photo & text by nacrowe
the thing that differentiated SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA POP PUNK band EVE 6 from the pack, especially with their self-titled debut EVE 6 (RCA, 1998), was their sense of lyrical SOPHISTICATION. at the time and in retrospect, the lyrical content with its SELF-REFERENTIAL, INWARD-CONTORTING phrasing seemed far more URBANE than need be in terms of genre expectations. its probably why leader bassist, lead singer and main songwriter MAX COLLINS has turned out to be such a great follow on TWITTER with his savage PITHY and often CAUSTIC putdowns of buffoonish conservative pundits and their ilk. god bless the man.
the single "INSIDE OUT" is worth examining. first heard this song a few months after it came out when i started attending a boarding school in MASSACHUSETTS after saying goodbye to my family that was still living in NIGERIA of all places. just a MONSTROUS transitional period in my life at a young age. originally i am from ORANGE COUNTY and have long had COMPLICATED relationship with that fact given how INSULAR, MYOPIC and naively SELF-IMPORTANT the people their were during my childhood. not to mention just how blatantly DISMISSIVE and brazenly RACIST they were to the hispanic population. so the lines "socal is where my mind states / but its not my state of mind / im not as ugly sad as you" meant quite a bit to me at that time. its that CONTRARIAN idea that, yes, i may in fact be one of them but at the same time im really not. i define myself, not my surroundings. for a CALIFORNIA teen being alone in an unfamiliar MASSACHUSETTS environment, having just spent his middle school years living in WEST AFRICA, that concept of self-determining one's identity was huge. im sure being fourteen also played into such as well.
needless to say, i didnt get this sort of SELF-EXAMINATION listening to GREEN DAY, BLINK-182 or even the DESCENDENTS at this point. i almost hold EVE 6 as more akin and comparable to preceding, weightier-themed ALTERNATIVE ROCK bands like SOUNDGARDEN, RADIOHEAD or NIRVANA than their immediate POP PUNK peers at the time. this can be seen in other STANDOUT tracks like "TONGUE TIED," "HOW MUCH LONGER" and "SMALL TOWN TRAP" which all seem occupied with the struggle to extend beyond your limitations, be they geographical or imposed by oneself or authority figures. heady stuff indeed and EVE 6 has aged remarkably well. its themes regarding SELF-DISCOVERY are no doubt UNIVERSAL and arguably more RELEVANT in the social media age than they were upon its release in the late 90s. my slight preference is for subsequent EVE 6 albums like HORRORSCOPE (RCA, 2000) and IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD (RCA, 2003) but their debut is definitely well worth checking out and exploring sonically and lyrically. and definitely give COLLINS a follow. the man helped me laugh my way (while crying admittedly) through the TRUMP ADMINISTRATION.
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