Third Eye Blind
Ursa Major


3.5
great

Review

by Mike Allen USER (107 Reviews)
October 26th, 2009 | 6 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “Ursa Major” is an album that Third Eye Blind fans have mixed feelings about, and is a record that overall is very good, but doesn’t compare to their earlier work.

After waiting six years after “Out of the Vein” for a new Third Eye Blind album, it was easy to be skeptical about this new release. The first two releases, “Self-Titled” and “Blue” were gems, and were most largely responsible for the band’s fan base. The following release “Out of the Vein,” was another solid album from Third Eye Blind, but was less than they were capable of. Throughout those six years, it appeared that Third Eye Blind may be done. “Ursa Major” was rumored to be coming out in 2007, but was delayed until 2009. When the album finally did come out this year, the question was, could Third Eye Blind recreate the sound that made them so successful in the late 90s?

“Ursa Major” is the first half of a two-disc record; the second half “Ursa Minor” will be released at a later date. After listening to the first four tracks of “Ursa Major,” I found myself asking, “Could this be as good as Self-Titled?” The record starts off with a bang, with typical opener Can You Take Me, and upbeat single Don’t Believe a Word. The following two tracks, Bonfire and Sharp Knife utilize the mid-tempo style that was so apparent in “Out of the Vein.” These opening songs show flashes of classic Third Eye Blind, and give the band the best start since “Blue.” Following Sharp Knife however, is where the record experiences a severe drop in quality. One in Ten is possibly the weakest track that Third Eye Blind has written; it is a slow paced, piano driven piece that neither impresses nor hooks the listener. Summer Town is a bouncy track that has a catchy chorus. The song is really spoiled however, by mediocre verses and an extended outro that seems a bit out of place. Why Can’t You Be may likely be the highlight of the second half of the record, and while it is good, doesn’t really have the continuous playability that some of the other tracks have. Even Water Landing has potential, with a nice acoustic intro and upbeat chorus, but really doesn’t amount to anything.

The highlights of “Ursa Major” however, are not to go unmentioned. Can You Take Me is a return to “Self Titled” form, Jenkins’ lines are catchy as ever, “You said, Right here and right now is all that we're livin' for.” The track is one of the better debut tracks that the band has written and is really just a fun listen. The up-tempo style is successfully applied to single Don’t Believe a Word, which is highlighted by sheer energy by Jenkins. Bonfire may be the best track the band has written this decade, the acoustic riff is complemented beautifully by Jenkins’ opening lines, “A little early in spring, a bonfire ring, she's shivering alone. I bumped into you somehow.” The emotion of the track is truly incredible, and especially apparent in the final minute. Bonfire however, does not separate itself from the rest of the album because of gem Sharp Knife. Jenkins’ heartbroken lyrics are a highlight in Sharp Knife; “Time tick tick ticks after me, my mp3 is out of juice, I wrote a song for you but what's the use, how did we get knocked so loose, knocked so loose.” Emotion here is also powerful, and again is one of the better songs in the band’s prestigious catalogue.

“Ursa Major” is an album that Third Eye Blind fans have mixed feelings about, and is a record that overall is very good, but doesn’t compare to their earlier work. There are flashes of brilliance here, especially in Bonfire and Sharp Knife, but most of the rest appears to be lacking whatever it was that made “Self-Titled” and “Blue” so good. This record however, gives Third Eye Blind fans hope that they could one day release a record as good as the first two.

Recommended Tracks:
Can You Take Me
Don’t Believe a Word
Bonfire
Sharp Knife
About to Break



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user ratings (142)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Eric (2.5)
Don't go into this expecting an album full of riches like "Semi-Charmed Life" or "How's It Gonna Be?...

Vegeta of Nazareth (3)
A vital sign that stays true, but ranks below the best of Third Eye Blind's ability....


Comments:Add a Comment 
EVedder27
October 26th 2009


6088 Comments


Don't know if this will add anything to the other reviews here, but this completes the discography for the studio albums. May do the greatest hits compilation if theres interest.

Romulus
October 26th 2009


8441 Comments


Nice review, and I enjoyed the disco. I feel kind of awkward having rated this the lowest out of everyone on Sputnik...

SeaAnemone
October 26th 2009


20527 Comments


don't worry romgsom, I wrote a review closer to what you rated it, and truthfully it coulda gone down a little.

Digging: Pharmakon - Bestial Burden

EVedder27
October 26th 2009


6088 Comments


I do understand the low ratings for this album, I mean it definitely doesn't compare to the others beside Out of the Vein. I just think there are too many good tracks for it to be lower than 3.5.

Knott-
Emeritus
October 27th 2009


10198 Comments


summaries with the word 'good' in them put me off

review is good though, pos

EVedder27
October 27th 2009


6088 Comments


Thanks, I'll try to avoid 'good' in my next review.



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