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Jawbox - For Your Own Special Sweetheart (Cover Artwork)

Jawbox

Jawbox: For Your Own Special SweetheartFor Your Own Special Sweetheart (1994)
Warner Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:


Contributed by: InfrareconInfrarecon
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Undoubtedly entering their recording session with Ted Buckley with a great deal to prove, primarily from being Dischord Records' first act to jump ship to the majors, Jawbox came back with For Your Own Special Sweetheart, in turn delivering their strongest album, of which continues to influence band.
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Undoubtedly entering their recording session with Ted Buckley with a great deal to prove, primarily from being Dischord Records' first act to jump ship to the majors, Jawbox came back with For Your Own Special Sweetheart, in turn delivering their strongest album, of which continues to influence bands to this day.

I am going to forgo the standard "I was surprised to see that this review wasn't on this site" intro, and the general biography of the band has already been included in my review of the Jawbox tribute. So I'll just delve right into the music. I think this album in conjunction with their second major label album Jawbox marks the pinnacle of their sound. For those uninitiated with Jawbox's music, they were a `90s post-punk band who took influence from several luminaries of the genre, such as Gang of Four, Mission of Burma, the Minutemen, and Big Black as well as fellow D.C. natives and former label-mates Fugazi. They were never ones to wear their influences on their sleeve however, creating their own unique hybrid of them instead. All of this was complimented with an additional sense of melody and their knack for writing a catchy chorus, which was doubtlessly important in helping them land that oh so controversial Atlantic recording contract. All this was anchored with the tenor of lead singer / guitarist J. Robbins, which ranged from soothing singing to a brash yell to a spoken word style. At times, this was also complimented with an inter-song vocal trade-off with guitarist / backup vocalist W.C. Barbot and at times having Barbot at the helm himself.

What was able to put this album above their rest was the ability to successfully mix angularity with melody without it seeming contrived or forced. Tracks like "LS/MFT" successfully display this with a catchy chorus smoothly integrated amongst dueling angular riffing. Some tracks find the band exploring one side of the dynamic more than the other, with starting track "FF=66" having little interjections of melody and tracks like "Savory" finding a place on alternative radio and MTV. Some additional highlights also include "Cooling Card," a medium-paced, more melodic track which keeps the flow of the album well. The album closes out with "Whitney Walks," a slow, more bass-oriented track which works well into easing the listener to the end of the album.

Various tracks on the album show J.'s borderline stream of consciousness style, which while slightly disjointed, never seems absurd or completely unable to be followed. Examples like "Falling down / Aging in place" from "U-Trau" which may seem slightly odd at face value, make perfect sense within the context of the song, a feat which many who attempt a similar style can't accomplish.

Still, I don't believe this is simply a really good album, but one that will continue to be held in high esteem, as well as serve as a benchmark for even more years to come. Due to all of this, it's very fair to say that with this album Jawbox not only made their mark on the musical landscape but were also able to easily cement their place in music history.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Jawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeBad Religion - SufferThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Weakerthans - Reconstruction SiteJawbreaker - Dear YouThe Clash - London CallingMinor Threat - Complete DiscographyBad Brains - Bad Brains

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
dboon (January 12, 2008)

very good

bytheslice (August 14, 2007)

This album is real good, but their self-titled album is better, I think.

Anonymous (July 16, 2006)

savory

Anonymous (July 13, 2006)

i never liked this album or the band. i don't think pavement or pixies are very good either. not sure what my problem is. i've tried, but they all just do nothing for me.

dinosaur jr is awesome. i would recommend that...

GreenVandal (July 11, 2006)

Shudder to Think is another great Dischord band that jumped ship for a major. They would be a good listen for those searching for more 90's post-hardcore. I also reccomend Faraquet.

notfeelingcreative (July 11, 2006)

Great band, never liked burning airlines as much, one ogfthose bands that I'm really glad I got to see before they called it quits

feeeding5000 (July 11, 2006)

Yeah, the best mid-'90s college rock album would have to be Never Again by Discharge.

Infrarecon (July 11, 2006)

I hope to see Channels at the Black Cat in Oct.

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

If you like Jawbox (which you should!)

Burning Airlines
Channels
Report Suspicious Activity
Chavez
The Life and Times
Shiner
etc

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

"mid-90s alternative college rock vibe"

I WHOLE-HEARTEDLY agree with picking up some Pavement.

Also, Pixies? Definitely up there with Pavement, many may argue better.

Pick up albums Surfer Rosa or Doolittle

-kliph

p.s., I also thought of Dinosaur Jr... epitome of 90s alternative rock i would think."

I agree with Kliph as far as the Pixies. I do think they are better than any band ever though, so I am biased. Pick up Doolittle first, because it is easily the most accesible Pixies record, although Bossanova is pretty close.

Best Pavement record is Wowee Zowee.

Dinosaur Jr. is so freaking great as well. Mascis' guitar work is insane.

Hum is a great 90's band too. And Neutral Milk Hotel. Shit, I could go on all day, but I'll stop.

sweetsuperior (July 11, 2006)

bluetip!

Inspection12e (July 11, 2006)

Burning Airlines, to the guy searching for stuff because he liked Jawbox.

Inspection12e (July 11, 2006)

Brian: Yank Crime.

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

"mid-90s alternative college rock vibe"

I WHOLE-HEARTEDLY agree with picking up some Pavement.

Also, Pixies? Definitely up there with Pavement, many may argue better.

Pick up albums Surfer Rosa or Doolittle

-kliph

p.s., I also thought of Dinosaur Jr... epitome of 90s alternative rock i would think.

Crookedsuperhero (July 11, 2006)

Hmm... i like this album, but it's definetly not perfect. Some of the songs in the middle just mess up the flow.

Still good though.

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

Classic band.
I always loved the Jawbox/Leatherface Live split.

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

great album. i listened to it last week for the first time in years thanks to seeing savory on an old episode of beavis and butthead. "butthead don't look, that's what i was gonna get you for your birthday" (when the little girl unwraps the dead dog)

as for dlj, i dig their s/t more thank yank crime, but i think swami has a new yank crime with some bonus tracks so either or is a sound buy.

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

this album is the cotton candy. My favourite Jawbox tune is still Static though.

- APK

200_Bars (July 11, 2006)

"What was able to put this album above their rest was the ability to successfully mix angularity with melody without it seeming contrived or forced."

Couldn't agree more. J. Robbins can make the most dissonant-sounding riff somehow catchy and melodic.

One of my all time favorite albums.

Archangel (July 11, 2006)

"mid-90s alternative college rock vibe"

Slanted and Enchanted or Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain by Pavement

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

great record. good review too. i could be wrong, but i think shudder to think might have beat jawbox as the first dischord to jump to a major, not that it really matters.

and i know i'm in the minority here, but as far as DLJ goes, i prefer self-titled to yank crime.

Infrarecon (July 11, 2006)

I like all their albums, but think their self-titled is pretty good too. It has far higher production values and is obscenely catchy, but still very good/underrated.

joeg (July 11, 2006)

can't go wrong with jawbox.

The_Pro_From_Dover (July 11, 2006)

Such a bitchingly awesome band.

And Robbins is a kick-ass producer too.

SalsaShark (July 11, 2006)

Jawbox kicked ass. For some reason, I always associate them with Lungfish, and I'm quite sure why.

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

just got into this record. what other bands/albums would you also suggest from that mid-90s alternative college rock vibe?

Anonymous (July 11, 2006)

I bought this for 99 cents at a used record place. Beautifully made record. Worth the 5 stars.

As for a DLJ release, check out "Yank Crime". You wouldn't be disappointed at all. After all, that's where Bullet Train To Vegas got their name.

Ramo
(Another great band)

inagreendase (July 11, 2006)

So now that I've got most of Fugazi's discog lined up, this band and Drive Like Jehu are the next in the style I've got in mind to check out. Anyone recommend a DLJ full-length over the other?

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