No band does angry like Blue October and if someone does, I have yet to hear them. Sure there are other angry bands out there, but not many of them can be as articulate as Justin, the lead singer for Blue October. I remember going to some of my first Blue October shows and watching what looked like a nervous breakdown happen on stage everytime I saw them. That nervous breakdown was done in a way that made the show interesting and helped you feel exactly what Justin must have been going through when he wrote some of the songs that grace his lips.
Back in 2000, Blue October got signed to Universal Records. They did some touring and released an album that was basically their best work to date, Consent to Treatment. It did not take long for the band to be dropped from Universal after a poor single choice and poor marketing. This led the band to fire a guitar player, hire a new guitar player, and release a new album entitled History for Sale. The original release of History for Sale was on independent label Brando Records (it was later re-released on Universal). The album was a mix of songs about heartbreak, new beginnings, and anger towards the label that dropped them. The most obvious track of all of these is the song “Somebody” and it is an angry little tune.
The song “Somebody” works on a lot of levels because while you can tell that its obvious subject matter is the record label, it can also be taken from a former lover’s perspective. Everyone has felt this way at some point over an ex-girl/boyfriend. You can tell that Justin has some left over feelings about a lot of things when he sings “I only wanted to be somebody, so f**king bad I came unglued” and you can feel that anger at someone too when you hear it. It almost instantly makes you think about a lot of situations in your life, with one line. And that is amazing. To be a popular songwriter, the key is to write songs that are relateable on different levels so that different people can connect. For some reason, Blue October has been able to write songs like this for the better part of a decade, but only recently found success.
Other honourable mentions from History for Sale include: “Razorblade”, “Sexual Powertrip (One Big Lie)”, and “Amazing”.
“Somebody” lyrics after the jump…
by Blue October
From the Album “History for Sale”
So you dropped me
Held me by my feet and let me go
I fell between the seat, but nothing broke
I’ve yet to feel that brilliant afterglow
The one I knew of years ago
Now I’m twisted
Twisted from the waist and spun around
Promised only sky but given ground
Realized the makeup is for a clown
The clown I knew of months ago
I only wanted to be somebody
So fucking bad, I came unglued
I only wanted to be somebody
So here we are now, face to face
And I’m fucking you
So you caught me!
Wishing I were better than the rest
You hit me and left bruises on my chest
And when I wouldn’t cheat
I spit upon your test
The test I tore up weeks ago
And now my fist is
My fist is for your face to cock the jaw
When I begin to rise, you start to fall
Now you know how it feels to drop the ball
The ball I threw back days ago
So I’ll just stand right here for now
I should have won, but how?
I break a smart ass grin
Who let the loser win?
Let’s break a smart ass grin
Let’s let the losers win!