A Season of Songs, day 53: Unlisted Track

A Season of Songs is a type of Fun-A-Day project that I plan to do throughout this spring.  I’ll hit shuffle on the ol’ iPod and see what comes up.  I’ll then write a bit about that song, the band, the record, whatever.  Enjoy!

Today we have “Unlisted Track” by Jawbreaker from their 1995 album “Dear You”.

Everyone tells me they’re crazy
Well crazy people aren’t so fucking boring
Wake me when your through being cool, cause I’m snoring
And hoping

Jawbreaker’s second album “Bivouac” came out just as I was getting in to punk rock.  I remember my friend Steve getting it the Spring semester of our freshman year.  It was a great album but mostly I remember it for two songs that really show off the spectrum of sounds that Jawbreaker was capable of.  First was “Chesterfield Kings” – a straight-up pop punk gem about girls and feelings and driving around and smoking.  Steve, a smoker at the time, hunted down a pack of Chesterfield Kings because of that song. Then their was the title track, “Bivouac”, a 10-minute genuinely mid-90’s style emo masterpiece.  A slow building number that starts off with the lyrics “I dug my fingers in the earth. / I drew you pictures of my pain. / They were so pretty. / They were so vain.”  Toss in some strange audio samples and a screamed BIVOUAC vocal in there and aside from a greater level of production, this song would’ve sounded right on just about any smaller emo label at that time.  Despite this, it still confounds me when people refer to Jawbreaker as an emo band; that label just never seemed appropriate to me.  Anyway, to this day these two tracks are probably my favorite Jawbreaker songs.

Despite really falling in love with some of the songs on “Bivouac”, I somehow made it through college and beyond without ever actually owning a Jawbreaker record (not completely true, I have the split 7″ with Samiam that came with a No Idea zine).  A roommate or someone always seemed to have a copy around and I had these favorite tracks on some mixtapes.

In 1994 they signed to a major label.  At this point I was beyond caring about whether a band “sold out” or not but at the same time I wasn’t really interested in buying records on major labels.  “Dear You” came out and I heard it, thought it sounded a little over produced and seemed to be lacking any edge and mostly forgot about it.  A few years back I downloaded the mp3’s for Dear You (and the rest of the Jawbreaker albums) and I have to admit there are a few good songs on it, though overall I still think it is lacking.  I never really even bothered giving Jets to Brazil (Blake Schwarzenbach’s next band) a chance.

“Unlisted Track” is one of the songs on “Dear You” that I really like.  It really doesn’t sound like any other Jawbreaker song, but it has some pretty bitter lyrics and has a catchiness that makes it a winner.  I just read a couple top-ten Jawbreaker song lists that put “Accident Prone” off “Dear You” on both lists.  That song is kinda boring if you ask me.

Conclusion: “Bivouac” and “24 Hour Revenge Theory” are both brilliant albums and you should have both of them.  “Unfun” and “Dear You”, the first and last albums respectively aren’t necessary.  Then hunt down the track “Kiss The Bottle” and you probably have all you need.

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