Friday Mixtape: Third Eye Blind

Third Eye Blind. Photo: Jacked from the Princeton Lawnparties site. Thank you, mates.

IT’S FRIDAY!!!!

That means it’s time for the Friday Mixtape. There is no tape and no mix, just 3 tracks from a single artist. Hope this skates you into the weekend! Today I bring you:

Third Eye Blind

Who They Are: 4-piece rock band from San Francisco. Best known for their heart-stomping “Do-do-do, do-do-do-doodoo” hit “Semi-Charmed Life” in none other than ’97, one of the best years for music.

Stephan Jenkins – frontman: lead vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion, keyboards, drums
Brad Hargreaves – drums, percussion, piano, backing vocals
Kryz Reid
– lead guitar, backing vocals (2010–present)
Jon Pancoast
– bassist, backing vocals (2012–present)

Why I Love Them (and Why You Should Too): After singing along to every one of their songs on the radio, the first time I heard Third Eye Blind’s eponymous debut, I couldn’t get through it. Years later, I still don’t know what happened. It’s become a staple—no other song explodes into summer quite like “Semi-Charmed Life” with its notoriously joyous references to meth, sex; meth-induced sex. When that song blasted out of every car window the summer of ’97, the lyrics would get a little jumbled (you know the part I’m talking about) and it wasn’t until I was in college that I realized the explicit drug reference. No matter: four more singles made their way to the charts my freshman year of high school, showcasing a now-unheard-of fourteen—(fourteen!)—track album that is still one of the best debuts of all time. While the band’s had its share of difficulty and controversy (the firing of co-songwriter and lead guitarist Kevin Cadogan in 2000; the departure of founding bassist Arion Salazar in 2006; the firing of Cadogan’s replacement Tony Fredianelli in 2010; the implosion of Elektra Records; and the cancellation of a live DVD and CD in 2008), they have continued to release outstanding music. And of course, the last 3 tracks on 3eb’s self-titled are some of the best I’ve ever heard; I’ve even used them to teach metaphor and imagery to high schoolers.

Check it:

 “Bonfire”:

I woke with this song in my head Wednesday morning; it emerges during times of change. While I’m not crazy about the video’s objectification of women starting at 0:32—(um, okay Asian chick, just wear a bra and denim jacket with no top)—the song’s beautiful. For an earnest (if uneven) live version, go here, where Stephan Jenkins celebrates a fellow female musician.

 “Blinded (When I See You)”:

One of the singles off their third album, Out of the Vein (2003), this is a contender for any of the songs off their first. Heartbreaking:

Favorite lyric: “Icarus is not a t-shirt or a swan song, no.”

“London”:

I love that British-based retail chain HMV sponsored this performance:

Besides the rockin’ good beat, this anthem about that crazy girl you hate to love is a great example of musical storytelling: Listeners follow the plot, get exposition via the chorus, and a punchy first-person perspective from the refrain “I wanna get my hands on him!”

While their official site’s a little lame, their fans, (who remain dedicated despite the band’s near-disappearance from the airwaves) maintain good info here and here. If you’re diggin’ it, check ’em out on tour right now! Bon weekend!

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