Sound — 10
Third Eye Blind, in my opinion, has the defining sound for 90's Alternative Rock. Crisp, distorted-yet-not-diluted guitars, beautiful and energetic singing, and just plain fantastic artistry. Kevin Cadogan (lead guitarist, at the time) is one of my favorite guitarists ever. He has his own defining style, and thinks completely outside the box. His alternate-tuning riffs are simply great, such as in "Narcolepsy", "Graduate", and "Losing A Whole Year". Stephan Jenkins' voice has a wonderful range, and is a beautiful voice. Arion Salazar (bassist, at the time) has simple, great basslines. He knew when to keep it simple (the breakdown in "Jumper," for example) and knew when he really could shine with the instrument (such as at the end of "Thanks A Lot." Brad Hargreaves' drumming is not the best ever heard, but he's a great drummer and can set a wonderful mood for a song (such as the jungle-esque mood in "Jumper"). Third Eye Blind can very easily be described as a great "summer band." The music is wonderful to listen to in the summertime, with friends, in the sun.
Lyrics — 9
Stephan Jenkins' lyrics are often lost in the wonder and feel-good tone of the music. Much of these lyrics deal with depression, drugs, and suicide. But he's a fantastic songwriter, and a wonderful vocalist. He does not tread in the tongue-in-cheek-ness of "i love you" songs, yet doesn't jump off the building with songs about wanting to kill himself. When one truly listens to the lyrics and can try to convey the emotion that is held in the songs, it makes this album all the better. "Motorcycle Drive-By" is perhaps the best song on the album lyrically, or "Jumper", though it is my opinion.
Overall Impression — 10
Song-By-Song: 01. "Losing A Whole Year" - Perhaps not the greatest song on the album, but the quiet intro riff almost puts you in a wondrous mood. A good introduction into 3EB's musical style, in general. 02. "Narcolepsy" - A shining example of Kevin Cadogan's guitar playing, the intro riff is almost piano-like in how it shimmers. Stephan pulled off some great lyrics here (about, of course, narcolepsy), and it's a nice energetic song when it kicks in. 03. "Semi-Charmed Life" - One of the defining rock songs of the 90's, 3EB keeps it simple here. A simple G-D-C chord progression through the whole song, with Stephan's drug and sex-based lyrics, made quite a splash on the country. A fantastic song. 04. "Jumper" - My favorite song on the album. Immediately recognizable for the chorus singing, "I wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend," Jumper is about as simple as it sounds, lyrically. The greatest part of this song would be the breakdown. Arion Salazar and Brad Hargreaves pull off an amazing jungle-like sound here, while Kevin lightly plays the solo riff. Stephan then joins in with ripping rhythm guitar, and the whole song explodes into a blur of wonder (all at the cue of Stephan's scream). Amazing. 05. "Graduate" - Another great example of Kevin's unique guitar playing, "Graduate" reminds me slightly of "Narcolepsy" in song structure. Stephan's slightly more aggressive lyrics and singing keep the song going guitar hard the whole way through. The guitar and bass stay balanced as Kevin leads into a great wah-filled solo, and breaks into a bass-and-drum breakdown, then the band joins back in. 06. "How's It Going To Be" - The first slower, acoustic song on the album. Very laid-back and relaxing. Stephan's lyrics and singing really shine here. Towards the end of the song, it becomes much louder and distorted, and Stephan really kicks the vocals up a notch, to the point where it almost sounds like he's crying. Very sad, but very great song. 07. "Thanks A Lot" - What I would call a quote-on-quote "typical 3EB song." Kevin's guitar playing shows through again for the whole song, as does Arion's bass and Stephan's vocals. The song pulls a trick on you; towards the end, you think the song's over, right until you hear Arion riffing on the bass, followed by one of Stephan's better screams, and the band joins in for a no-vocals finish to the song. 08. "Burning Man" - My least favorite song. I do not care for the main riff, or the sound of the song in general. It really doesn't stray far from their [i]sound[/i], but the verses are very light and beach-party-like. A mediocre product of the great album. 09. "London" - A great, short, hard-hitting song. The guitar and bass stay fast and punk-like for the whole song. A great song to get out on the road with. The song's interludes are strange-sounding, but I've grown accustomed to them, and learn to love them. 10. "Good For You" - This song starts right out heavy and simple. The verses are very eerie, and actually, the whole song is, too. A darker effort, but still a great one. 11. "I Want You" - Another light, acoustic song. Perhaps I lied a little earlier when I said that Stephan doesn't go tongue-in-cheek with the lyrics, because he sort of does here. But strangely, I do not mind it. A great song to relax too. 12. "The Background" - Yet another example of Kevin's great playing, this song starts off light, but then bursts into its hard glory halfway through. Each instrument shines through here, and it helps to cool you down for the album's ending. 13. "Motorcycle Drive-By" - A close call, here, for my favorite song. A simple song, acoustic at first, describing Stephan's long-distance relationship with a girl in New York. Fantastic lyrics, describing how it couldn't work, and he had to return to California. Stephan's vocals truly shine in this song. The whole song has a great feeling of speed, wonder, and awe. A truly beautiful song. 14. "God Of Wine" - However, THIS is THE most beautiful song on the album. Soft all the way through, even when it picks up, it describes alcoholism. Kevin's guitar technique, rather than his soloing, shows through here. His attitude and mindset. The whole band truly seems to come together for this last bang to the album. To sum it up, I would recommend this album to absolutely any and everyone. A truly great display of guitar playing, singing, bass playing, and drumming. To me, the definitive album of the 90's. I would buy this album for $100, if it were stolen from me. $200, even.