Release Date: 1996, July 2
Label: Atlantic/TAG / City Slang
The first Jawbox record I ever heard. It honestly took me way too long to “get” this record. I should have trusted my friend Danielle Thompson when she told me how good this band was. She tried repeatedly to get me to go see this band with her. I passed each time. At one point I think I even bought this on CD expecting to love it. But I didn’t. So the next time she asked me to go see Jawbox with her I passed again. A few months later, for reasons unknown, I listened to this album again. And again. And again. Finally it clicked. And it didn’t just click… we’re talking planets aligning clicking. From there I decided to check out more of the band’s discography and INSTANTLY fell in love with their For Your Own Special Sweetheart record. Here begins my bittersweet obsession with this band. I called my friend Danielle right away and informed her that the next time Jawbox came through town I would be joining her. Only, there wouldn’t be another opportunity. The band had recently called it quits. This would be the case with a lot of bands I would discover in the times since this moment. But I don’t think any hit as hard as this. FYOSS remains my favorite album by the band but it holds that distinction barely above the self titled record. “Absenter” may be my favorite Jawbox song (although FYOSS b-side “68” is a strong contender). “Desert Sea” and “Capillary Life” are also very special compositions that state the case for this record. In retrospect this is a fitting end for the band. They had definitely mastered their craft on this record and put out one of the most criminally underrated statements in modern rock. Adding insult to injury, it is well-known the shit job Atlantic did in handling this record. I prefer the record prior due to it being a bit more raw (although some would argue it’s way more polished than their Dischord releases) but here, the quartet refined their craft to its sharpest point. The front cover design definitely suffers from a bit of dating and is easily identified as a product of the 90’s - but I do love the flowers coming out of the opposite side of the head of the fingers making a gun that cleverly mimics someone’s brains being blown out. It’s such a clever play with imagery befitting the imagery that is born within the bands lyrical word play and metaphorical landscape.
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