Third Eye Blind - Third Eye Blind album review

Mega-selling debut gets the anniversary treatment

Cover art for Third Eye Blind - Third Eye Blind album

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Having gigged around San Francisco for three years, Third Eye Blind caught a break when they opened for Oasis in 1996. Liam Gallagher told them they were shit, but record executives were more enamoured, leading to a bidding war that saw the quartet sign a lucrative deal with Elektra for their self-titled debut a year later.

It’s easy to understand the appeal. Third Eye Blind provided a link between alt.rock and mainstream USA, smuggling dark themes – addiction, suicide, abuse – into punchy grunge-pop tunes with big hooks. Nothing exemplified this better than Semi-Charmed Life, a tale of crystal meth dependency (singer and chief songwriter Stephan Jenkins called it their Walk On The Wild Side) that breezes in on a battery of power chords.

Most of the other songs were cut from the same cloth – Graduate, Losing A Whole Year, Good For You – giving the album a homogenous sound somewhere between Green Day and an angrier Busted. The UK remained largely impervious to the band’s charms, though five hit singles helped it go six-times platinum in the States.

This expanded reissue comes with an extra disc of demos and rarities, including a pretty superfluous cover of Velvet Underground’s Heroin.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.