Semi-charmed kinda life, baby, baby,
I want something else, I'm not listening when you say good-bye.
Third Eye Blind is an Alternative Rock band that emerged during the late 1990s (though, as the article says, "Alternative Rock" certainly wasn't the "alternative" at the time). Their story begins with the release of their Self-Titled Album in 1997. The band catapulted to fame on the back of the album's three big-hit singles: "Semi-Charmed Life", a wildly upbeat and catchy song about a man suffering from a crystal meth addiction, the powerful anti-suicide ballad "Jumper", and "How's It Going To Be", about a breakup and the subsequent fallout.
Not content with being a one-album band, Third Eye Blind followed up their success with Blue in 1999. While the darker and more experimental Blue sold quite a few copies, its success couldn't be compared to their first album's, with only "Never Let You Go" being a Top 40 hit, and it was met with a far colder reception from critics. What's worse, soon after the album was released, guitarist Kevin Cadogan (who co-wrote most of the songs with singer Stephan Jenkins) was suddenly fired, replaced, and allegedly denied royalties for the work he helped create. Cadogan sued, of course, and the debacle ended with a settlement in 2002. Nevertheless, the band continued.
In 2003, they released Out of the Vein. While one might be inclined to think that this album was all about drugs (given that the band was famous for "Semi-Charmed Life"), this self-described New Sound Album mostly contained one Break-Up Song after another that dealt with the end of Jenkins' relationship with Charlize Theron. Partly because their record label was being purchased by a bigger record label at the time, Out of the Vein sold less than half the number of copies that Blue did.
The band then went five years without releasing any new material (a Greatest Hits Album was released in the interim). In 2008, they finally released the politically charged Red Star EP, consisting of three of the songs off of their next album. The EP's mild success was a sign of things to come for the band, as their next album, Ursa Major, was a miniature comeback for them. Sadly, after Ursa Major was released, Tony Fredianelli, the guitarist who replaced Cadogan, left and sued the band for denying him credit and royalties that were owed to him. Needless to say, as two of its former guitarists sued the band for similar reasons, many feel that Jenkins (who gets most of the credit for writing the songs) might be something of a Small Name, Big Ego.
- 1997 - Third Eye Blind
- 1999 - Blue
- 2003 - Out of the Vein
- 2009 - Ursa Major
- 2015 - Dopamine
- 2019 - Screamer
- 2021 - Our Bande Apart
This band provides examples of:
- Alternative Rock: One of the most famous examples of this from the 1990s.
- Answer Song: "Semi-Charmed Life" was written as one to Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side".
- Break-Up Song: Many of the songs on Out of The Vein. "Crystal Baller", "Can't Get Away" and "Palm Reader" stand out as the songs that most explicitly talk about a break-up.
- Also "How's It Going to Be," from their debut and "Deep Inside of You" from Blue.
- Careful with That Axe: Right after the final verse of "Losing a Whole Year".
- Darker and Edgier: The self-titled album had a catchy ditty about drugs. Blue had a rock-and-roll song about wild sex ("1,000 Julys"), a song about a victim of sexual abuse ("Wounded"), and a song about teen pregnancy ("10 Days Late").
- In fact, one of the songs intended for release on Blue was "Slow Motion", about the glamorization of violence in Hollywood. The label declared that the lyrics were too explicit for the album, and the song was merely an instrumental on the album (though in European countries, the song was left uncensored). It wouldn't be until the 2006 greatest hits album A Collection when American audiences would be able to hear Slow Motion fully uncensored.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Semi-Charmed Life" is famous for this. In fact, it was most likely chosen as music to accompany the trailer for The Tigger Movie because the people putting the trailer together didn't know what it was actually about. Sure, the catchy, energetic beat is very fitting for a character like Tigger, but let's not forget that the song is about doing crystal meth (though when you consider how hyperactive Tigger is...). Luckily, none of the lyrics that explicitly refer to crystal meth made it into the trailer.
- They're practically built on this trope. Some examples include "Jumper" is about a suicidal man about to jump off a bridge, "Wounded" tells about a victim of rape, and "Never Let You Go", which seems to be about a couple on the verge of breakup, and him trying to keep their relationship together. And they all sound very upbeat and optimistic.
- "Slow Motion" is the worst of them all, as it's a pleasant-sounding ballad about a man who murdered someone that owed him drug money. Literally the first two lines are: "Miss Jones taught me English/But I think I just shot her son".
- Murder Ballad: "Slow Motion", from the European releases of Blue and later making it's US debut on A Collection, tells the story of a teenage murderer whose life story gets turned into a movie.
- My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: The premise of "My Hit and Run" from Out of the Vein. The narrator is a motorcyclist who gets hit by a car, and while he's flying through the air, he thinks back on his life and sees the person he's singing the song to. The song ends with:
- "I'd like to thank Mr. Death now for what he's done, 'cause I got to walk away from my hit and run, life's mysteries are not so empty now. Because I saw you, at my hit and run."
- Non-Appearing Title: Jumper, Darwin, a few others.
- Refrain from Assuming: Semi-Charmed Life is sometimes referred to as "I Want Something Else". Funny enough the lyrics say "Semi-Charmed kind of life" making things somewhat confusing.
- "How's It Going To Be" (their second radio hit) is frequently referred to as "How's It Gonna Be". This is confusing too, because "gonna" actually appears in the song, not "going".
- Their third big hit isn't called "I Would Understand", it's "Jumper".
- "Never Let You Go" (their final hit) isn't called "Turn Around".
- A far more obscure example (it didn't do so well on the charts), but "Deep Inside Of You" isn't called "I Never Felt Alone".
- "Motorcycle Drive By" sometimes gets called "I've Never Been So Alone" or "Alive". The actual title of the song only appears once at the beginning.
- Precision F-Strike: Darwin (from Blue) has the line "the spaceman fucked an ape, then cut out on a date".
- Talking Down the Suicidal: The speaker of the song "Jumper" is attempting to talk someone else down from a ledge.
- The '90s: You bet!
- Protest Song: A good deal of Ursa Major is about how much the band hated the George W. Bush administration.
- Teen Pregnancy: "10 Days Late"
- Third Eye: They're named after this concept.