Bands with numbers in their name from the Nineties.

It occurred to me the other night that there were a lot of  bands with numbers in them from the Nineties. I think  Seven Mary Three was the best. I came to this conclusion after a long conversation with an elementary school friend last week  with whom I enjoyed many of these songs. The football game was not very exciting because the Patriots were like seven touchdowns ahead. I decided to have a mixed drink and this turned into why Seven Mary Three was a better band than Third Eye Blind.  We had to first determine which bands were up for consideration. For instance was 311 up for the best band with numbers in it from the Nineties?

I said no for two reasons. The first is that we would have to include a bunch of bands, few of which I can recall at this time, so we should only allow bands that have numbers and words that existed in the Nineties.  Every argument must have parameters, even if arbitrary ones.

I have decided on three major bands here so I am sure we are missing some so please, feel free to comment and add number word bands of that era that we should discuss at a later date.  The other reason is, I really dislike 311. I don’t know why exactly because I like rap and I like reggae and I should like this band. But I don’t. In fact, I hate them and will turn the station or completely disable the radio if any of their songs come on the radio. Except for “Amber”, which is incredibly cheesy but catchy and I can deal with that one. It’s a nice song for the ladies.

Clearly, Third Eye Blind was in the top few because of the name and the huge fame they experienced in my time of middle school. Steven Jenkins seems to be the face of the band and also seems to have been sued by multiple members of the band throughout his career, according to Wikipedia which also told me they are still a band which is a surprise. My friend thought they should win right away because he and his younger brother definitely had that cassette tape with “Semi- Charmed life” on it.

This band always sounded too much like Matchbox 20 to me, also a forthcoming contender for this list. I think the Third Eye Blind name could be cool but their music sounds too cookie cutter to me and I hear Steven Jenkins is a dick.

True Story: The younger brother with the cassette got to go backstage and meet him three years ago, which also instantly brings up the question of why anyone is going to a Third Eye Blind concert in 2009. Anyway, I guess he’s (Jenkins) a complete weirdo and sort of popped around randomly saying strange things and then locked himself in a dressing room. Fame must be too much for him and he must have a blind third eye.

Now Matchbox 20 was a band I legitimately liked for about twenty five minutes in 1997. They have not aged well; I just listened to a release from this year that was something like “Shes so Mean” and it was not pleasing to my ear. Realistically, it was probably the Santana collaboration that turned me off back in the day because it was like Rob Thomas went from sort of edgy alternative pop rock to just straight homogenized pop. I do love Carlos though and his guitar talents are never a question.

But back to the point, although I don’t like both bands, I do like Matchbox 2o more than Third Eye Blind because at least Thomas seems like a decent guy even though I have no real indication of this. I also don’t like any of their music now that I hear it so it’s not all the personality of the lead singer. I am happy they are still releasing music….even if I don’t like it. Actually, this song makes me think of “Brimful of Asha” by Cornershop which is a good thing.

Seven Mary Three wins the title for me, just as it did during our progressively drunken conversation the other night during the football game. They were never a household name and they may also be kind of formulaic for the time, but I think they have a real unique sound. The lead singer’s vocals are notably gritty which is much more in the vein of what I like than these pretty boy singers in the other number bands of the nineties.

I also really like the content and referring both to yourself and a relationship as being cumbersome. I myself am working out of a weird thing with a girl right now and certainly feeling both cumbersome in mood and body. Drunkenly singing the lyrics to the song “Cumbersome” the other night really made me feel better. Here is another good song by the band.

Guess I always like my alt work as angsty as possible. The bass line gets real crazy for the time too in “Water’s Edge” which seems to be about someone getting shot but almost surely has something to do with some heavy emotional event or issue. My hippie neighbor Steven used to cover these songs when he played up in the woods or out at seedy bars. I remember his beamed out girlfriend yelling the lyrics along with him. In fact, after about the sixth beer, every song Steven sang sounded like Seven Mary Three. Hey could be worse, it could sound like Third Eye Blind.

So why all of the bands with words and numbers in the nineties? I really don’t know and I can’t seem to find the same phenomena in other eras. Sure, you have the Dave Clark Five, Rocket 88, the Tennessee Three and so on from back in the day but never like the mid to late 1990’s. Maybe it was the aftermath of strange names like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden where somebody thought ” well, we need to make a name that stands out so let’s add a number”.

Oh my god, I almost forgot the most honorable mention of a number word band of the era and you can even sing along!

(and, if you haven’t had enough of this topic from this post, my brother takes it up again)

14 comments on “Bands with numbers in their name from the Nineties.

  1. The sister says:

    You missed a dreadful yet very important band with a number in their name from that time period…98 Degrees. Oh yes I just said that.

  2. Jake says:

    You missed a lot of them. Off the top of my head I can think of 2Pac, U2, Blink 182, Eve 6, Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees, .38 Special, Sevendust, and 9 Inch Nails. I’m not saying any of these are necessarily better than your top 3 based on their work and contribution to 90’s music, but definitely should have been up for consideration.

    • theelderj says:

      good list. we can discount U2 as coming from the 80s. eve 6 must be considered for ther badness. I know the historian loves blink 182. and no Ben Folds Five?

      but what about the phenomenon?

    • theyoungerj says:

      I would say many of those work except .38 special which was more the 80’s. I should have said alternative bands but I still missed out on Eve 6 and Blink. Blink is more the post punk pop explosion of the later 90’s. Eve 6 was weak though, good call!

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