From the beginning to the end of their self-titled debut, you find yourself sucked into the intoxicating music. The San Francisco Bay Area group's album contains 14 songs: 10 co-written by the multi-talented lead singer Stephan Jenkins and the guitarist Kevin Cadogan, and four penned by Jenkins, who also produced the album (a rarity for a debut album). If you like alternative music, you will certainly enjoy this album. The record contains in-your-face lyrics (all written by Jenkins) and a variety of rhythms. Their first single, "Semi-charmed Life," stayed at the top of Billboard's modern rock chart for ten weeks, winning them a Billboard Music Award. There are more songs like "Semi-charmed Life" on the album (for example, "Losing A Whole Year"), as well as four slower closing songs. These slow songs, "I Want You," "The Background," "Motorcycle Drive-By" and "God of Wine" give you a glimpse into Jenkins's past. "Motorcycle Drive-By," a favorite of mine, was written by Jenkins on his way home after breaking up with his girlfriend. It describes the story of a break-up and how the narrator reconciles himself. In the end, the narrator paddles out into the San Francisco surf.
The album contains no throw-away songs, no filler, and is simply a terrific album. The band has appeared on numerous talk shows, including Conan O'Brien, Keenan, and Letterman. Recently they appeared on the MTV show, "Road Rules," in an episode about their song "Jumper" and teen suicide. If things continue this way, these four guys will be riding their wave of hard-earned success into the new millennium. For now, you can catch them on tour with Smashmouth as they hit major cities all over the USA. .
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.