Jawbreaker – Bivouac
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2009
So, I forgot I bought this before I wrote the Dear You entry. But I am pretending I got it in the final days of the old Love Garden. I bought this with a $10 gift certificate I found while moving, so really I got this shit for $5 which is pretty awesome in my book, because I forgot how fucking good this album is. Not only does it have “Chesterfield King,” which I can now put on mixtapes for my girlfriend (as it is the perfect mixtape song), but I realize I have a weird history with this record. In high school I wrote a short story and a play based on “Shield Your Eyes,” which I only remembered once I put this record on. I also think that the breakdown at the end of “Bivouac,” particularly when Blake screams “BIVOUAC!” at the top of his lungs is one of my top 5 favorite moments in any song ever. It's also an excellent piece of history. More pop sensibility than Unfun but more punk rock than their alleged masterpiece 24 Hour Revenge Therapy. Although they clearly realized that, and beat their punker critics to the punch in the chorus of “Boxcar.” Jawbreaker is easily one of the most important bands in my life. Easily in the all time top 5, and that's because musically, they did whatever the fuck they wanted regardless of the naysayers. Each record is more advanced than the next, getting closer and closer to figuring out how to make the most out of what they had to work with. Schwarzenbach's songwriting got better and better, and despite the critical derision of Dear You I think that's where he peaked. Where every line was packed with a kind of bitterness never fully harnessed before that. Here, it's the middle part of the journey, or whatever. The figuring it out, which honestly makes for the best music sometimes. The LP is missing the excellent “Pack it Up,” which is only on the CD version, but I appreciate the abbreviated version of Bivouac, and the “too shocking for Tower Records” cover art.