Our top 10 Jawbreaker songs list presents ten of the best songs by a band that blended punk rock with emo, pop-punk, and post-hardcore sounds. The band was formed in 1986 by guitarist/vocalist Blake Schwarzenbach, drummer Adam Pfahler, and bass guitarist Chris Bauermeister. Initially, the band went under the moniker Rise, a name that the band used until 1988.
Jawbreaker’s Career Beginnings and Breakthrough
In 1989, Jawbreaker released its first extended play entitled Whack & Blite E.P. The EP featured three songs, including “Lawn,” “Crane,” and “Eye-5.” Jawbreaker released the EP through its own record label Blackball Records. The EP was fairly received by the punk rock fans prompting the band to continue making new releases.
The following year, Jawbreaker released its debut studio album, Unfun. Unfun was issued through Shredder Records. Songs on the album saw the band blend punk rock and pop-punk sounds. “Want,” “Busy,” and “Driven” are some of the best Jawbreaker songs from the album. Unfun achieved mild success in the United States, helping the band gain a cult following.
Jawbreaker’s Album Releases over the Years
The band returned in 1992 with its sophomore album, Bivouac. Bivouac was issued through Tupelo Recording Company and Communion Records. The album’s CD release featured two cover songs, “Pack It Up” and “You Don’t Know…” “Pack It Up” was originally released by The Pretender and featured on the band’s sophomore album.
“You Don’t Know,” on the other hand, was released by Joan Jett on her debut LP, Bad Reputation. Bivouac featured some of the best Jawbreaker songs, including “Chesterfield King,” “Bivouac,” and “Donatello.” The album saw the band blend punk rock with pop-punk, emo, and hardcore punk.
Jawbreaker went on to release its third studio album, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, in 1994. The album came shortly after the band returned from a tour with alternative rock band Nirvana. 24 Hour Revenge Therapy featured some of the most popular songs by Jawbreaker, including “Boxcar,” “Jinx Removing,” “Condition Oakland,” and “Do You Still Hate Me?” 24 Hour Revenge Therapy was the band’s last album issued through Tupelo Recording Company and Communion Label.
The band would shortly after sign a recording contract with a major label, DGC Records. DGC Records has been home to other artists, including Blink-182, Dashboard Confessional, Escape the Fate, Jimmy Eat World, and White Zombie. Under DGC Records, the band released its 1995 LP, Dear You.
Dear You features some of the best Jawbreaker songs, including “Fireman,” “Accident Phone,” and “Sluttering (May 4th).” The album was a success having its production work done by Rob Cavallo. Rob Cavallo has also worked with other reputable artists, including Meat Loaf, Alanis Morissette, Black Sabbath, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, and Linkin Park. Unfortunately, the band disbanded in 1996, only to reunite in 2017.
After Jawbreaker disbanded in 1996, Blake Schwarzenbach went on to form the indie rock Jets to Brazil. Under Jet to Brazil, Blake released three studio albums before the band broke up. Since its reunion, Jawbreaker has not released any new albums. However, Jawbreaker’s comeback to the music scene saw the band featured in the 2017 Riot Fest. The band shared the stage with Paramore, Andrew W.K., M.I.A., and Prophets of Rage.
Despite its short-lived glory on the music scene in the ‘90s, Jawbreaker remains one of the most influential punk rock bands of all time. My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy have cited the band as one of their influences. Dying Wish Records issued a tribute album entitled Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault: Jawbreaker Tribute in commemoration of the band’s significant role in the ‘90s punk rock scene. Here we present the ten best Jawbreaker songs of all time.
#10 – Jinx Removing
We open our top 10 Jawbreaker songs with the tremendous hit “Jinx Removing.” The song is featured on the band’s third studio album, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy. “Jinx Removing” was penned by the band’s guitarist/vocalist Blake Schwarzenbach. Its lyrics allude to a romantic relationship approaching its death.
“Jinx Removing” was inspired by Blake’s relationship with his girlfriend, who lived a few blocks apart. The song has been covered by Riddlin’ Kids, Saves the Day, and Deer Widow. Riddlin’ Kids’ version was featured on the 2003 tribute album Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault: Jawbreaker Tribute.
# 9 – Sluttering (May 4th)
By the time the album Dear You was being issued, Jawbreaker’s vocalist Blake had already undergone a vocal cord surgery. Without a doubt, his vocals failed to get as raspy as the band’s previous records. This saw the band’s fans subdivide into two camps; one that appreciated his previous raspy vocals and those who were okay with his new vocal style. Despite the division in the reception of Blake’s vocals, the fans agreed on one thing; the lyrical prowess expressed on the record.
“Sluttering (May 4th),” one of the songs from Dear You, has been cited as one of the band’s bitter breakup songs. Blake himself described the song to be ugly and based on a true story. The singer also tells of the desire he had to avenge the irate love triangle, a move that saw him succeed though in a horrible turn of events.
# 8 – The Boat Dreams From The Hill
Number eight on our top 10 Jawbreaker songs list is the impressive hit “The Boat Dreams from the Hill.” The song is featured on the band’s third studio album, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy. This is yet another lyrical gem penned by the band’s guitarist/vocalist Blake Schwarzenbach.
Blake was inspired to write the song after he watched a boat on a hill during one of his times out driving in Santa Cruz. This anthropomorphic vessel gives no hope of ever getting completed. The lyrics to this song are, in themselves, a metaphor for missed and broken ambitions. Face to Face, a ‘90s punk band, released a cover of “The Boat Dreams from the Hill.” The band’s cover version was among the songs featured on the 2003 tribute album Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault: Jawbreaker Tribute.
# 7 – Boxcar
We return to the band’s third studio album, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, where we find the seventh pick of our top 10 Jawbreaker songs, “Boxcar.” The song is one of the most definitive punk ballads by Jawbreaker. Singer Blake revealed that he penned the lyrics to the song on the roadside while in France.
He continued to say that the song was inspired by the van he was living in and its culture. “Boxcar” was covered by The Æffect in 2003 and Reward in 2015. The Æffect’s version was featured on the 2003 tribute album Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault: Jawbreaker Tribute.
# 6 – Want
Number six on our top 10 Jawbreaker songs list is the raving hit “Want.” The song is featured on the band’s debut album, Unfun. “Want” balances its sonic influences between punk rock and pop-punk. The song has been covered by the American punk bands Lagwagon and Name Taken. Name Taken’s cover to this song was featured on the 2003 tribute album Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault: Jawbreaker Tribute.
# 5 – Accident Prone
Dear You brings us the fifth pick of our ten best Jawbreaker songs, “Accident Prone.” Spanning over six minutes, “Accident Prone” is the longest song featured on this album. The song serves as a perfect anthem for folks who lament their past choices. “Accident Prone” also has a soft spot for people who hope to escape their world to put to an end the haunting mistakes they made in their past. The song was covered by Ghost Thrower and the post-hardcore band, The Saddest Landscape.
#4 – Chesterfield King
“Chesterfield King” is one of the biggest songs by Jawbreaker featured on the band’s sophomore album, Bivouac. Initially, the song was featured on the band’s 1992 groundbreaking EP of the same name. “Chesterfield King” tells of fear of rejection and worry of getting intimate with a lady he is in love with. The song was covered in 2003 by the American pop-punk band Nerf Herder. Nerf Herder’s cover version is featured on the 2003 tribute album Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault: Jawbreaker Tribute.
# 3 – Do You Still Hate Me?
The third pick of our top 10 Jawbreaker songs goes to the striking hit “Do You Still Hate Me?” The song is featured on the band’s third studio album, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy. Its lyrics were penned by the band’s guitarist/vocalist Blake. The song tells of a guy who gets a little sentimental over an unsuccessful relationship. What breaks the guy into pieces is that he tries to reach out to his significant other to try to save any love left in vain.
His efforts take a toll on him owing to the great moments he reminisces they had with his significant other. Unfortunately, his desire to reunite with his significant other is just a pipe dream. The song was covered by Set Your Dreams, John Brown Battery, Lawnmower, and Kill Your Idols. Kill Your Idol’s cover was featured on the 2003 tribute album Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault: Jawbreaker Tribute.
# 2 – Busy
“Busy” is one of the fan-favorite tracks by Jawbreaker from the band’s early years. The song is featured on the band’s debut album, Unfun. “Busy” has its sound as a blend of punk rock and pop-punk. The song features one of the band’s best instrumentation and magnificent raspy vocal delivery by Blake. “Busy” was featured by Duvall, with the cover version featured on Jawbreaker’s tribute album.
# 1 – Fireman
Number one of our top 10 Jawbreaker songs is the alluring hit “Fireman.” The song is featured on the band’s only album released through a major record label, Dear You. While most of the band’s fans were aggravated by Jawbreaker’s move to sign with a major record label, they would later appreciate the record, thanks to solid musicianship showcased and top-notch lyricism. “Fireman” remains the most popular song by Jawbreaker. The song was covered by Wrong Body and Books Lie.
Top 10 Jawbreaker Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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