A Track-by-Track Review 25 Years In The Blind
Friday marked the 25th anniversary of the release of one of the seminal debut albums of the modern alternative rock era. Third Eye Blind’s self-titled slowly became a huge success within a year of its release in April 1997, eventually charting for 106 weeks led by 5 singles that became classics of late 90s music.
In honor of the anniversary, and the fact that 25 years later 3eb is still a consistent touring band that’s now gone on to release 7 total full studio albums, here’s a track-by-track retrospective review of their most iconic album.
#1 Losing a Whole Year
Pick a better song to lead off the intention of the sound and message Third Eye Blind had developed for this album. Immediately the angst, regret, and anguish that permeates the majority of the LP is apparent. Yet “Losing a Whole Year” is still full of raw energy, however also impeccably mixed.
One of the more bizarre conditions to write a song about, this ones a true banger. I suppose Stephen Jenkins intention was to write a song that could keep any narcoleptic awake.
As an aside, this is still funny, although I guess also sad?…
#3 Semi-Charmed Life
The best song ever to “drop a line” about doing crystal meth, Semi-Charmed Life is probably the biggest song Third Eye Blind ever made. Somehow they made a radio hit singing about “going down,” doing “bumps,” “crystal meth,” etc., etc. The charm so to speak of this song and why it became somehow such a mainstream hit, is that if you don’t listen carefully enough to the lyrics it’s a fun, upbeat song to rock out to and the pseudo-white guy-rapping style of the lyrics is emblematic of the influences of the time, as well as influential in its own right for many artists in the future (see nearly the entirety of Twenty One Pilots discography).
From meth to suicide. The album just keeps getting better. Honestly still an awesome song 25 years later. Like “Semi-Charmed” it’s a dark song lyrically, but keeps up with the rest of the albums energy and passion.
Also probably the only good scene from the Jim Carrey vehicle Yes Man:
This song overflows with teen angst. Absolutely bangs, underrated one of my favorites off the entire album.
#6 How’s It Going to Be
I love this song at this part of the track listing. Post “Graduate” we start to mellow out a little bit. Big part of putting together an album track list is the ebb and flow of energy to keep the album well-balanced. More of an introspective song that still ties together the theme of the album “How’s It Going To Be” rewards your patience as it builds to another killer finish. It’s an excellent example of bridging the front-end of an album filled with radio-hit level singles to a more nuanced and interesting back-end of deeper cuts.
#7 Thanks A Lot
Despite the barrage of absurdly good songs in the first 6 tracks off this album, the back half does not drop off at all in terms of quality. A lot less mainstream hits here, but “Thanks A Lot” gives us a great example of a really underrated track that still fits in so well with the rest of the album. Easily could have been a single itself.
#8 Burning Man
This song has a little more of a groove to it, a little less obvious angst outside the chorus, but no less power. It’s about this time in the album you really have to ask “who hurt Stephen Jenkins?” I mean there’s a lot here for a guy who was like in his 20s when these songs were written.
#9 Good For You
Maybe not the best song off the album, but if I were trying to explain the style and feeling of Third Eye Blind just as a band in general, you’d be hard pressed to find a better example. Take this song to a distant foreign country, and if your audience likes it, they’re going to like Third Eye Blind.
If for whatever reason you find yourself in a situation where you just really don’t want to go to London, this is your anthem.
#11 I Want You
Just one of those weird things you find patterns in. If a song is titled “I Want You” or something similar, it’s automatically a good song. Don’t ask me why (or even for other examples) but just anecdotally I feel like this is a true statement. I honestly love this song. There’s a little more groove here, it’s more of a love song than the rest of the album which is mostly one giant hate song. Little bit of that rhythmic west coast white guy rapping kind of stuff here again. Dig it. Have no idea what “send me all your vampires” means.
#12 The Background
I’ll be completely honest, listening to this album all the way through again in order to write this, I forgot this song existed. And that’s kind of shame, because I’ve actually really grown to like it. On it’s own it’s a more stripped and lowkey song, maybe the name is very apt in that respect. But like a great song, there’s just something there that you feel.
#13 Motorcycle Drive By
If I were to give my favorite song off this album, the obvious choice from my reflection would be “Semi-Charmed Life,” “Graduate,” or probably “Losing a Whole Year.” The songs I’ve listened to the most, loved the longest, and are the go-to’s for casual listening or building a weekend playlist. But if I really look at the entire album, I honestly might just pick “Motorcycle Drive By” as my all-time favorite Third Eye Blind song period. I don’t think that’s an unpopular opinion either so I’m not just trying to be cool.
It’s just an honest song, and at different points in my life when I’ve listened to it, it’s meant different, important things to me. No matter where I’m at or how I’m feeling, I seem to just “get it” when listening to this song. It’s sad, nostalgic, melancholy, all sorts of different emotions. To say I just “get it” whenever I hear it, to me, is the pinnacle of songwriting and music as an art form. It’s difficult to describe, but when you hear something that means a lot to you, it just makes sense. That’s “Motorcycle Drive By” to me.
#14 God of Wine
Perhaps you could call this song the slightly less attractive fraternal twin to “Motorcycle Drive By” because it fits so well with the previous track to finish off this album.
Do yourself a favor and listen to this album all the way through in honor of the anniversary, and maybe just all the time as much as possible, because it’s just that much of a classic. I can promise it won’t disappoint.
You can catch Third Eye Blind on tour this summer celebrating 25 years. Follow here: https://www.thirdeyeblind.com/tour