Music / Blue October
Blue October is an alternative American rock band from Houston, Texas. Its current members are Justin Furstenfeld (singer/guitarist), Jeremy Furstenfeld (drums/percussion), Ryan Delahoussaye (violin/viola/mandolin/piano), Matt Noveskey (bass) and C.B. Hudson (guitar).
The band was formed in 1995 by the Furstenfeld brothers and Delahoussaye. Other current and former members of the band have left and come back.
Musically, Blue October is a running autobiography of lead songwriter Justin Furstenfeld, who is very open about his bipolar disorder. Themes tend to run between lows and highs: from mental illness to love, a custody battle and divorce, and as of 2013, redemption of sorts with a new wife and second child.
The band's studio albums are:
- The Answers (1998)
- Consent to Treatment (2000)
- History for Sale (2003), featuring the band's first mainstream hit, "Calling You." The song was also on the American Wedding soundtrack.
- Foiled (2006), which went platinum and is their bestselling album to date. The two charting singles were "Hate Me" and "Into The Ocean"
- Approaching Normal (2009), with the singles "Dirt Room," "Say It" and "Should Be Loved"
- Any Man In America (2011). It could easily just be called "The Divorce Album". The band tries a few new things on this album, including Justin rapping through several songs.
- Sway (2013), Lighter and Softer in comparison to the last several albums.
- Home (2016)
The band's live albums are:
- Argue with a Tree... (2004)
- Foiled For The Last Time (2007), a two-disc set combining the Teach Your Baby Well Live concert at Stubb's in Austin, Texas with a re-release of Foiled called "Foiled+"
- Ugly Side: An Acoustic Evening With Blue October (2011), recorded in Houston, Austin and Dallas.
This band and their music provide examples of:
- Abusive Parents: "Razorblade" is all about this.
- Genius Bonus, Small Reference Pools: "HRSA". The medical acronym stands for High Risk of Self Abuse. The song chronicles a person's hospital stay (possibly Justin's), implied to be at a mental or psychiatric facility. It's implied the hospital stay is a result of a bad break-up; the opening lyrics are "Admitted at twenty-two/just to get over you."
- Small Reference Pools is also invoked with the occasional references to Texas or stories that a first-time listener would not know right away, such as the reference to a woman living in Oklahoma City in the song "Independently Happy". This is probably a reason why Texas fans fell in love with Blue October at the beginning due to its Shout Outs. Foiled and Approaching Normal have fewer geographic references, while Any Man In America has a song called "The Flight (Lincoln to Minneapolis)".
- Lighter and Softer: For every intense, dark or sad song Blue October has, there are one or two positive songs as well. "Calling You" is a love song, for example. The companion songs "Blue Skies" and "Blue Does" on Approaching Normal are about Justin Furstenfeld's newborn daughter.
- Manly Tears: An intrinsic part of this band, especially in its early days. "Schizophrenia" is a haunting song for anyone who has dealt with the condition or knows someone who deals with it. "For My Brother" is a piano ballad written by Justin for his younger brother Jeremy.
- One-Hit Wonder: The band has just one American Top 40 single, "Hate Me". Follow-up single "Into the Ocean" stalled at #57 and that was the band's last appearance on the Billboard Hot 100.
- Precision F-Strike: Each album has at least one, or two, or three. Any Man In America has quite a few to say the least. "James," a song from Consent To Treatment, has Audience Participation with a phrase not in the original lyrics.
- Window Watcher: "The End". For a band whose music discusses depression, guilt and death regularly, it is by far their most unnerving song.