Many modern day emo bands will not hesitate to declare Jawbreaker one of their biggest influences, however Jawbreaker is far from being an emo band themselves. It is true that the majority of their songs are about some sort of relationship trouble, but their musical style is a far cry from any form of emo both old and new. With Jawbreaker's final release "Dear You" in 1995 a completely new sound was born that many bands have since tried to duplicate. None of these bands, however, have managed to produce a sound even close to Jawbreaker's. At times it is a sound packed with raw intensity, at other times it is a mellow sound with intricate melodies. A constant in all of the tracks on "Dear You" is a sincere and genuine emotional edge in all of Blake Schwarzenbach's vocals. This is the quality of Jawbreaker's sound that other band's are unable to duplicate. The pinacle of Schwarzenbach's emotional connection to the music an be heard in the track "Jet Black." You can litterally hear the despair in his voice amidst a musical backdrop that cannot come close to matching th vocals in emotional intensity.
The trouble with "Dear You" is that for the most part the tracks sound the same. True, there are slow quiet songs and fast loud but the quiet songs sound like the other quiet songs and the fast songs sound like the other fast songs. I fact almost all of the songs on the album follow the same pattern: A brief intro, a verse, a repeat of the verse, a chorus, a quick solo or interlude, another verse, another chorus, occasionally there is another solo here, and an outro.
The tracks sound so similar that during my first week of owning the album, I would litterally think I was listening to one track only to find out that I was listening to an entirly different one later on in the song. Not only do the songs on "Dear You" sound similar to each other, they sound similar to songs on other Jawbreaker albums. The first part of the chorus in "Save Your Generation" sounds almost identical to the chorus in the song "Chesterfield King" off of Jawbreaker's first album "Bivouac."
Another with Jawbreaker is that aside from the vocals, the musicians rarely showcase their abilities as musicians. Most of the songs are nothing but simple power chords and basic drum rythms. Occasionally there is a complex drum or guitar part but more often than not it's just mediocre musicianship. Lyrically, however, the album is outstanding. Though most of the lyrics are about relationship trouble they somehow don't come off as whiny as emo music does, largely due to Schwarzenbach's unique voice, and I find that it is easy to relate to the lyrics, something difficult for me to do with emo bands.
The highlight of "Dear You" would have to be the final track, which is simply titled "Unlisted Track." Honestly it would probably sound the same as all of the other tracks if not for the fact that it is played on an acoustic guitar.
Jawbreaker's final album "Dear You" is to this day a great example of modern pop punk and is a truly unique album from a truly unique band. Though the tracks sound the same a redeeming quality is that the sound is so unique that it really isn't too much of an issue. Despite the tracks' simalarities and mediocre musicianship i award Jawbreaker's "Dear You" with a 4/5