Semi-Charmed Mu­sic

Third Eye Blind’s depth still res­onates

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - WHAT'S UP - JO­CE­LYN MUR­PHY

What keeps an al­bum — not just one or two sin­gles, but the full al­bum — rel­e­vant for decades? Plenty of al­bums are turn­ing 20 this year, but how many are still spin­ning on cur­rent playlists? It’s got to be more than some catchy hooks, says Stephan Jenk­ins, lead singer of the al­ter­na­tive rock band Third Eye Blind.

“The thing about this record is when you go to the show on July 12, it’s not nos­tal­gic for these kids,” Jenk­ins says of the band’s epony­mous de­but al­bum, cel­e­brat­ing its 20th an­niver­sary this year. “This al­bum is in the present tense for them. This is their now. And that to me is a phe­nom­e­non. I’ve never seen any­thing like that where [an al­bum] con­tin­ues to il­lu­mi­nate, ig­nite their sense of what ‘now’ is and their emo­tional sense of now.” Of course, nos­tal­gia is part of it for some people. As trends of each decade change and fade, that sen­ti­men­tal­ity for the past can af­fect a work’s longevity. But Jenk­ins feels its the al­bum’s themes of long­ing, re­demp­tion and the de­sire to change your state that have en­deared it to so many over the group’s ca­reer.

“It’s like my songs are in part, meth­ods of self-dis­cov­ery that other people can grav­i­tate to­ward, even if they don’t know why. That’s why it lasts. That’s my guess.”

Most people, even those un­fa­mil­iar with the band’s cat­a­log or with the de­but al­bum, know “Third Eye Blind’s” big­gest sin­gle, “Semi-Charmed Life.” The bright and shiny sound and bouncy gui­tar of the pop-rock jam is still cor­rupt­ing youths as the day comes when they re­al­ize they’ve been singing along to a sex- and drug-filled story of an ad­dict’s des­cent into crys­tal meth use. And yet, the song en­dures as one of the most pop­u­lar tunes of the ’90s be­cause, with age, a se­cond re­al­iza­tion oc­curs that all those graphic ref­er­ences are re­ally speak­ing to some­thing much deeper.

“I think it’s about be­ing ad­dicted to long­ing,” Jenk­ins of­fers. “I think it’s about lit­er­ally al­ways want­ing some­thing else. And that is two things at once: it’s ro­man­tic be­cause you are look­ing to re-cre­ate the world to your own de­sires, but at the same time, that means you’re never ac­tu­ally in it and never ac­tu­ally OK. As se­duc­tive as that is, ul­ti­mately that is a very de­struc­tive — al­most about dis­in­te­gra­tion.”

As a thank you to the fans and a cel­e­bra­tion of the al­bum’s re­silience, Third Eye Blind is play­ing the de­but al­bum — from be­gin­ning to end — on their sum­mer tour. They haven’t done it be­fore, and Jenk­ins says they’ll likely never do it again, but for this sum­mer, Third Eye Blind is giv­ing fans ev­ery track from that iconic al­bum. Arkansans may have seen the group just a few years ago at the Wal­mart AMP on a co-head­lin­ing tour with Dash­board Con­fes­sional as they pre­pared for the re­lease of 2015’s “Dopamine.” But Jenk­ins prom­ises this show will be an even big­ger pro­duc­tion and will in­clude a few cuts from their 2016 EP “We Are Drugs.”

“I think 20 years ago what was re­ally im­por­tant to me was a sense of val­i­da­tion and con­trol. Now I feel val­i­dated be­cause I feel com­pre­hended, and that’s re­ally by my au­di­ence.”

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