So, I promised to do a review of either Sister Hazel’s new album or Third Eye Blind’s new album. Thing is, I know next to nothing about either group, so it was difficult to make a decision. I went with Third Eye Blind’s brand-new album, Ursa Major.
Let me start out by saying, I feel like a traitor, since Sister Hazel is from Gainesville and whatnot. Be that as it may, though, it was easier to find a free stream of the new Third Eye Blind album, and that’s what pretty much fueled my decision. What really impressed me about both albums though is that they’re both so cheap. You can get a digital copy of Third Eye Blind’s Ursa Major on Amazon.com for just $3.99, and Sister Hazel’s new album, called Release, is only like six bucks at Target. Both are great deals worth checking out.
Like I said earlier, I’ve never been an avid listener of Third Eye Blind, but I’ve heard their singles, and I find their sound to be pretty catchy and infectious, so I could see why people like them. Maybe hearing this album will change my mind. Hit up the Third Eye Blind MySpace page and listen to every track for free. Let’s get it on.
Track 1: Can You Take Me
As an intro song, I don’t know if it works that well, but the hook is definitely really catchy. I don’t know what to make of the bridge. I really like towards the end when he kind of like talk-sings. It feels like I’ve heard that sort of thing in some other 3eb song. 3½
Track 2: Don’t Believe a Word
I like the music during the verses a lot. I also really like Marvin Gaye/positivity references in the second verse. All in all though, the vocals kind of annoy me in this tune. I especially dislike the screaming part. They still manage to make it catchy though, which is a gift this band happens to have. 3
Track 3: Bonfire
The general sound of this song at the beginning, with the acoustic guitar and the bongo-sounding drums, is really enjoyable. My main complaint is that the song’s a bit long. I don’t think this song warranted over four minutes of time. The whistling part at the end if pretty awesome though. 3
Track 4: Sharp Knife
To me, this song is a total miss. The first minute and a half is just boring and slightly whiny sounding to me. The intensity increases for a bit, but that doesn’t really help it too much. The musicianship is definitely good, but it’s not a song I’d listen to by choice. Great guitar solo in the second half makes it a bit better. 2½
Track 5: One in Ten
This song is just ridiculously cheesy to me, and that makes me not want to listen to it. The whole bit about knitting baby sweaters and watching the flat-screen TV just seems so sappy. Maybe I just can’t relate to it. Bright side is it’s not even three minutes long, so not too much suffering. 2
Track 6: About to Break
The guitar work on this track is absolutely phenomenal. The fills really make the song what it is to me. If it wasn’t for the guitar this song would just be another average track that you can overlook, but the guitarism gives this song a whole new dimension to experience. Totally worth it. 4
Track 7: Summer Town
Another solid track and a really catchy one at that. Frontman Stephan Jenkins’ voice works perfectly with this tune. I detect that whole talk-singing thing going on again a bit towards the end of the track. I’m surprised they managed to get almost five minutes out of this sound. 4
Track 8: Why Can’t You Be
Their lyrics are always really honest, and I definitely appreciate that. Having said that, I find this song kind of boring, honestly. It seems like the cookie cutter ballad that you can find on most albums of bands of this type. I love the way the second half builds up, but I think it ends up being a bit anticlimactic. 2½
Track 9: Water Landing
Choosing to put this song on the back third of the album was a good choice because of it’s tempo and it’s intensity. The part around 3:25, where it’s just vocals and drums sounds pretty nice, and it’s really cool how everything else comes back in. Other than that though, the song’s nothing special. 2½
Track 10: Dao of St. Paul
I was waiting for this song to break, and I’m glad it finally did, although it did take it a minute and half to happen. The guitar work is once again excellent. The interlaced vocals toward the end sound pretty good, but I just can’t help but think this song was missing something. I don’t know what it was, but it definitely didn’t have it. It was close though. 3½
Track 11: Monotov’s Private Opera
I really like this song. The instruments all work really well together, and the lyrics are great. It’s super catchy, and it’s probably my favorite track off this album, setting itself up for a good ending. The sound doesn’t really ever change, which could be a negative, but in this case, I think the sound is good enough to keep going for the whole length of the song. 4
Track 12: Carnival Barker
The only instrumental track on the album, I think it’s the perfect track to end the album. I’m a huge fan of instrumental music because it allows the music to tell the story. On the MySpace the track is only 1:25 long, and I’m not sure if that’s how it is on the actual album or not. Just in case, I found the 7:11 long version on YouTube, and listened to it in it’s entirety. Best track. Perfect ending to the album. 5
Here’s the thing. If Third Eye Blind wasn’t a really cool band that sold the album at a reasonable price, my overall rating for this would be a lot lower, but when you’re getting 12 tracks for $3.99… well, that’s pretty awesome. Kudos to Third Eye Blind for providing fans with a reasonably priced album, yet totally enjoyable album.
Got artists/albums you think I should listen to? My ears are open. Get at me.