Perhaps you heard about Third Eye Blind’s big moment in Cleveland last week during the RNC and are wondering when Stephan Jenkins and friends became so socially conscious. The answer is that Third Eye Blind have always been socially conscious. Social consciousness has been part of their brand from the beginning. You may recall that “Semi Charmed Life” is about drug addiction, and “Jumper” is an anti-suicide anthem. You may not recall that they released a song in 2008 called “Non-Dairy Creamer” that compared fake relationships to various artificial foodstuffs — “What’s it gonna be/ Are you real to me/ Or are you non-dairy creamer?” — then veered toward this climactic passage about gay marriage:
And two gay guys got married
That brought the family to its knees
How did they blow this to smithereens?
Just a couple of queens
How did they do it I’ll tell you now
They brought marriage to an end
And I found myself some culprits
It’s two young gay Republicans
It’s a real song, and you can hear it right here:
If you are aware of “Non-Dairy Creamer,” you may have already come to the conclusion that Third Eye Blind are a little too socially conscious for their own good. And if you’ve heard “Cop V Phone Girl,” the song 3EB premiered at EW today, you may conclude that Jenkins is so woke he’s gone all the way back around to sleep again.
The song, which is streaming below, comes out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which is great! But it’s handled so bluntly that what should be a meaningful declaration of support ends up sounding like a joke (or, perhaps worse, a standup comedy routine). One key lyric: “Why’s it so hard to say Black Lives Matter?/ It doesn’t mean that you’re anti-white/ Take it from me, I’m super fucking white.” Or how about this gem: “So I take it in my hands/ I talk about this shit in my rock band/ And I got black fans, and I got fans with suntans/ We all have the same demands.” Listen if you dare.
It’s wild to hear “White Privilege II“-level bars delivered in the same adolescent singsong that brought you “How’s It Gonna Be.” And yeah, the tone of “Cop V Phone Girl” makes it feel less like a step toward social harmony than a song about what a forward-thinking humanitarian Stephan Jenkins is. But hey, if it convinces one person to forsake their willfully ignorant and/or racist All Lives Matter rhetoric in favor of empathy, then I suppose zany-woke is better than no woke at all.