Ursa Major (album)

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Ursa Major
Studio album by Third Eye Blind
Released August 18, 2009
April 12, 2010 (UK)
Recorded 2005–2009
Genre Rock, alternative rock
Length 47:06
Label Mega Collider
Producer Stephan Jenkins
Third Eye Blind chronology
Red Star
(2008)
Ursa Major
(2009)
Ursa Minor
TBD
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 65/100[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
Absolutepunk (87%) [2]
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars [3]
Associated Press (favorable) [4]
Baltimore Sun 3/4 stars [5]
Billboard (favorable) [6]
Consequence of Sound 3.5/5 stars [7]
Entertainment Weekly (C+) [8]
Kerrang! 3/5 stars[9]
Robert Christgau (1-star Honorable Mention)[10]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars [11]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars [12]
Washington Post (favorable) [13]

Ursa Major is the fourth studio album from American alternative rock band Third Eye Blind. Released on August 18, 2009 on the group's own Mega Collider label, Ursa Major was the group's first studio album in over six years.[14][15][16] The first single from the album was "Don't Believe a Word", which debuted on the radio June 5, 2009.[17]

History[edit]

Work on Ursa Major began shortly after the release of Out of the Vein in 2003.[18] Frontman Stephan Jenkins had intended for the album to be released in 2007, but didn't feel that it was complete and writer's block slowed down the album's progress.[18][19] The working title of the album was The Hideous Strength, after a similarly named C.S. Lewis book.[20][21] According to Jenkins, the album's name was subsequently changed to Ursa Major because "...We’ve been hibernating and now we’ve awakened and we are hungry for spring and we want to feed and we want to thrive."[18] Another album, Ursa Minor, is scheduled to follow Ursa Major and may include songs that were recorded during the Ursa Major sessions.[18][22]

Album cover[edit]

Hevelius' Uranographia.

Ursa Major's cover is derived from Uranographia, a 17th century drawing by Johannes Hevelius. The view is mirrored following the tradition of celestial globes, showing the celestial sphere in a view from "outside", with the drawing mirrored to match the view through a telescope.

Commercial performance[edit]

Ursa Major debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200, selling 49,000 copies in its first week of release.[23] The top 10 debut made Ursa Major the highest charting album of the group's career, though its first week sales were less than that of its predecessor's first week sales of 63,000.[24][25]

The high charting debut would prove to be short lived, as Ursa Major fell to #45 in its second week on the Billboard 200 with a 77% sales drop.[26]

Critical reception[edit]

Upon its release, Ursa Major received positive reviews from music critics. The review aggregator website Metacritic assigns a "Metascore" to each album, which is based on the ratings and reviews of selected mainstream independent publications, and the release has a score of a 65 based on 7 selected critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[1]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Stephan Jenkins, except where noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Can You Take Me"   Jenkins, Tony Fredianelli 3:21
2. "Don't Believe a Word"   Jenkins, Fredianelli 4:01
3. "Bonfire"   Jenkins, Fredianelli 4:08
4. "Sharp Knife"   Jenkins, Fredianelli 4:27
5. "One in Ten"     2:51
6. "About to Break"   Jenkins, Ari Ingber 3:56
7. "Summer Town"     4:52
8. "Why Can't You Be"     5:25
9. "Water Landing"     4:30
10. "Dao of St. Paul"     4:05
11. "Monotov's Private Opera"     4:19
12. "Carnival Barker"   Jenkins, Fredianelli 1:24
Total length:
47:06

Vinyl version[edit]

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Can You Take Me"   3:21
2. "Don't Believe a Word"   4:01
3. "Bonfire"   4:08
4. "Sharp Knife"   4:27
5. "One in Ten"   2:51
6. "About to Break"   3:56
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Summer Town"   4:52
2. "Why Can't You Be"   5:25
3. "Water Landing"   4:30
4. "Dao of St. Paul"   4:05
5. "Carnival Barker"   1:24
6. "Monotov's Private Opera"   4:19

Notes
"Monotov's Private Opera" is not listed on the back of the LP version, and is the final song on the LP.

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Critic Reviews for Ursa Major". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Absolutepunk review
  3. ^ Ursa Major (album) at AllMusic
  4. ^ Associated Press review[dead link]
  5. ^ Baltimore Sun review[dead link]
  6. ^ Billboard (magazine) review
  7. ^ Consequence of Sound review
  8. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  9. ^ McLaughlin, David. Kerrang! #1307, April 10, 2010. Album reviews. "Forgotten alt-rockers make assured return on fourth album". p. 54
  10. ^ Robert Christgau review
  11. ^ Rolling Stone review at the Wayback Machine (archived February 12, 2010)
  12. ^ Slant Magazine review
  13. ^ Washington Post review
  14. ^ Chad. "Third Eye Blind Delays Album Release". Alternative Addiction May 30, 2009.
  15. ^ Graff, Gary. "Third Eye Blind Debuts Ursa Major At SXSW". billboard.com. March 22, 2009
  16. ^ Drew, Ian. "Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins Talks Ursa Major, Fierce Fans". Rolling Stone. August 11, 2009.
  17. ^ "Third Eye Blind Frequently Asked Questions". Andrewturnbull.net. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  18. ^ a b c d Reuter, Annie. "Third Eye Blind Back from Hibernation". Marie Claire. Date Unknown.
  19. ^ Vaziri, Aidin. "Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind". San Francisco Chronicle. August 16, 2009.
  20. ^ Chad. "Third Eye Blind to Release New Album". Alternative Addiction. March 11, 2007
  21. ^ Uhelszki, Jaan. "Third Eye Blind's Second Coming". San Francisco Chronicle. March 11, 2007.
  22. ^ Benson, John. "Third Eye Blind Finds Second Life of Success". billboard.com. May 7, 2009.
  23. ^ Trust, Gary, Alex Vitoulis, et al. "Reba McEntire Nets Second No. 1 On Billboard 200". billboard.biz. August 28, 2009
  24. ^ Herrera, Monica and Keith Caulfield. "Reba McEntire Nets Second No. 1 on Billboard 200". Billboard.com. August 26, 2009.
  25. ^ Hasty, Katey. "Marilyn Manson Posts 'Grotesque' At No. 1". billboard.com. May 21, 2003.
  26. ^ Kreps, Daniel. "On the Charts: Colbie Caillat Breaks Through to Number One". Rolling Stone. September 2, 2009.

External links[edit]