I don’t typically write about music here, but I do love music and I have noticed an interesting trend that excites me. First, let me mention that, for the most part, my musical tastes formed in the late 1990s. I like music from all decades, but the alternative rock in the 90s came at the right moment, when I was nearing the age where I could explore music in a complex way. As years passed, the mainstream radio focused more on pop and hip-hop, leaving me disappointed and nostalgic for the 90s again.
A group of rock bands who were popular in the 90s – Third Eye Blind, Eve 6, Matchbox Twenty, Everclear, Blink-182, among others – seemed to drop off the radar roughly around 2003 and stopped making music for most of the nine years since. Third Eye Blind finally released their fourth album, Ursa Major, in 2009, and Blink-182’s 2011 album Neighborhoods came after an eight-year hiatus, but so far 2012 is topping them all with four albums from bands who have been silent for a while. I thought I would focus on them:
Eve 6 – Speak in Code (released April 24th). Often incorrectly labeled a one-hit-wonder band because of “that heart-in-a-blender song” (It’s called “Inside Out,” okay?), Eve 6 was able to maintain a dedicated following between their 2003 album It’s All In Your Head and this year’s Speak in Code. The new album sounds a lot like their second effort Horrorscope, though, which works out well because that was a fantastic record. The first radio single from Speak in Code was “Victoria,” but I actually prefer “Lost & Found”:
Matchbox Twenty – North (coming out September 4th). I just heard their new single “She’s So Mean” this morning, which was good enough to inspire this post. Matchbox hasn’t been completely out of the spotlight in the past decade, having released five new songs on Exile on Mainstream in 2007 (then there are the Rob Thomas solo albums, which don’t sound entirely different from Matchbox Twenty), but it’s good to see the band back together to make a new full-length album again (their first since More Than You Think You Are from 2002). After the first listen, “She’s So Mean” was stuck in my head. It doesn’t sound like a specific older song from the band, but it’s catchy and it has their signature sound. If the other songs are just as good, North could be really great. Listen to “She’s So Mean” below:
Everclear – Invisible Stars (coming out June 26th). I have to be honest, I haven’t been as excited about this release compared to the others. Everclear had one of my favourite albums from the 90s, So Much for the Afterglow (featuring such hits as “Father of Mine” and “I Will Buy You A New Life“), but they have been in a slump in the past ten years. After two of the members left in 2003, frontman Art Alexakis decided to replace them with a random assortment of other musicians, whom he also replaced a few years later. He then made two albums that seemingly consisted of remakes of his old hits and covers. Needless to say, Everclear is probably the band that should have been on a break for nine years. But, hearing their new song “Be Careful What You Ask For,” it’s hard not to be nostalgic and hopeful. Perhaps the original excitement of Everclear could re-surface after a decade of underwhelming decisions. Listen to the song below:
Lit – The View from the Bottom (coming out June 19th). Lit is known best for their late-90s ode to self-destructive behaviour, “My Own Worst Enemy,” but they continued to make records until their self-titled release in 2004. The band has experienced some changes in their line-up between that album and this year’s The View from the Bottom, with the band adding an extra guitarist and hiring a replacement for drummer Allen Shellenberger, who unfortunately passed away in 2009 from cancer. However, the band’s sound and attitude have appeared to survive unscathed. In their slightly-crude new single “You Tonight” (guess which word is omitted from that title), Lit rock out with the same energy that they had over a decade ago:
These albums might not live up to the past works of these bands, but I’m just happy they’re releasing music at all. Eve 6, Everclear, Matchbox Twenty, and Lit all represent an important time in my life, and even their new songs make me nostalgic about that time.
To end this post, I thought I would share a recent mashup of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” and the 90s hit “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind. The mashup is made by Dan Chamberlain, also known as Chambaland. It’s not an entirely new song, but to me it shows how good the music of the 90s was, because I prefer this version over the regular “Call Me Maybe”:
That’s it for today. Don’t worry – I will talk about books again soon.