Released April 8, 1997, Elektra
Do I feel super cool with this as my first music review? Not so much, but as this is what’s been in and out of the CD player for the last couple of weeks, I figured it would at least be an authentic choice. My goal with this blog is to not try to pick music that would make other people think I have great (or at least interesting) taste. This is all about honesty… so here it goes.
Originally I thought that to be really serious about this project I should outline some methodology. I’d have to approach this process with inordinate organization, logic, and educated analysis… that was last month.
So, I sit here thinking about this album and what comes to my mind? Pictures of places, fragments of who I was, snapshots of things that happened, wrenching breezes carrying things I wanted to say, words that hit the deep places. “All this from Third Eye Blind?” you might ask.
I was 17, ripe in the throws of teenage rebellion, deception, and lawlessness when the self title album was released. It becomes apparent that certain music has become knitted to your life when it flexes and flows with your journey. This collection speaks to that period of my life more than I knew the first time I listened to it. I bought the CD for Semi-Charmed Life. Everyone knew it. I vaguely recall a bit of scandal surrounding the garbling of the words “cyrstal meth” when airing the song on the radio. Funny that I usually skip past this track these days.
I took Graduate quite literally when yearning for graduation from high school then again from college. Now as I listen it speaks to me graduating, if you will, from my 20’s and wondering if and when I’ll ever be someone… ever reach a next step.
Jumper hits closer to the hurt… I survived a reckless time earlier in my life (note the use of the word “survived”) but a few I loved weren’t so lucky. There are times I sings this to the lost and cry… sometimes I scream it… I beg. In a way, it’s a letter to those few I didn’t get to say goodbye to, who left too quickly, who destroyed themselves. Through the last several years, I’ve known new people to devote this song to… one in particular I didn’t know was on the edge until it was too late. There are two friends on my mind right now that haven’t quite reached the edge but are playing a balancing act that could send them teetering too close at any moment. The lyric “I wish you would step back from the ledge my friend” resonates hard. Maybe that’s why this CD has made it to the top of the stack of late.
Something about Motorcycle Drive By always washed over me in a sentimental melancholic way but it wasn’t until college that I met the person that, for me, this song was about. It became about loving someone, but someone who could never fit. It’s a bittersweet acknowledgment of a love not reciprocated in the same way and the acceptance of the differences that make a relationship impossible. This song brings about clear memories of when this realization was becoming clear in my situation. The way the song ends sums up the essence of the whole feeling, “I go home to the coast, it starts to rain, I paddle out on the water… alone. I taste the salt. I taste the pain. I’m not thinking of you again. The summer dies, the swells rise. The sun goes down in my eyes. I see this rolling wave darkly coming to take me home. And I’ve never been so alone, and I’ve never been so alive.” I see my self driving over the Eau Gallie causeway, dead-ending at the beach, walking down the boardwalk, into the sand, into the ocean, smelling the salt… and being okay again.
Overall, this album reminds me of where I’ve come from, and where I am now. I’ve never been so alive…
All that is to say that in my assessment, this one is a keeper.
Cusack Music Theory rating… 4 out of 5
Lyrics courtesy of seeklyrics.com