Dear You

March 19, 2009

Here it is, finally, the start of my music reviewing madness which will probably reach an insane point during the summer when I’ve got way too much time on my hands. I’m mostly concerned with just talking about some of the albums I love or am listening to at the time. Also, I realize that my reviewing skills are fairly amateur, but hey, I gotta learn somewhere!

Jawbreaker’s Dear You is by far my most listened to album, according to last.fm. It has over 1,300 minutes of listening time from the original alone (I say original because I bought the newer edition with bonus tracks, which last.fm has been registering as a different album.). 1,300 minutes is about equivalent to 21 and a half hours. Add another quarter of that time, and you’re pushing 26 hours, and this is just the “registered” stuff from my computer. That doesn’t even include listening to it on my iPod or CD player at home. So why the hell do I listen to this so much?

Jawbreaker represents one of my favourite styles of music. The early 90’s wave of punk/emo/indie whatever the hell you want to call it, is probably my favourite “genre” ever. Bands like Jawbreaker, Cap’n Jazz, Braid have this amazing feeling of pure emotion that I can’t describe. The music of Jawbreaker, is relatively simple punk rock. The words are fairly simple as well, but Blake Schwarzenbach crafts them like a genius.

Dear You was, the last studio album of the band, and their first and only major label debut. I know it’s probably not hip to like a band’s most mainstream release the most, but I don’t care. I like this album because I like every song on it. Every one. Sure, there’s favourites, like “Fireman” and “Save Your Generation”, but I can honestly say that I love every song on here. Not to mention the already noted “bonus track” version I picked up, which has (dare I say it?) a better version of Boxcar than the original on 24 Hour Revenge Therapy.

Being a major label release, the biggest difference between this album and the others by Jawbreaker is probably the production. Blake’s voice is a lot clearer than his former raspy recordings. Just listen to Unfun, and then Dear You and you’ll hear what I mean. In this case though, crisp production helps the music, the guitars full and loud adding extra “oomph” to every song. Not to say I’m not a fan of “rougher’ production values, I mean, I listen to black metal which at times can sound like plugging your guitar into a toaster in the middle of a hurricane. While you’re on fire.

What keeps this record going is the fact that it’s a great combination of catchy songs mixed with gritty punk attitude, almost wavering between the radio friendly camp and the underground collective. If you’re any kind of fan of rock, punk, or just good music in general, you owe it to yourself to listen to this album.

For the tl;dr crowd:

Standout Tracks (personal favourites) – Save Your Generation, Fireman, Accident Prone, Basilica

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