Old Music Tuesdays: Blindside
This week’s Old Music Tuesdays is a tribute to my favorite Swedish band: Blindside. Blindside is a band with which I grew up, and my musical tastes changed with the band’s evolution. I heard their first record, 1997’s Blindside, when I was sixteen and was immediately hooked. They’ve been classified as post-hardcore, and that’s a fairly accurate label. That label, however, doesn’t really take into account all of Blindside’s experimentation with jazz, spoken word, and electronica in their later work.
As I mentioned, Blindside is a band that evolved with each release. Their self-titled debut had strong rap-rock elements, and lyrically it was about singer Christian Lindskog’s life growing up in Sweden. Their follow-up, A Thought Crushed My Mind, is the heaviest and most brutal of all their records. The lyrics again were mostly about Christian’s life and his loneliness due to the separation from his wife while they were on tour. After this record, Blindside was dropped from their label, Solid State Records, due to lackluster sales. Some embraced the harder sound, but I think most did not. I grew to love it, and this remains my favorite Blindside record to date.
After being dropped from their label, Blindside was at a bit of a crossroads and almost did not continue as a band. Luckily, Blindside had made friends with San Diego’s P.O.D. on one of their North American tours. P.O.D. had become a pretty heavy hitter in the industry by this time so they had some clout with their label. They were able to get Blindside a deal with the now defunct Elektra Records.
Their third album, Silence, would prove to be a hit. It was a bit of a return to the more melodic aspects of their debut, minus the rap-rock influences. Their song Pitiful found its way onto all the music channels and rock radio stations, and Blindside performed the song on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2002. They also appeared in P.O.D.’s video for the song Boom as the Swedish table tennis team. In 2003, they toured with Hoobastank to promote the record and grow their fan base. Again, Blindside would face label difficulties: The Warner Music Group was sold, causing Elektra to drop Blindside. An energetic fan base and street team stepped in to help with promotion, and Blindside sold out five headlining shows in 2004. More difficulties arose, however, along with the band’s successes. A bus crash forced them to rent a van that was later robbed, depriving the band of their passports and money.
About a Burning Fire, released in 2004, featured the minor hit All of Us and included a guest guitar spot from Billy Corgan on the song Hooray, It’s L.A.! This album introduced some techno/electronica elements into Blindside’s repertoire, as well as some Swedish yodeling on the song Shekina. (It’s a gorgeous love song.)
The following year brought a new album, new musical experimentation, and a new label. The Great Depression was released in 2005 with the indie label DRT Entertainment. It featured another minor hit with Fell in Love with the Game. This album is my second favorite Blindside record, as the band was able to incorporate more experimentation due to being free of the demands of a major label. This album features the heaviest song since their sophomore record, Come to Rest, featuring the brutal guest vocals of Ilkka from Norway’s Benea Reach. Several jazzy elements were included in the songs My Alibi and City Lights, and Christian gives a heart-breaking spoken word performance on My Alibi.
Blindside has since released a digital EP in 2007 and another full length album in 2011. Their sound continues to evolve. Blindside’s future is a bit unclear due to the many hardships they’ve faced with record labels and touring. Hopefully they’ll continue to put out amazing, heartfelt, yet still heavy rock and roll records. They say that great art is an exorcism of one’s personal demons, and Blindside has definitely had their share of ups and downs. I think the passion and dedication really come out in the music, as Blindside has not gone stale even after almost twenty years as a band with all the original members. Please consider supporting these wonderful artists by purchasing a record or two. If they tour again, make sure you catch them in your city as their energy and passion are unmatched.
Click the album covers (above) to purchase a CD, and check out the links I’ve provided to view their music videos. If you can’t see the playlist below, click here to be taken to my Grooveshark profile page. Thanks for listening!
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