Jawbreaker – “Kiss the Bottle”
It’s hard to tell if there is a more beloved Jawbreaker track than “Kiss the Bottle.” Sure, “Boxcar” is about as well known as “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “Jinx Removing” is as seminal as it gets when it comes to mixtape staples, but holy Christ this song cuts right through you. Blake Schwarzenbach’s vocals sound like a metal spoon caught in a dishwasher (with good reason, too, as it was the last song Jawbreaker recorded before his throat surgery) and that translates to the most perfectly weathered voice needed to sing a song about goddamn regret. It’s an ugly song about drunks with relationship issues. The chugging guitars sounds like it’s coming in and out of consciousness, and though the song was recorded between Bivouac and 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, it wouldn’t really belong on either of those records. It is, however, the finest song Schwarzenbach had written up to that point and full of the emotional intensity that would make 24 Hour Revenge Therapy and Dear You so easy for heartbroken 18 year olds to fawn over. So many of my AIM away messages were Jawbreaker quotes from that era, and Schwarzenbach’s songwriting was deeply influential to me in a number of ways. When I started writing songs, I tried to match that raw emotional honesty (not that I was really any good at it). I started gravitating towards music with that realness. It’s a reason why I totally shut down when I hear vapid lyrics. It’s all I can focus on. I know pop music is supposed to be fun and vapid and the lyrics aren’t supposed to matter but thanks to Jawbreaker, it’s something I find incredibly important.