Source:    Van Griffin sigur22@aol.com
Issue:       n/a
Page:       n/a

 

A Redux To Track 3: A Third Eye Blind Memorandum -
The Theory of the Smoothie and Other Mad Ramblings of a Disenchanted Manchild


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 self-righteous.

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 here?

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.