Redux To Track 3: A Third Eye Blind
The Theory of the Smoothie and Other Mad Ramblings of a Disenchanted
It appears as if I am not alone in my frustrations concerning Third Eye
Blind and their lack of critical acclaim. Thanks to all of you who wrote me
letters (that includes the naysayers as well). I received nearly one hundred
responses to Track 3: A Third Eye Blind Memorandum. It was encouraging to
know that so many people out there share similar gripes as I as 3EB
continues its legacy of Non-Props. Let us hope the new album inspires us
just as the formers have and hopefully this wonderful band will gain some
critical recognition well overdue.
Previously I wrote that Third Eye Blind was simply tossed into the "pop
rock" genre. It occurred to me after writing this memorandum (which I did in
the middle of the night like the overmedicated insomniac I am), that I was
unclear as to my definition of what "pop" means and its correlating negative
connotations. I am afraid I have no clear definition still. I think the word
is innately vague and tedious and altogether frustrating. It could mean a
genre, it could mean Carson Daly. It is of no interest to me to decipher
between the two. Such mental wanderings are masturbatory and ultimately
So I would like to restate in the simplest terms possible the general
sentiment of my previous writing. I think Third Eye Blind is a fantastic and
dynamic band with greater depth and spirit than most bands out there. There
is a reason they became so huge. It was not an overnight affair, either.
Persistence, passion and love of craft have placed Third Eye Blind ahead of
the game. As urged forth before, they simply are "too good" for the general
population to be able to properly digest. Like a fine tenderloin, not
properly chewed, that gets caught in the back of one's throat, causing them
to first panic and then wretch, so has 3EB affected many casual listeners.
Take into account that, aside from their core audience (which, via your
e-mails, I have estimated to be comprised of mostly young teens and some
scattered so-called adults, such as myself), Third Eye Blind has been
presented to the MTV "change-the-channel-fast-because-there-might-be-something-better-on-hurry"
generation. We want hits and we want them now. Then we want more hits. I am
tempted to drop a few terrible bands here, but I suppose I will resist the
urge. It's not positive and I'd be a hypocrite. (I'm not saying I'm not
hypocritical, mind you). So Semi-Charmed attacks the mass culture and
everybody loves it because it's easily digestible (of course, it is
important to note here that people were humming the lyrics and not singing
them, thus reflecting not only their ignorance of not only the literal
context of the song but also the frenetic and highly alliterative ingenuity
of the band), and they want something equally digestible. Well, God of Wine
doesn't fit that bill, and Losing A Whole Year is much too progressive. So
we've run out of time. That audience, once stifled, gives up and changes the
channel pronto, maybe to that Canadian music channel (which, by the way, I
prefer much over MTV - they actually play videos all the way through
[another aside here - I only watch the telly when I am visiting my
girlfriend in Chicago, lounging all day while she is at work or when I'm
around family and am already doomed to be depressed anyway - NOTE:
TELEVISION IS THE DEVIL, avoid it if you can and READ, READ, READ - if you
want some reading suggestions, e-mail me at
Sigur22@aol.com - you'll thank me someday; and to think I was claiming I
was not self-righteous - the absolute incredible gall]), and finds something
that goes down a little smoother. A smoothie! I like that. We will call
these simple, immediately gratifying radio gems "smoothies." Full of all
sorts of healthy stuff you do not understand yet taste so good. But so
filling. Oh, so filling. Too filling. Too much of one thing cannot be good
for you! (Save sex and Café Vanillas). Thus, they have nullified their
nutrition by gorging on too much of one thing. And that is all that junk is
- one thing. (QUESTION: How many bands out there have a frontman who sings
through his teeth like Edder Vedder, only, minus the honesty?) I think I'll
skip the wheatgrass next time around. Where was I? What is my point? Oh,
yes, back to 3EB. You have got the general public who need their quick fix.
Conversely, you've got your quick fix bands that provide thanks to corporate
target marketing. And presto! We have a prosperous balance of supply and
demand. And everybody is happy. Except me. I am not happy. These guys are
getting overlooked entirely because they do not quite fit that TRL or Buzz
Bin mold. And forget about the indie rockers lending any credence to Third
Eye Blind's artistry. 3EB is too successful to gain any credibility from the
"people really in it for the music." Perhaps I am overstepping my bounds.
Fuck it - I have no bounds. I'm godlike right now. Moving forward. This band
is screwed critically because they are pigeonholed as a band that pumps out
one or two "radio-friendly" hits an album and that is their greatest worth.
That pisses me off just thinking about it. But what really is my big grief?
What do I care about four guys I do not even know and the acclaim and/or
criticism surrounding them? Truth be known - I don't know. I just care. I
don't stay up nights about this. I stay up nights because I tend to
malfunction during business hours. So what is my point? What have I done
Third Eye Blind is by no means the most edgy or influential music out there.
But they are very good. Much better than the slew of falsetto-singing power
chord automaton big record label byproducts out there. There is truth in
their sound. An element severely lacking in a lot of what is presented to
the public via television, radio and/or other media venues. Alas, though,
there is another wonderful nugget of revelation here - there are other bands
of equal or exceeding principle of art and demeanor. Third Eye Blind rocks
the house and fires neurons in the electrically ripe minds of those of us
wanting to really listen. Other bands do the same. Listen. CHALLENGE: Go
beyond aesthetics and read lyric sheets and try to find the story and the
mettle of your favorite band. I don't have a favorite band. Music is a
continuum for me. Many different artists on one ongoing song. I am not a pop
rocker. I am not an indie rocker. I know all too little about jazz and
blues. I lost contact with Hip Hop once Marky Mark changed his name. But I
am trying. I am LISTENING. I think 3EB is indicative of the positive and
diverse nature of music and art - the ability to catalyze thought in the
active or passive mind. THINK.
So they have a new album coming out this summer. So says the shepherd. My
hope is that is half as good at their debut. I'll be more than satisfied. I
also hope it has a track called 2000 Julys. Only to see if a song could rock
naughty any harder. Third Eye Blind is a great band. Rest assured all you
3EB die-hards and gentle fans alike, you are not alone in your struggle to
make sense of 3EB's pop culture relative dismissal. Look at the enormous
amount of positives this livelihood affords the band. Their art isn't under
the microscope like that of say Radiohead. Not much is expected of them and
they have nothing to prove. These issues can cultivate pure sound, pure art.
Would you want to paint a picture with a crowd standing behind you all the
while? If your answer to that is yes, would you do it naked? Interesting.
So read books and be kind to each other. And here is an official Third Eye
Blind related New Year's resolution - don't push the band on anybody. Don't
burn energy trying to explain the brilliant insights you can relate to in
the music. Just chill. Remember, it really means more for you in the end.
This band is going to be around for as long as they like. And they've
already created a catalogue of tunes to score a lifetime. Also, believe in
yourself. You can change. And, no matter what, stick by your boy band. You
cannot stop them. So embrace them. I stick by mine. Always.
So much for brevity and subtlety. Thanks again for responding to my first
article and feel free to contact me
(Sigur22@aol.com) with any questions concerning my limited knowledge of
3EB, music in general, books, small dogs and fierce dragons. And stick by
your boy band. I mean it.
p.s. - Did you guys see that thing Jen posted about Mr. Jenkins' feet? That
may have been the nastiest thing I've ever seen.