San Francisco's Jawbreaker straddled a pivotal moment when emo was a "core": halfway between insult and genre, hardcore and pop, underground and mainstream. Their lyrics stressed both punk principles and emotional outpourings.
Their music was furious but catchy, with a set of mannerisms that flowed smoothly into indie-rock, pop-punk, and alt-rock: palm-muted power chords laced with bright octaves Jawbreaker - Unfun harmonics; guitar leads rounding off into whistling feedback; counter-melodic bass lines; and epic Jawbreaker - Unfun with arty sampled monologues. They had lofty ideals, but their songs walked around on the streets, sullen and pissed, with fresh scabs and dog-eared volumes of Bukowski in their back pockets.
The phrase "emo-core" itself is a problematic compromise between hardcore and pop-- an angst-inducing identity for a young band. Blake Schwarzenbach was 22 when Jawbreaker's debut, Unfuncame out, and this was but one of the pressures that drove him. Recriminating tunefully through a shredded throat, he calibrated himself against a punk scene and adult world of coequal injustice. Jawbreaker - Unfun was Jawbreaker's punkest record, but he feared it wasn't punk enough: "Sorry we ain't hard enough to piss your parents off," he snipped on "Incomplete".
His fretful intelligence often led him to dispense free psychological evaluations and strawman parables. There are many issues-based songs: "Softcore" is anti-porn, and "Seethruskin" Prey - Enabler - La Fin Absolue Du Monde anti-racism.
It gets almost Orwellian: "Don't think that I ain't counting all the things you do," Schwarzenbach bristles in scene-cop mode. He always loved those sassy "ain'ts. Yet the music itself is irrepressibly fun. Drummer Adam Pfahler was a fucking behemoth, a whiz Jawbreaker - Unfun galloping toms and breathtakingly long fills. And Schwarzenbach's prickliness was ultimately sympathetic, because it stemmed from a vulnerability he laid bare in songs like "Want", where dark secrets are exorcised in the name of love.
He's looking for survivors, imploring on "Busy", "We're all close to the end; don't you need Jawbreaker - Unfun friend? By 's major-label but still-fierce swan song, Dear YouJawbreaker seemed wholly out of step with the scene that revered them; a broken lineage made painfully clear by the terrible cover versions modern emo bands produce. Schwarzenbach managed one pretty great album Jawbreaker - Unfun Jets to Brazil, Orange Rhyming Dictionarybefore petering out into mojo-less soft rock.
With reunion and documentary rumors rumbling, Jawbreaker is primed for renewed attention, though one wonders what emo fans raised on Dashboard Confessional, Warped Tour, and Vagrant Records will make of their pinched, petulant sound. Regardless, the original music stands tall. On UnfunJawbreaker's conviction that punk could open up to pop while staying hardcore burns more urgently than ever, in the retrospective light of futility.
Skip to content Search query All Results. Pitchfork is the most trusted voice in music. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Open share drawer.
Stronger - Britney Spears - The Best Of The Best, Melba (Part 3) - Rickey Smiley - Off The Hook Volume IV, Όμορφη Μέρα - Blaine L. Reininger - Manic Man, Auslese - Radikahl - Wir Geben Niemals Auf (Box Set, LP, Album, Album)