Third Eye ‘Blind,’ and that’s just fine

To put it simply, Third Eye Blind is a band you know very little about. Most people are unable to name more than three of their songs. If you can, that is quite impressive. But what is undeniable is that most everyone knows more than three of their songs by ear. If you don’t, that is equally impressive. Luckily for us (or is it?), the frivolous relationship we have with Third Eye Blind does not disqualify them from their committee-given right to Spring Fling glory. In fact, it might even boost their Old Campus “rock and shock” credentials.

Most Yalies are dead serious about nearly every aspect of their lives, yet the one dimension not overgrown with our Ivied pretentiousness is popular culture. The term paper you wrote for that Nemerov lecture might very well undermine theories of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. The non-profit you started last summer may very well alter the landscape of Latin American development. But how dare you listen to music that makes you take it seriously. That is not music’s place. That is not the purpose of popular culture. When you’re not in class, you want to go culture slumming, even if it takes you to the depths of late 90’s FM radio hell. And good for you.

The average Yale student has made it crystal clear that he or she is not looking for musicianship, he or she is not looking for an elaborately layered sonic wonderland — he or she is looking for a drunken good time. To this end, I sifted my feelings for Third Eye Blind not through their copious catalogue of well-crafted and thoughtful songs, but through a slew of YouTube searches sampling their live repertoire. Yahtzee!

The great thing about a band like Third Eye Blind is that their music is minimally produced. What you hear on the album is what you’ll hear on stage (discounting Stephen Jenkins’ aging vocal chords). Expect a quality performance with all the reverb and distortion you could ask for. Hit singles like “Jumper” and “Semi-Charmed Life” will sound just as they did in ’97. For this Yalies should be satisfied, since there’s nothing like a late 90s alternative rock band to transport you back to those best years of your life, driving to [insert sport] practice in the back of your mother’s sports utility vehicle smacking on a Fruit Roll-Up and blasting Kiss FM. Bring a soccer ball to Old Campus and add Gushers to your Popov for an extra dose of nostalgia.

But at the end of the day, Third Eye Blind is as musically irrelevant as Disco Inferno and as far from the cutting edge as Enya. Their most recent album, “Ursa Major,” only remained on the Billboard top 200 Hundred for one week and failed to evolve from their late 90s post-grunge sound. One of their more popular lyrics from the 2009 song “Don’t Believe a Word” goes “rap stars talking about shooting each other, whatever happened to brother brother?” Rap stars haven’t shot each other since Tupac and Biggie (RIP), which is, tellingly, the last time Third Eye Blind had a hit single. Now rap stars skateboard and own sports franchises. Third Eye Blind will bring energy to the drunken revelry, but when the sing alongs are over, will we be asking for more?

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