Music Mondays: Third Eye Blind

This week’s offering is Third Eye Blind’s Dopamine (as with most previous MM postings adjust the speed to 1.25). It has been six years since their last album, Ursa Major, was released and a lot has changed. Lead guitarist Tony Fredianelli and bassist Jon Evans have been replaced by Kryz Reid and Alex LeCavalier respectively. They’ve also added Alex Kopp as the band’s first full-time keyboardist. That’s the most shakeup the band roster has undergone since it’s inception. Rumors of how difficult it is to work with Stephan Jenkins have floated around for years and this album may be all the proof needed to substantiate that.

The album itself is difficult to pin down musically (fair warning, for whatever reason, there’s about a minute or so of silence in the 32-33 minute range). The best way I can describe it is that the band tip-toes through familiar musical puddles with an occasional stomp. Much of the musical territory is similar to past albums, but with a slight twist. I’m not yet ready to rank it against all their past albums.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Years ago, my friend, Craig Williams, shared his methodology for listening to new music and it’s worked out well for me. The key is to add whatever new music you want to investigate into a playlist (the length of the playlist is up to the individual) and it stays there until you’ve completed five listens. This gives the desired album enough listens through multiple settings and emotional states. That should provide enough time to process the album to form an accurate impression. It’s the reason why you won’t find me rating any of the music in these posts since they haven’t gone through the five listens. Instead, I prefer to focus on the people, events, mood, or setting the music evokes.

This album makes me think of camping out in the summertime with a group in the High Plains or even the High Desert. After a hot day, the night brings a radical temperature drop that necessitates a bonfire, the kind that leaps high in the air and licks at the gathering clouds. The music plays and some of the group pile more wood on the fire, some huddle together to watch images dance through the flames, and still others turn their backs to the heat to drink and keep watch for the night’s curious onlookers.

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