If you’re a 90’s child, chances are you know Third Eye Blind. Or at least, you’ll know their music. The San-Fran band’s eponymous album contained a string of singles released in the late 90’s that have come to be synonymous with the time period. Don’t take my word for it though – listen to ‘Semi-Charmed Life’ and tell me those “Do Do Do”s don’t sound familiar:

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There’s that nostalgic glimmer of recognition. Following this release, the band went on to garner a significant amount of fame in the states, although they never really broke into the British market – just two of their singles have charted in the UK. It’s a huge shame when looking at the overall quality of the band’s back catalogue – they’ve never released a bad album. In fact, they’ve had 7 good releases, the best of which after 20 years of releases is still their eponymous first release.

Looking at ‘Eponymous’ 20 years later is strange. Mainstream music has placed a lot more importance on authenticity than 20 years ago – the age of the songwriter began during the rise of Adele and similar artists years ago, but the last 2-3 years have seen these ‘real’ artists skyrocket in popularity – look at Ed Sheeran’s recent success. It’s easy to see how the current musical landscape would have been very conducive to the band’s success. Their brand of songwriting-focused alt-rock would have fit right in whilst being different enough from the archetypal solo singer-songwriter that is dominating today. But what exactly is it about ‘eponymous’ that requisites so much praise?

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Well, for a start, the singles. ‘Semi-Charmed Life’ and ‘Jumper’ aren’t just popular – they’re some of the band’s best songs. ‘Jumper’ tackles issues with homophobia and suicide, whilst ‘Semi-Charmed Life’ may just be the most upbeat song written about drug abuse. The latter in particular works well due to the Hip-Hop influence songwriter Stephan Jenkins raps/sings with – the conversational tone really helps convey the subtle, denying desperation of an addict. ‘Graduate’ is simply a fantastic ‘fuck you’ song, whilst there is little doubt ‘How’s it Going to Be’ was the soundtrack to many an adolescent (or indeed adult) break-up during the 90’s. ‘Losing a Whole Year’ is a great overall showcase for the band, from the clever lyrics to the all-out assault-style chorus.

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Judging ‘Eponymous’ in this way downplays the quality of the album as a whole, however. With the first half of the album containing almost entirely singles (except for the excellent nightmarish ‘Narcolepsy’), the second half can be forgotten when speaking on the album’s impact and cultural presence. Which is a shame, because the songs towards the end of the album are amongst the band’s best. The final two in particular – ‘Motorcycle Drive-By’ and ‘God of Wine’ – are cited by the group’s fan base as fantastic, with the lyrics from both being popular tattoos.

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It really is difficult to articulate why this album has such a timeless feel to it. The music is complicated, interesting and well-written, the lyrics carry a weight and sincerity that is craved but rarely seen in today’s music and the album just flows incredibly well. 20 years later it still holds up as a classic 90’s album, and a classic rock album. I couldn’t recommend this enough for anyone interested in songwriting, rock or decent music – it is difficult to find much better than ‘Third Eye Blind’.

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