For twenty years, I’ve taken Third Eye Blind for granted.
It’s not as if I’ve had an epiphany about this band on the twentieth anniversary of their eponymous debut album. Hit singles “Semi-Charmed Life” and “How’s It Going To Be” are still catchy reminders of what pop-rock sounded like in the late 1990s. Heck, I have two copies of that album in my CD collection. Why two? More on that in a minute.
The thing about 3EB is, in my opinion, they sound sooooo much like so many other bands of that era. Let’s face it, there is no reason for Semisonic to have even existed. They should have just let 3EB have recorded “Closing Time” and called it a day. Better yet, both bands could have surrendered their hits to the Goo Goo Dolls, and we could have had “Jumper” and “Singing In My Sleep” tucked between “Name” and “Slide” on the same greatest hits album.
It wasn’t until the PR team for Third Eye Blind started to generate buzz around the 20th anniversary of the band’s debut and the inevitable two disc deluxe edition CD that I started to take them seriously.
Well, maybe “seriously” is too strong a word. I do want to give credit where credit is due, though. That self-titled album has gone platinum six times over, which is a level of sales practically unheard of today. Compared to 2016, 3EB outsold Adele, Beyonce, Drake and the Bieb. Combined.
So what ever happened to Third Eye Blind? I had no idea. I never even thought about them until the past few weeks. Turns out they have released four albums since their debut. In 2009, Ursa Major even peaked at #3 on the album charts. Their last album was Dopamine in 2015.
I say “their,” but we’re really only talking about frontman Stephan Jenkins at this point. Over the years, all of the original band members have parted ways with Jenkins… or were fired, depending on who you ask.
And while Jenkins remains the flag bearer of the Third Eye Blind moniker, original guitarist Kevin Cadogan and original bassist Arion Salazar occasionally play their hits under the band name XEB. That on its own is a more fascinating story than it has any right to be. I’m not kidding. Read about it here.
So with the 20th anniversary of Third Eye Blind now upon us, it seemed only appropriate that the album should have a place in my music collection. The day after reading about XEB, I happened upon that landmark 1997 3EB album in a used CD bin for just $2. Fate, it seemed, had stepped in and insisted that after twenty years, this is what was missing from my vast musical library.
But as we all know, fate can often be a bitch. When I got home, I discovered that Third Eye Blind had been there all along, right between Thin Lizzy and The Thompson Twins. It’s not the first time I’ve accidentally bought a CD twice, and probably won’t be the last. But still… two bucks wasted.
At least fate was a cheap bitch.
I’m probably being overly cruel about this band. After all, at some point, I thought enough of them to pay full price for their album, but apparently not enough to remember it. Six million 3EB album buyers can’t be wrong, though. And those are almost always the people who will buy deluxe anniversary editions of albums they already own. I’m completely, unabashedly guilty of that.
For what it’s worth, I won’t be buying a third copy of Third Eye Blind when the anniversary edition comes out on June 9. I’m not a die-hard fan, in spite of how it looks. But if you can sing along to every word of “Losing A Whole Year” or can even stumble through the rapid-fire lyrics of “Semi-Charmed Life” while completely stoned, you are most certainly the fan this new two-disc set was made for.
Here is the track list for Third Eye Blind: 20th Anniversary Edition:
01. Losing a Whole Year
03. Semi-Charmed Life
06. How’s It Going to Be
07. Thanks a Lot
08. Burning Man
09. Good for You
11. I Want You
12. The Background
13. Motorcycle Drive By
14. God of Wine
01. Alright Caroline
03. Slow Motion (Demo)
04. Semi-Charmed Life (Demo)
05. Kiss Goodnight (Demo)
06. Scattered (Demo)
07. Heroin (Demo)
08. Tattoo of the Sun