Waltz," "Out of Site," and "Untrustable/Pt. 2 (About Someone Else)"
  • Robert Roth - Mellotron on "Made-Up Dreams," "Velvet Waltz," and "Untrustable/Pt. 2 (About Someone Else)"
  • Peter Lansdowne - drums on "Made-Up Dreams
  • Karena Youtz - "title and some words" on "Velvet Waltz", "Out Of Site", and "Kicked It In The Sun"; backing vocals on "Made-Up Dreams" and "Kicked It in the Sun"


  • Phil Ek - producer, recording, engineer
  • Howie Weinberg - mastering
  • Kip Beelman, Sam Hofstedt - engineer assistant
  • Chris Takino - mixing assistant
  • Tae Won Yu - design, art direction


Rapper Cage's song "Ballad of Worms" sampled "I Would Hurt a Fly". The song appeared on Eastern Conference All-Stars, Vol. 3 and Purple Rain Mix CD Vol. 1


  1. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Perfect from Now On – Built to Spill". AllMusic. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Built to Spill: Perfect from Now On". Alternative Press (105): 65. April 1997. 
  3. ^ Knopper, Steve (January 31, 1997). "Built to Spill: Perfect From Now On (Warner)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 6, 2016. 
  4. ^ Brunner, Rob (January 31, 1997). "Perfect From Now On". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 6, 2016. 
  5. ^ Oldham, James (February 1, 1997). "Built To Spill – Perfect From Now On". NME. Archived from the original on August 17, 2000. Retrieved April 6, 2016. 
  6. ^ Schreiber, Ryan (September 30, 2000). "Built to Spill: Perfect From Now On". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on September 30, 2000. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Kot, Greg (November 9, 1998). "Perfect From Now On". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  8. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 118–19. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  9. ^ Weisbard, Eric (February 1997). "Built to Spill: Perfect From Now On". Spin. 12 (11): 84. Retrieved April 6, 2016. 
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert (May 27, 1997). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  11. ^ Skruck, Jeff (May 20, 2008). "Built to Spill to Play Perfect from Now On This Fall on Tour | Prefix". Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Critical Acclaim; Our Favorite Films and Albums of 1997". The Washington Post. January 2, 1998. 
  13. ^ Jared W. Dillon (May 7, 2006). "Built To Spill - Perfect From Now On". Sputnik. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c Robert Alford (December 12, 2012). "Perfect Twenty Years On: Ranking the Built to Spill Records". PopMatters. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  15. ^ David Shields (September 4–10, 2008). "Perfect Sound Forever". The Stranger. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  16. ^ Marty Garner (February 14, 2008). "Doug Martsch talks about Neil Young, reggae and Built to Spill's potential". Antigravity Magazine. Archived from the original on September 8, 2008. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Neil Strauss (February 2, 1997). "60's-Style Heroics for the 90's". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  18. ^ Chip Copeland (January 22, 2011). "Rewind Listen: Built to Spill – Perfect From Now On". Sock Monkey Sound. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  19. ^ Libra (February 7, 2012). "Built to Spill - Perfect from Now On (1997)". Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  20. ^ a b Brendan Kiley (September 4–10, 2008). "Perfect Sound Forever". The Stranger. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  21. ^ Bill Eichenberger (February 13, 1997). "'Spill' album builds in nice surprises". Columbus Dispatch. 
  22. ^ Kathleen Wilson (September 4–10, 2008). "Perfect Sound Forever". The Stranger. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  23. ^ Morris, William (November 17, 2003). "Staff Lists: Top 100 Albums of the 1990s | Features | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 

External links[edit]