Jets to Brazil
Orange Rhyming Dictionary (Jade Tree Records)
My favorite album is Orange Rhyming Dictionary by Jets To Brazil. The band was fronted by Blake Schwarzenbach who formed the band after Jawbreaker disbanded, along with members of Texas Is the Reason. Upon first hearing the record I was mostly drawn to the final song “Sweet Avenue,” which I would consider my favorite song of all time. It is an album I have come back to over and over again in my life and shaped who I would become. I stole the record from an ex-girlfriend. She had been given the CD by her then boyfriend but admittedly didn’t care for it. I noticed that her boyfriend had circled the last song on the record, in an attempt to show her that he felt this song was meaningful to them. This in a way made me jealous as she was no longer interested in me. So having seen this I decided to steal it. I had no idea that I would fall in love with this record. It is a very dark record, mostly outlining Schwarzenbach’s depressive mood after a failed relationship both with a girlfriend and with his former band.
The lyrical content is what always stuck with me. In my darkest times as a teenager I turned to this record to mirror the emotions I had on the inside but was unable to disect or understand. Following 9/11 and the death of a friend during my senior in high school, I would listen to this daily. He was a real life, modern day Bukowski for me. The embodiment of romantic ideas of tragedy and loss. How the loneliness and desperation we feel make us feel more alive than anything else. In a way this record is my Catcher In The Rye, the moment I left my innocence behind for the larger world of loss and exploration. Schwarzenbach’s ability to describe the world through metaphors and paint a picture that both lets the listener experience his emotions but leaves room for ones own interpretation is unmatched. Is it the greatest record of all time? No. But it is the record that changed my life and I love it more than any other piece of music. The stand out tracks for me are “Chinatown”, “Sea Anemone”, “Sweet Avenue” and “Starry Configurations.”
Senses Fail plays with Hot Mulligan and Yours Truly at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 18 at the Regent.