Jawbreaker - Etc. (Cover Artwork)


Etc. (2002)


My review of this album is considerably biased, because yes, Jawbreaker is one of my favorite bands of all time. No, really. Blake's lyrics have always managed to incite that feeling of profound understanding in me to the point where, if I were in high school, my notebook would probably have Jawbreaker and Jets to Brazil quotes all over it. They're the kind of lyrics where you sit around in your apartment and drink a six pack of Leinenkeugel's all alone and every once in a while raise your luke warm bottle and say "hell yeah, man, right on" out loud before slipping back out of immediate consciousness. The music also has quite a bit to it, especially for the genre. Take it from me, when the vast majority of bands you listen to brag about how few chords they can write a song around, the subtle complexities and dark but catchy harmonies Jawbreaker offers come as a real breath of fresh air. If anything, Jawbreaker deserves some sort of punk music medal of honor for not sounding like Bad Religion, NOFX, the Ramones, OR the Germs. I mean, I know it's sad, but that's quite an accomplishment.

Although this is technically an anthology album (which is evil by definition), it's not really. Collected here are all the band's 7"s, EPs, and compilation tracks. Pretty much your typical run of the mill collection type stuff, really. However, they went so far as to toss on a couple tracks that had never been used before on anything, which is quite exciting, all things considered. They wrote track by track commentray on each song, and though it was rare anything mind bogglingly relevant or even interesting was said, I must give points for effort, as I've never even seen that done before. The final touch was having Aaron Cometbus do the lettering for all the lyrics, which they also cared enough about us uber-nerdy types to include.

So anyhow, I'm sure anyone out there who cares even the slightest about music knows exactly what this sounds like. The first X songs sound like their first album, the second X songs sound like their second, and so forth. It is usually very difficult to listen to a collection like this with the frequency one would dedicate to a more traditional LP, as the lack in consistency, while definately interesting, is very trying. But this is to be said of every compilation, and my bothering to nitpick about it here is basically a waste of yours and my time. As far as 7"/comp tracks collections go, this is one of the best I've heard. Ever. Like I say, Jawbreaker rocks, and with the exception of a few tracks I could have gone my entire life without hearing ("With or Without U2" sounds like the band asking people to hate them), this is an easy way to fill in all those gaps in my record collection.

My assessment of this album is nothing new, that's for sure: If you've never heard Jawbreaker before, you're better off just buying all their albums in order. If you ARE a Jawbreaker fan, then you already own this CD and are only reading this review in hopes that I'll mention that "Caroline", contained herein, is one of the group's most amazing songs ever. Blah blah blah blah. Do you smell something burning?