Jawbreaker: Dear You 12"

DGC Records


One of the most popular and successful underground bands of the early/mid-'90s, California's Jawbreaker was comprised of Blake Schwarzenbach (guitar, vocals), Chris Bauermeister (bass) and Adam Pfahler (drums). The band melded raw vocals, a driving rhythm section and grinding guitar with complex song structures and literary lyrics, forging a distinctive style that has since, along with Schwarzenbach's subsequent band Jets to Brazil, influenced a generation of independent music. Jawbreaker's only major label album Dear You was originally released in September of 1995 and would serve as the band's fourth and final full-length studio effort. UMe is pleased to reissue Jawbreaker's seminal '90's swan song, which many say helped usher in the next wave of emo and the pop-punk sound. This collectible release is finally back in print and will be pressed on colored vinyl.

Our take: In a month that has seen a heaping helping of great new punk releases I find myself completely stuck on this reissue of Jawbreaker's swan song. I won't pretend that I was a cool enough teenager to dismiss this as "not punk" back in the day. I remember seeing the "Fireman" video on MTV and I had this little 3-song cassingle for that track that I rarely listened to, but really Jawbreaker weren't on my radar until several years later. Even once I came to know and love their first three albums in my later teens and 20s, I never really revisited Dear You, at least not very often. I remember selling my CD copy on ebay for a very inflated price and not missing it one bit. But this month it's been a staple of my listening diet. I really have no idea why. I mean, I can point to all of the things that I like about it: the clever little songwriting ideas that seem to jam-pack every song, the perfect, Nevermind-esque production, the big hooks, and of course Blake's distinctive lyrics, which always seem to occupy this space that's right on the edge of utterly brilliant and total pretentious garbage. But, mostly, I'm just perplexed as to why Dear You is hitting me so hard right now. I think part of it is just this sense of wonder at how different the mid-90s punk scene was to today, and despite the inherent limitations of the perspective this is about as perfect a window onto that scene and all of its brilliance, foibles, and pitfalls as you'll find. Oh, and by the way this is an official reissue on DGC, who I guess took the license back from the band, who until fairly recently had been pressing a 2xLP version on their own Blackball label. This goes back to a single LP with the original track listing and even gives us some nice blue splatter vinyl in homage to the rare original pressing.
Tags: 90s emo gb325 melodic pop-punk reissues yoobl