The Jazz June - The Medicine (Cover Artwork)

The Jazz June

The Medicine (2000)


This was bugging me for some time. That certain feeling you get when you know something is truly profound and it just amazes you on how not many know it. In this case, it's the music of the Jazz June and, in particular, their 2000 album, The Medicine. Certain albums that hold legendary status are kept tightly to those who love them dearly. I guess that's why they are legendary. You know--albums like Pinkerton, Clarity and Dear You, which, frankly, came from that certain time when the term "emo" wasn't such a derogative term. In recent times, there has been this huge Indiana Jones treasure-hunting cult going on where people go long distances on the internet to find these hidden gems. Blogspots and forums devote much space to those who are pursuing this "mecca" of music, and if you try hard enough, you will find plenty to go around. What I'm getting at here is that I've done so much searching that sometimes I let things fall between the cracks and this album was one of them. Oh, how glad I am that I finally found it!!!

The Jazz June had evolved into a much more creative force when they released this album. Their musical skills had greatly improved as well as their rhythms and dynamics. But, what I most want to point out is the songwriting. It has gone on to become one of my favorite albums base solely on lyrics alone. Take the title track, for instance, which has this honest account: "Speaking the world's worth of insignificance / Guess I should have left left-alone unsaid / 'Cause it's been cold / Cold as forever / On this forever afternoon." Not to get all uptight about everything, but lyrics like that become as clear as day when you overanalyze on things and relate it to your own personal life.

The highlight of the album is always the following song, which is called, "At the Artists' Leisure Part 2." I can't help but crumble when the song builds up to the chorus and the lyrics, "You don't go to sleep at night / and you lay there with your eyes / peeled and wide to the ceiling." The vocals remind me of singers like Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Adam Lazzara on their good days, and then there are the melodies played to near-perfection by the guitarists. This has a bit of that Midwest indie/'90s emo sound, but not so much that it's aping it. It actually comes down as sometimes bleak and harsh, but then smooth and gentle. Slight comparisons back to Pinkerton and Dear You for reference.

And that's it, really. If you dig bands like the Casket Lottery, Jimmy Eat World, Jawbreaker, Piebald and early Taking Back Sunday, then perhaps this will find a special place in your music world. A nice find indeed...