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“Eve 6’s Songs from Their Four Studio Albums, Rated Madden-Style and Ranked”

Ok I just have to introduce this list (which is purely based on my opinion, no outside source) with a funny dream I had about Max Collins. I was standing with him and some other rough, mean country looking dude out in the country, who was one of Collins’ friends. There was a pickup truck parked about six feet behind Collins, who was standing on this dirt road. All of a sudden the truck started moving knocking Collins to the ground. Not only was he not hurt, then, but he got up laughing, joking about it, and his head was all of a sudden shaped like a football.

So you might say this is good football pump-up music, with that season coming up. “Inside out,” as it turns out, was a radio staple the Fall of my Freshman year in high school. I’d hear it alongside Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper” every night on the “Hot Nine at Nine” on U93. It might be a case where older people think the music is whiny, simplistic or pretty-boy, and younger people find it too self-deprecating, but I guess late-’90s alt-rock is just my guilty pleasure and it’s just supremely the music of my times, of my particular age group. One thing I certainly hope will shine through is the sense of humor, the ability to make fun of oneself, drawing in musical influence heavily from Green Day but also, like Billie Joe, having a really distinct voice that’s immediately recognizable and a characteristic style that makes the music meaningful in its own way.

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1 “Inside out” (Eve 6) – 96

This is where it all started, no doubt: played alongside Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper” on mainstream radio (at this point rock with actual drummers was the mainstream), borrowed in lyrics for Limp Bizkit’s “Nookie” and generally just being endlessly funny, catchy and ultimately, supremely playable and enjoyable, “Inside out” is the band’s most famous song, a classic staple of late-’90s comedy and catchiness and probably still underrated if only for the fact that more people have probably heard it than know who the he** Eve 6 is.

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2 “At Least We’re Dreaming” (It’s All in Your Head) – 95

Now my sadness is only growing listening to this song again, partly for sympathizing with Max Collins’ situation of loneliness and disaffection and partly because this should be such popular, universally enjoyable music but radio rock in the early ’00s was so caught up in the military and the meat-headed, arguably in fact the start of this whole “politically correct” trend in our culture which has now ballooned out to such grotesque proportions.

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3 “Hey Montana” (It’s All in Your Head) – 91

I’m obviously giving a pretty inconspicuous endorsement to It’s All in Your Head on this list — like I allude to part of its error was in sequencing, which I mention earlier, as well as just alt-rock being very out of trend in 2003 (I think I remember that douche bag Vince Vaughn trying to rip on the style in that crappy movie Old School, come to think of it).

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4 “There’s a Face” (Eve 6) – 90

Ah, what would a ’90s song be without the derisive reference to “Muzak,” or however the he** you spell it (which of course would devolve sort of sadly into Beck’s 2006 plea to “Put the elevator music on”). Anyway, this is a great song toward the end of Eve 6 with a classic chorus proviso of a sharp, tense chord progression that ties the whole thing together perfectly.

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5 “Good Lives” (It’s All in Your Head) – 89

This actually would have made a good opener on It’s All in Your Head and truth be told some record exec. or else producer Greg Wattenberg oughta be slapped for the sequencing job on this album (people weren’t putting much clout in alternative rock in 2003, let’s be honest). But it’s creative for its repetition in the verse of the main theme of “Promise that forever / We will never get better / At growing up and learning to lie”. The song slows down into a slightly more despondent chorus but by this time its presence has been felt, typifying the band’s nice sense of balance, in the process.

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6 “Promise” (Horrorscope) – 88

In many ways Collins’ knack for allowing relationship matters to unabashedly dissolve into a comedic and laughable spectacle came to a classic head on this cut, as even before the hilarious chorus to accompany an awesome music video he’s already quipping that “I’ve got some ends who say they care / And they just might”, referring to them as “ends” perhaps as a double entendre illustrating what exactly he’s looking for out of these individuals, or maybe that’s just my own vulgar assessment of what’s going on.

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7 “Arch Drive Goodbye” (It’s All in Your Head) – 87

I just listened to this song over again and a minute and a half through, I thought I’d heard the main theme and almost wondered to myself why I’d ranked it so high — then shockingly it gains momentum and snowballs into this rocking chorus with a sort of half-rapped, half-sung vocal on Collins’ part mimicking “Inside out” toward the end. Also the lyrics seem so complex as to almost obviate that life is a practical joke played on the liver (that’s the person doing the living, although it could come at the internal organ’s expense too, as is also explicated within said song), albeit sometimes an entertaining one.

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“Enemy” (Horrorscope) – 87

The “chewing on some sugar free gum” line does it for me. Just kidding but this is obviously a catchy and infectious tune gluing together what’s I think a rather underrated and listenable sophomore album, full best of all of Collins’ signature dark humor: “If I die before I leave / Tell her I’ll never leave her”.

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9 “Jet Pack” (Horrorscope) – 85

And here we get the classic roasting of a closet bi who’s really getting under Max Collins’ skin with his clinginess and refusal to take interest in the “gorgeous 20-something” alone with him in the bar. Is it hateful? He** no it’s not hateful and neither is it politically correct but it stands as a kind reminder of a time when you could voice things like these and illustrate how it is a comedic scenario, not necessarily the breaking of somebody’s poor glass menagerie heart, which such a cultural skirmish would be made out as today.

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“Open Road Song” (Eve 6) – 85

As far as lyrical performances go, this one might be Max Collins’ most MEMORABLE in terms of marking the exact spot at which he came closest to going completely insane, the constant self-contradiction (“I sound better than him anyway any day / My voice is sweet as salt”), the unabashed endorsement of just getting in your car and going 80 as a way of pulling you out of a shi**y mood. Eh, it is LA. That is the way of the land out there, so they say.

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11 “Amphetamines” (Horrorscope) – 84

Sort of a sister song to the similarly energetic “Nocturnal,” “Amphetamines” races along like spunky power pop on a considerable amount of caffeine, and you’ve gotta like the camaraderie with an ex of the whole deal “Let me know you’re alright… Then we’ll go about our separate lives”.

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“Showerhead” (Eve 6) – 84

In a way it’s funny going back to this band’s very early work and examining it because like I suggest on this list, Max Collins really did progress as a songwriter and a person for the ensuing albums. Here I guess is a bit of immature erotica, but at least it’s laced with that quintessential white boy alt-rock frustration we know and love, and which Collins was certainly capable of perfecting, when he put his mind to it.

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13 “Friend of Mine” (It’s All in Your Head) – 83

Like the excellent “Wounded” by Third Eye Blind, “Friend of Mine” materializes as a song that’s sympathizing with a rape victim. They’re both pretty different songs, really, but similar for the fact that when you truly digest them they make you put down all the other thoughts you were having and subsume yourself in this overarching sadness, which surely they’re supposed to do at their hearts.

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“Think Twice” (It’s All in Your Head) – 83

“Think Twice” is placed second on It’s All in Your Head, which without question is a very unorthodox positioning for a ballad which opens with this hopelessly delicate guitar dual with one of them evaporating up into this theremin-like tone, which I’m guessing is the work of some effects pedal. Collins comes in genuinely melancholy on this tune, befitting of the instrumentation but perhaps further debilitating this album from receiving the critical acclaim it indeed deserved.

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15 “Bring the Night on” (It’s All in Your Head) – 82

The chorus of this song is so busy and verbose that at first I thought it was about approaching a guy for fighting him, but then the subject matter gave way to a love interest, making it of course all the more confusing when the chorus materializes as “Turn the light off / Leave me where I lay”. Yes, Max Collins always had a knack for keeping us guessing which is one thing we love about him.

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“Girlfriend” (It’s All in Your Head) – 82

Showing off the versatility of It’s All in Your Head a little bit, “Girlfriend” opens with this beautiful synth which gives way to plucked acoustic guitar calling to mind Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” just a little bit. Strings then take prominence late in the verse but a throaty, treated and dubbed backing vocal helps to keep things just organic enough.

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“Nocturnal” (Horrorscope) – 82

An undeniably rocking tune full of a great kinetic energy, “Nocturnal” helps to glue together Horrorscope’s stylistically conventional but consistent midsection, with a chorus that seems to explode into a post-chorus bridge (there so I guess it’s not THAT conventional, thankfully).

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18 “Curtain” (Speak in Code) – 81

“Curtain” is the opener on the band’s solid 2012 return to form Speak in Code and seems to be a sad sort of kiss-off to some male individual in his professional life. I was looking at Eve 6’s lineup through the years and it’s been the same three guys for their albums, so maybe this song is dedicated to some rep at RCA, which according to Wikipedia they left for Fearless after It’s All in Your Head.

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19 “Here’s to the Night” (Horrorscope) – 80

In fact, although this song came out on 2000’s Horrorscope, it would go on to soundtrack our 2002 high school prom and be sort of our class’s theme song. In general, my high school time was sort of cloaked in sadness, with Columbine happening my freshman year and 9/11 my senior, and to this day Collins’ words of “Tomorrow’s gonna come too soon” still seem to ring so true, with the impending war, downturn in the economy and, in my personal life, boarding up of lots of record stores I used to frequent and really love.

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“Moon” (Speak in Code) – 80

Here the guitar part takes on a very beautiful tone reminiscent of Dire Straits or maybe Kevin Cadogan’s work on Third Eye Blind’s Blue — in a way the whole thing’s ruined by that re-recorded snare stuff which is a total played out gimmick by this time but again this project earmarks Collins’ bionic supply of poetic relationship material, even featuring the sort of rapid delivery that seems to suggest that once it’s gone he’ll just accumulate more.

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21 “Not Gonna Be Alone Tonite” (It’s All in Your Head) – 79

It’s funny how on all these songs the intros seem to sound so different — here we have basically a little swatch of grunge, hard music played to a slow tempo as Kurt Cobain once put it, and all throughout that guitar tone remains amazingly full and rich and the chord progression brilliant, pillaring the exorbitantly underrated It’s All in Your Head very nicely.

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“Situation Infatuation” (Speak in Code) – 79

“Situation Infatuation” almost opens like a gutbucket, power chord sort of Stooges song, nicely showcasing the band’s plurality of influences within alternative rock. Then again we get that charming vulnerability and brutal honesty and from there things just snowball into a classic Eve 6 song on 2012’s precocious comeback album Speak in Code.

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“Still Here Waiting” (It’s All in Your Head) – 79

“Still Here Waiting” romps in furiously with a roaring riff that harks back to ’80s heavy metal, here updated with a crisp speed to go at the tempo of contemporary life and also an undeniable trenchant grittiness that seems to as a whole pervade this entire album, accompanying lyrical messages welcomely cloaked in the sarcastic and snide, just the way we like them.

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24 “B.F.G.F.” (Speak in Code) – 78

Here the sporadic, choppy guitar part makes the perfect intermittence to showcase the lyrics of Max Collins, who seems to never run out of things to say: “You’re a walking talking b-o-m-b / I guess you just weren’t made for monogamy”.

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“Small Town Trap” (Eve 6) – 78

“Small Town Trap” is the spunky opener on the self-titled debut: it’s not really clear what “small town” he’s referring to but it certainly seems pretty universal in subject matter, like the “crabs in a bucket” type phenomenon wherein when one crab’s trying to escape the others will pull it back down.

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26 “Downtown” (Speak in Code) – 77

Everything’s waiting for you on “Downtown,” including probably the band’s funkiest groove to date with some slapping bass and permanent drummer Tony Fagenson restlessly plotting the cadence on all the right beats. The song then explodes into a masterful post-punk chorus which mocks the delusional drunk trying to escape his own mediocrity. Eh, he’ll get over it.

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27 “Lions Den” (Speak in Code) – 76

The watery effects on the guitar are so beautiful on the intro of this song that you pretty much forgive Max Collins when he chimes in with that vocal that sounds slightly cheesy, plus as usual he’s funny, the statement of “The future is so bright / You’re wearing shades inside” understood to come with tongue planted firmly within cheek.

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28 “Leech” (Eve 6) – 75

It’s fitting that this comes on Eve 6’s first album because this is sort of like his “little boy song,” with him basically just bit**ing about an old man telling fake stories to him (of which of course The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ “All Things Considered” would make an interesting foil, forgiving a demented old man for their fish tale that “isn’t hurting anyone”).

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“Without You Here” (It’s All in Your Head) – 75

“Without You Here” kicks off It’s All in Your Head and structurally it’s pretty simplistic but boy did these guys learn to rock on this one — there’s an edge and tenacity that’s generally lacking on their former work, though maybe for lack of necessity and more cause for comedy on said early stuff.

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30 “Everything” (Speak in Code) – 74

I was just thinking about how much I like the Foo Fighters and then what should this song do but open pretty much exactly like “Monkey Wrench” — the same tempo, style, even the beginning of the same guitar riff before diverging slightly. When punk was fun I think it went in to feed ’90s alt-rock, which became catchy and conducive to lyricism but perhaps to pretty-boy-ish or naïve for some.

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“Hokis” (It’s All in Your Head) – 74

Haha “Hokis”… you’re the dirty little penultimate track on the 2003 and THE WORST SONG ON THE ALBUM! THE WORST SONG ON THE ALBUM! Did I mention that you’re the WORST SHONG ON THE ALBUM! Well guess what this album is pretty danged underrated and even on this track I can hear the understated darkness and tension that seems to earmark a time immediately following Columbine and 9/11 the way this zeitgeist does.

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32 “Lost & Found” (Speak in Code) – 73

“Lost & Found” congeals around an energetic enough chorus to make it a pretty decent listen, I think taking on the subject of life in postmodern times having lost its meaning for many, and up being down and vice versa, in a proverbial sense.

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“Pick up the Pieces” (Speak in Code) – 73

Oh Max Collins… just stop preying on my emotions with all this nostalgia already… you had me at that introductory theremin and all those beautiful sounding guitars which seem to layer onto the mix like a classic Dire Straits tune.

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“Sunset Strip Bit**” (Horrorscope) – 73

This song opens with that awesome, overarching Moog riff and only picks up steam from there — lambasting an LA poseur for pandering to the “dating” game, doing things like waxing his back and reading women’s magazines. Yeah, I wouldn’t want to proverbially meet Max Collins’ wit in the dark alley of the heart, that’s for sure.

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“Tongue Tied” (Eve 6) -73

“Tongue Tied” it seems like all the while threatens to dissolute into simplicity or banality at any time but is saved by a couple things — band tightness, a smart-a** lyrical chorus and Max Collin’s sporadic “yea-ahh” exclamations in that rich, colorful vocal tone of his. The song features in the film Teaching Mrs. Tingle from ’99 (thanks IMDB).

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36 “On the Roof Again” (Horrorscope) -72

Probably a sort of bellwether for whether you like ’90s alt-rock in general, “On the Roof Again” is a bizarre but distinct vignette of a relationship gone bad (I was just wondering in my mind whether Max Collins ever wrote a book of poetry because the guy is just brimming with humanistic perspective).

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“Victoria” (Speak in Code) – 72

Isn’t it just Eve 6’s style to parade into the full-band groove before you have the chance to even discern what musical instruments it is that you’re hearing — unfortunately of course we come to that clichéd quarter note kick drum beat summoning up that recycled emotion but still I think they picked the right producer for this record in Don Gilmore.

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38 “Girl Eyes” (Horrorscope) – 71

I happen to kind of like this album closeur on Horrorscope but I think one time I had it on in the car and my mom became kind of horrified by it (hey it is a “Horrorscope,” after all)… were the ’90s really that bad? Probably. You’ve gotta like, anyway, the timbre in Max Collins’ voice when he hits that second syllable in “di-VINE”.

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“Trust Me” (Speak in Code) – 71

“Trust Me” seems like a sort of stream of consciousness, postmodernist miasma of deplorable human traits of a rich Hollywood type portrayed lyrically on Max Collins’ part, which is always entertaining for the fact that it is LA in which he’s grounded, and his sort of ironic, rock and roll take on the land of Hollywood similar to what the Eagles or Weezer might bring to the table, in their own ways.

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40 “Saturday Night” (Eve 6) – 70

Whoo is this a rockin’ tune… you get the sense that it’s their early stuff from that recording-of-a-recording snare, originally enacted by the Fine Young Cannibals but to wither as a tad bit played out by the ’00s. Still, this stuff plays as a juicy time capsule and the crisp rhythm guitar takes the fore here, galloping along like a more light-hearted Green Day with just as much energy.

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41 “Superhero Girl” (Eve 6) – 69

This song, rapid-fire power pop, packs itself full of charming lyrical personality: “Fu** that night out with the guys / I never get a word in with them anyway”; “Telephone / Doesn’t scare me anymore you’re home” and those post-chorus guitar frills give it a cathartic edge that buddies it up to the best late-’90s alt-rock.

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42 “Blood Brothers” (Speak in Code) – 68

Here we’re back to a good ol’ second-person kiss-off disguised craftily as an ode to a “blood brother”: “You the rock in my shoe / The thorn in my side… I’m pretending I’m listening / But inside I’m bristling”. Bristling? Lol. Yes, they are your source for vocabulary words. This song is saved from total stink-itude (hey I never said you got vocab. words from Dolby Disaster) by a sort of undulating faux-ska beat on the part of the rhythm guitar.

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43 “Jesus Nitelite” (Eve 6) – 66

Coming smack in the middle of the band’s first album, “Jesus Nitelite” materializes as a sort of welcome spiritual respite from all the confrontational and erotic imagery that’s come before, earmarking the band’s nice sense of balance and measurement.

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“Nightmare” (Horrorscope) – 66

A pretty cool song here, “Nightmare” handles the subject of having a bad dream but seeing the daunting subject matter in that dream a welcome departure from the stasis and ennui of everyday life: “In my nightmare / I feel so alive / In my dream time escapade / I make the grade / I save the day”.

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45 “Bang” (Horrorscope) – 64

Chiming forth with that ultra-reductive approach to sterile production that generally plagued Horrorscope in its less creative moments, the late-album “Bang” still features a sufficient amount of personality and that good ol’ ingratiating vulnerability to women which Max Collins purports to have. Or maybe it’s just horniness.

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46 “Rescue” (Horrorscope) – 58

Haha here’s the first song on their second album next to last — this list is easier to write about than I thought it’d be! I still remember this one dude who was my friend’s cousin blasting Horrorscope at a party in… guess what season… fall… or late August, right when school was about to start and the football teams were at camp, dousing themselves in all that fake sweat and stuff. This song features a reference to “Jessica Rabbit” but I still had to put it on here ’cause I lost a bet.

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47 “How Much Longer” (Eve 6) – 56

Jesus I got “How Much Longer” last on this sh**… haha… I can’t bull-ieve it! I just looked at this list after like one month of not writing about the songs and was shook by the catchy first-song-on-first-album bringing up the total rear — we get some of Max Collins’ rapid-fire, polyrhythmic vocals on this one, happily enough.

 

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