4.01.2011

Friday's End Note: A Bay Area Original - Not Just a One-Hit Wonder

Third Eye Blind

Genre: Alternative

I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend/Cut ties with all the lies that you've been living in/And if you do not want to see me again/I would understaaa-aaaa-aaaand

These lyrics from "Jumper" (sung just as typed, and usually horribly) are the first thing most people think of when they hear the name Third Eye Blind. What an unfortunate mistake.

Along with "Semi-Charmed Life," the first single off their self-titled debut album, this is all a lot of people know or care to know about Third Eye Blind, a band that many dub a 90's one-hit wonder band in the vein of Everclear or Marcy Playground. In reality, they may have been more of a one-album wonder, with their proceeding albums receiving very little mainstream success. Again, I say this is unfortunate. I do so because Third Eye Blind has released some of the most honest work of the last decade and a half. Their lyrics are simple, not cryptic; their music instantly evoking emotion.

The following are what I consider to be the single best songs from each of TEB's four LPs:

"Motorcycle Drive-By" off Third Eye Blind (1997)




This heart-on-your-sleeve account of the crumbling of a relationship and the subsequent bittersweet feelings of lonely freedom crescendo to a catharsis that is unmatched in many so-called "emo" songs of the punk persuasion. The song ends on a quiet, tender note, returning to the sadness that is expressed at the beginning.


"Slow Motion" off Blue (1999)




Originally released in the US as an instrumental track only because of worries about its lyrical content, "Slow Motion" is a searing social satire of the movie-of-the-week treatment given to murderers by the media so readily during the 90's. Some of lead singer, Stephan Jenkins', lyrics can be taken as harsh, but as a work of art, they really make a great point.

"Blinded" off Out of the Vein (2003)




"Blinded" is a song with an absolutely irresistible level of energy. There's nothing overly complicated here musically; it's really one of TEB's poppier songs. But the sentiment in the lyrics is so genuine and speaks to the experience of attempting to operate on a platonic level with a former love in such a unique way that it becomes a standout track.

"Monotov's Private Opera" off Ursa Major (2009)


This track discusses that feeling as we get older of sorting out where we are, how we got there, and what it all means. It also showcases TEB's origin as a San Francisco band. The song has a laid-back, somewhat contemplative vibe to it, capturing the ethereal quality of the Northern California coast that is reflected so pervasively throughout the Bay Area.

-JB

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