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Every Presidents of the United States of America Album Ranked

Finally, it’s time to cover some Presidents worth respecting! Armed with modified guitars and basses that ditched excessive strings, and led by Seattle smile-inducer Chris Ballew, the Presidents proved that grunge could be fun and, dare we say, even played with a grin (and yet nobody at the time thought to coin the term “gringe” or “funge”?! Grunbelievable…) The Presidents hit that almighty musical sweet spot between cool and goofy that rarely descends into novelty (sorry, Dr. Demento, you can’t quite have these guys) And today we’re ranking their studio albums from worst to best. Hail to these chiefs, and only to these chiefs!

6. Freaked Out and Small (2000)

“What’s with all those extra strings clattering around on this one?” you may ask yourself while listening to “Freaked Out and Small”…well, good ears on you, my friend! This is indeed the only Presidents album played with actual guitars and basses (the excess of success had clearly gotten to these fellows!) This means that, good or not, for that reason, we must put it squarely last. C;mon, we just made a huge deal about their modified guitars in the intro paragraph, we you expect us to automatically betray our own writing like that? Shame on you! Sure is a nice looking poodle on the cover, though! That can’t be said for a lot of records, even the harshest critics (us) must admit!

Play It Again: “Jupiter”
Skip It: “Jazz Guy”

5. Kudos to You! (2014)

For a quote-unquote “one-hit wonder” band, these fellas sure did crank out the good time rock ‘n roll straight on to the end of their run. In their final(?) full length, PotUSA takes the listener on a sonic ride that would be toward the top of this list if the rest of their output didn’t rule that much harder. If you’re down to clown around with these boys, then you’re in for a good time no matter what. On “Rooftops In Spain”, the band sounds like Dwayne’s group Scäb on Home Movies, and on pseudo science-tinged “Flea vs. Mite” gives the impression that they’re auditioning to be the understudies for They Might Be Giants, if the Johns ever came down with the flu.

Play It Again: “Rooftops In Spain”
Skip It: “Crappy Ghost”

4. These Are the Good Times People (2008)

Even though this is the first album without their classic lineup, this album lives up to its title for the most part. “These Are the Good Times” shows the band not letting the constraints of their reliable set-up not get in the way of great songwriting, and they play around with their set sound with new instruments invited to their tea party, like the addition of bold brass on “Sharpen Up Those Fangs” and breezy acoustic guitar on “Bad Times.” The Prezzes here are more akin to a looser, more party-ready version of Fountains of Wayne, and hey, they didn’t even have to write anything about being attracted to their classmate’s mother. On top of everything else, this one has “Loose Balloon,” one of the prettiest things these goofs have ever written.

Play It Again: So Lo So Hi”
Skip It: “Flame is Love”

3. Love Everybody (2004)

PotUSA’s final album with their classic lineup including original “guitbass” player Dave Dederer (an 11-year term, not too shabby for a president!) “Love Everybody” oscillates seamlessly between tongue-in-cheek goofy stuff that would have those Ween boys green with jealousy, and more mainstream pop-punk that sounds like they’re trying to give Blink a run for their money. The Dennis-The-Menace-core “Poke and Destroy” especially dredges up the joy of being an elementary school boy, and is best listened to with a slingshot in your back pocket. This album is notable for some pretty amazing keyboard work that not only calls to mind their ’60s garage rock influences, but the best of Beck or the Beastie Boys.

Play It Again: “Some Postman”
Skip It: “Munky River”

2. Self-Titled (1995)

It’s got “Lump.” It’s got “Peaches.” It’s even got a damn MC5 cover… folks, we’re in good hands here on PotUSA’s debut album. We imagine it certainly slapped a smile or two onto the youth of the country’s sullen grunge-drunk faces. And for that, we salute them a million times over. A whole record full of playful, driving rock that never crosses the line into straight up comedy, enforced by the fact that Weird Al had his way with “Lump” via “Gump.” He wouldn’t parody an already funny song, he’s too smart for that! The man’s got a degree in architecture, for god’s sake!

Play It Again: “Dune Buggy”
Skip It: “Body”

1. II (1996)

The answer to the question “Did they suffer a post-Lump slump?” is a resounding hell no. The Presidents barrel into their sophomore album with a cordial greeting in “Ladies and Gentleman Pt. 1” and then light a stick of dynamite that keeps blasting off until signing off with the exact same song at the end. Pretty baller move, and they pull it off quite convincingly! Songs like “Mach 5” and “Volcano” can’t help but worm their way into your subconscious – a pretty simple thing for a band who’s got so many songs about critters and crawlers, I suppose, but nevertheless: II is #1 in our book!

Play It Again: “Bug City”
Skip It: “L.I.P”