A Narrative: Shipboard Cook

Third Eye Blind was one of the quintessential bands of the 90s. Everyone and their mother sang along to the “doo doo doo”s of “Semi-Charmed Life” and can instantly finish the line “I wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend…” Most people alive during the last twenty years could probably name you a few songs by the San Francisco-based band. Their poppy, upbeat brand of alternative rock was almost always backed by despondent, melancholic lyrics; it was their niche, and it was what made their 1997 self-titled debut one of the best of the decade. Even as their popularity waned, they still made quality music, and 18 years later, Third Eye Blind are still alive and kicking.

Dopamine, titled after the chemical inside the brain that activates during happiness, shares many qualities with its namesake. There are some upbeat, bouncy, energetic tracks that have the classic Third Eye Blind sound and feel straight from the 90s. Even at 50, Stephan Jenkins still sounds like he did in his prime, rattling off lyrics about heartbreak with tons of emotion in his voice. The band’s knack for counteracting energetic instrumentation with lyrics about lost love and post-breakup depression is still in full throttle. Although Ursa Major was a little inconsistent at times, Dopamine is a better listen that benefits from superior songwriting.

For a while, fans of Third Eye Blind were convinced that they were never going to get a follow-up to Ursa Major – after all, it came out seven years ago, and the band’s promises of releasing new material never came to fruition until now. Stephan Jenkins can still sing with emotion and write one hell of a song. Overall, Dopamine is a great listen.  In fact the material is some of the best the band has ever put out.

- Tony Hanna, 3EB Expert