Perfect Song Thursday: Third Eye Blind – “Motorcycle Drive By”

So, I mentioned yesterday that I love Third Eye Blind.  I grew up with them, learned most of their lyrics, and they are one of my best friends’ favorite band.  Needless to say, they come on a lot.  Being that it’s Perfect Song Thursday, I figured I should do a post on one of their greatest, if not best song, “Motorcycle Drive By.”  Where to begin with this song– okay, I got it!

Stephan Jenkins is one of the best songwriters on Earth, hands down.  As a bona-fide English major, his lyrics are introspective, complex, verbose, and grandiose.  He can take a simple subject like love and flip it upside down, onto its side, inside out, and all within three minutes.  Listen to their first album, because it’s amazing.  In fact, all of their albums are amazing.  Lots of love is what I have for this band, even if Stephan himself is widely known to be an asshole (my friend who loves him met him recently, after waiting for an hour, and he told him to go to the back of the line because some girls wanted to talk to him instead).  That doesn’t detract anything from this song, though.  Here’s why…

Reasons the song is fantastic are numerous.  First off, not many songs can start with a beautiful acoustic ballad, transition to a full on rock song, then drop out at the moment of most tension straight back into the beautiful song it started out as.  “Motorcycle Drive By” does this in four minutes, all while telling one of the most sad and truthful stories ever I have ever had the pleasure of reading.  Even Explosions in the Sky take ten minutes to create a buildup this cataclismic.  And they don’t even have a story to back it up.  The face to face feeling of loving somebody and knowing you can’t ever have them, for whatever reason, is not comparable to any other emotion.  It is a completely different category.  Another friend of mine told me how the emotions he felt after his father was murdered were just as strong, though in a totally different sense, as the emotions he felt going through a breakup with someone he cared for.  He’s completely right.  The self doubt and regret in situations of that sort is unbelievable, and only after you’ve gone through that can you truly understand it, and avoid falling into a situation where it occurs again.

Digression. Back to the song now.  Another huge reason for this song’s greatness is the descriptive quality of the lyrics.  Metaphors intermingle with basic observations to the point that they intertwine with one another.  The lyrics are posted after the jump, and I urge you to read them.  It’s pure poetry.  I hate poetry, so there’s a testament to how moving it is.  At the same time as he’s describing where he is and the situation, he tells us why he feels how he does.  His dreams are too big, and she simply doesn’t fit in them.  She is a moment in time to him, and she has passed.  It’s like a memory he’s revisiting; haunting, but glorious.  He describes how amazing this person is, how she fits so perfectly into his world, and hopes she’ll remember him.  He says he’s never been so alone as right then, and in that moment of intense emotion, he has never felt so alive.  So human, so vulnerable, so miserable.  The feeling of rather not existing than feeling that way.  If you haven’t been there, then you don’t understand just yet.

Then he moves on to the real life quality of their relationship, how they don’t belong together, how they want things they can’t give each other.  There’s a burning, of excitement, fear, hope, loneliness, and regret all at the same time.  Then he becomes spiteful, and starts hating the world around him.  It’s the world’s fault, not his, not hers, just the circumstance.  He comes to the conclusion that they’ll never be friends, that he’ll get past her, that she will forget him.  No somber memories, no nothing.  He paddles out to go surfing, forgetting her while keeping her locked away forever, avoiding the feelings that come with the thoughts and memories.  He’s never felt so alone, and he has never felt so alive.  Wow…

Third Eye Blind – Motorcycle Drive By
Summer time and the wind is blowing outside
In lower Chelsea and I don’t know
What I’m doing in this city
The sun is always in my eyes
It crashes through the windows
And I’m sleeping on the couch
When I came to visit you
That’s when I knew
That I could never have you
I knew that before you did
Still I’m the one who’s stupid

And there’s this burning
Like there’s always been
I’ve never been so alone
And I’ve never been so alive

Visions of you on a motorcycle drive by
The cigarette ash flies in your eyes
And you don’t mind, you smile.
And say the world, it doesn’t fit with you
I don’t believe you, you’re so serene
Careening through the universe
Your axis on a tilt, you’re guiltless and free
I hope you take a piece of me with you

And there’s things I would like to do
That you don’t believe in
I would like to build something
But you’ll never see it happen

And there’s this burning
Like there’s always been
I’ve never been so alone
And I’ve, I’ve never been so alive

And there’s this burning, aaa-oh
There is this burning, yeah yeah yeah

Where’s the soul I want to know
New York City is evil
The surface is everything
But I could never do that
Someone would see through that

And this is our last time
We’ll be friends again
I’ll get over you, you’ll wonder who I am

And there’s this burning
Just like there’s always been
I’ve never been so alone, alone
And I, and I, I’ve never been so alive
So alive

I go home to the coast
It starts to rain I paddle out on the water, alone
Taste the salt and taste the pain
I’m not thinking of you again

Summer dies and swells rise
The sun goes down in my eyes
See this rolling wave
Darkly coming to take me home

And I’ve never been so alone
And I’ve never been so alive


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