Sound — 8
Jawbreaker began in 1988 as a Punk band that would grow as the definitive 90's punk band. Dear You was their major label Debut with Geffen records and was a large leap of style for the band. Having had throat surgery Black Schwarzenbach now had a much cleaner vocal style with a guitar tone to match. The punk influence remains heavily evident in all of their songs but the thing that makes this band unique is it's fearlessness in delving into complex song structure, and darker, more mature topics that appeal to the educated working class. This separated them from most of their punk contemporaries. Rob Cavallo the (of the time) recently acclaimed producer had just produced Green Day's breakthrough album Dookie. Despite a heavy marketing push the band couldn't survive a market saturated with Green Day therefore sales of the album were dismal but the album itself received critical acclaim.
Lyrics — 10
Dear You is rich in dark, moving vocals/lyrics. Blake sings almost hauntingly at some points. Such as in Jet Black when he sings, "I am Jet Black, I am Stone Cold, Jet Black to the center, funny like a funeral, I need you to bury me." One almost begins to feel a sense of desperation and sadness. It feels like Blake knew the band was coming to its end. Lyrical and vocal styles on songs like Accident Prone would later be expanded in his band Jets To Brazil. Their traditional voiceover style is utilized in Jet Black and the albums closing track, the Unlisted Track is a refreshingly upbeat and hopeful. "So color me obvious, I just want to be happy half the time and blue only when I have the time." Blake's lyrics are a huge part of Jawbreakers loyal and large fanbase. His appealing lyrics of the thoughts we all have in times of reflection on the world are heartwrenching and quite easy to connect to.
Overall Impression — 9
Dear You is a testament to how far the writing abilities of a punk band can go. Breaking the perception of limited artistic ability in a punk band they prove that punk is not just social commentary or angry fools ranting about how the world screwed them over, but something entirely different. Jawbreaker taps into the core emotions of people and shows us we're not alone, that there is hope, and possibly a bright future. Dear You serves as a poetic finale to this band's short but exciting career.