In 1997, I was in middle school. That was the year Third Eye Blind released their self-titled album. My best friend gave me a copy at the beginning of our freshman year. And despite the fact that it’s now more than a decade old, I argue that it may actually be the best album ever produced.
For the first two years of high school, my 3eb cd helped me see how horribly unfair and dramatic life was. (Of course, since I was 14-16 at the time, that probably would have happened anyway!) Then the Romgi got his driver’s license and was finally allowed to take passengers in his car. I think that’s when we really started to become close. After school or stake dances we’d drive around Napa Valley, up to the Berryessa dam, or out near Rockville. And more often than not, 3eb was what we listened to. Occasionally we’d switch that out for Semisonic or EvE 6 or MxPx, but most days it was 3eb.
I kept a really good journal in high school. Really good. The teenage drama isn’t what I intended to capture, but it’s there in spades. The thing I like best, though, is that I have an entry from the first time the Romgi and I went driving up to Berryessa to look at the stars. And an entry from the night we won the county competition of Academic Decathlon; we went to the dam and leaned back against the car with 3eb still playing. The last three songs are the most perfectly placed on the album. They bring a sense of peaceful but melancholy closure, like the feeling when I’d finally get home from a drive with the Romgi. It was those songs we were listening to when we realized that everyone was right — we did like each other.
There was something about the lyrics, too, not just the music. My great fear was captured in the last track, God of Wine: “And there’s someone who understands you more than I do — a sadness I can’t erase.” When things went bad at college, the Romgi sent me an email with the words to How’s it Gonna Be. It was hearing that song again while he was on his mission that made me realize how much I missed having him as my best friend. I finally came to the point where I knew how it would be “When you don’t know me anymore,” and it was obvious that the Romgi was who I wanted.
I think it’s notable that when we were back in Fairfield for the wedding, we took the familiar drive up to the Berryessa dam and put in the 3eb cd again. Maybe it is all nostalgia. So many of my memories of the Romgi are connected to the songs on this album. Then again, maybe it’s just the world’s greatest cd. Ever.