Review Summary: The power lies beyond the singles.
Pain. Nostalgia. The raging, vicarious glory of suburban youth. These are all derivative images and themes conjured and supported by Third Eye Blind’s self titled debut album. The familiarity of songs like “Semi-Charmed Life,” “How’s It Going to Be,” and “Jumper” are certain pathways into definitive 90’s alternative rock, but they merely scratch the surface of the masterpiece that lies beneath. On that surface, this album is about fun, linked to its top 40 modern rock genre and radio play status back in the day. Beneath those layers lies something unexpected; utterly awash in “trying to find yourself” angst, and utterly incredible with the way Stephan Jenkins and company bring melodies, themes, and song structures that will absolutely slay anyone with a semblance of a contemplative soul.
“Semi-Charmed Life” may be a brilliant pop-rock song. And it certainly is that. But the experience of Third Eye Blind aligned with the radio format is an experience of waste. Why? Because it’s one of the worst songs on the record. One who is fortunate enough to own this record has probably had their psyche profoundly impacted by its graces. “Motorcycle Drive By” cuts to the bone in a way few others have, especially to anyone who has felt the dreadful pangs of unrequited love. “The Background,” “God of Wine,” “Narcolepsy,” and “I Want You” are all powerful, soaring ballads that tug at, and ultimately, dig out your soul.
When you think of Third Eye Blind, I implore you to think beyond what you may have heard on the radio. Buy this album, drive around, get drunk, do whatever you do to contemplate and fully experience powerful music. Chances are, you will not be disappointed.