Ursa Major (album)

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Ursa Major
3eb Ursa Major.jpeg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 18, 2009
GenreRock, alternative rock
LabelMega Collider
ProducerStephan Jenkins
Third Eye Blind chronology
Red Star
Ursa Major
Singles from Ursa Major
  1. "Don't Believe a Word"
    Released: June 18, 2009
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
Absolutepunk(87%) [2]
Allmusic3.5/5 stars [3]
Associated Press(favorable) [4]
Billboard(favorable) [5]
Robert Christgau(1-star Honorable Mention)[9]
Consequence of Sound3.5/5 stars[6]
Entertainment Weekly(C+) [7]
Kerrang!3/5 stars[8]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars [10]
Slant Magazine3/5 stars [11]

Ursa Major is the fourth studio album by American 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.[12][13][14] The first single from the album was Don't Believe a Word, which debuted on the radio June 5, 2009.[15]


Work on Ursa Major began shortly after the release of Out of the Vein in 2003.[16] 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.[16][17] In an interview with Rolling Stone Jenkins also noted that the recording industry had "just collapsed" following the release of Out of the Vein.[18]

The working title of the album was The Hideous Strength, after a similarly named C.S. Lewis book.[19][20] 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."[16] Another album, Ursa Minor (B-Sides compilation), was scheduled to follow Ursa Major but the idea was later scrapped in favor of a new studio album.


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.

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]

Commercial performance[edit]

Ursa Major debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200, selling 49,000 copies in its first week of release.[21] 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.[22][23]

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.[24]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Stephan Jenkins, except where noted.

1."Can You Take Me"Jenkins, Tony Fredianelli3:21
2."Don't Believe a Word"Jenkins, Fredianelli4:01
3."Bonfire"Jenkins, Fredianelli4:08
4."Sharp Knife"Jenkins, Fredianelli4:27
5."One in Ten" 2:51
6."About to Break"Jenkins, Ari Ingber3:56
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, Fredianelli1:24
Total length:47:06
Songs available only by download
13."Why Can't You Be (With Kimya Dawson)" (iTunes only)5:27
14."Monotov's Private Opera (Acoustic)" (iTunes pre-order only)4:20

Vinyl version[edit]

Side A
1."Can You Take Me"3:21
2."Don't Believe a Word"4:01
4."Sharp Knife"4:27
5."One in Ten"2:51
6."About to Break"3:56
Side B
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


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


Third Eye Blind

Additional Personnel

  • Jon Evans – bass guitar except on "Bonfire"
  • Arion Salazar – bass guitar on "Bonfire"
  • Herve Salters – keyboards on "Why Can't You Be"
  • Robyn Croomer – backing vocals
  • Cynthia Taylor – backing vocals
  • Minna Choi – backing vocals
  • Ben Stokes – drum programming on "Water Landing," synthesizer on "Can You Take Me"



  1. ^ a b "Critic Reviews for Ursa Major". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  2. ^ "chorus.fm". Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  3. ^ Ursa Major at AllMusic
  4. ^ Associated Press review Archived August 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Billboard (magazine) review
  6. ^ "Album Review: Third Eye Blind Ursa Major". 18 August 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Ursa Major - EW.com". Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  8. ^ McLaughlin, David. Kerrang! #1307, April 10, 2010. Album reviews. "Forgotten alt-rockers make assured return on fourth album". p. 54
  9. ^ "Robert Christgau: Album: Third Eye Blind: Ursa Major". Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  10. ^ Hoard, Christian (August 31, 2009). "Third Eye Blind". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 12, 2010. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
  11. ^ "Third Eye Blind Ursa Major - Album Review - Slant Magazine". Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  12. ^ Chad. "Third Eye Blind Delays Album Release". Alternative Addiction May 30, 2009.
  13. ^ Graff, Gary. "Third Eye Blind Debuts Ursa Major At SXSW". billboard.com. March 22, 2009
  14. ^ Drew, Ian. "Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins Talks Ursa Major, Fierce Fans". Rolling Stone. August 11, 2009.
  15. ^ "Third Eye Blind Frequently Asked Questions". Andrewturnbull.net. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  16. ^ a b c Reuter, Annie. "Third Eye Blind Back from Hibernation". Marie Claire. Date Unknown.
  17. ^ Vaziri, Aidin. "Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind". San Francisco Chronicle. August 16, 2009.
  18. ^ "Home Music Music News August 11, 2009 6:03PM ET Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins Talks "Ursa Major," Fierce Fans". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  19. ^ Chad. "Third Eye Blind to Release New Album". Alternative Addiction. March 11, 2007
  20. ^ Uhelszki, Jaan. "Third Eye Blind's Second Coming". San Francisco Chronicle. March 11, 2007.
  21. ^ Trust, Gary, Alex Vitoulis, et al. "Reba McEntire Nets Second No. 1 On Billboard 200". billboard.biz. August 28, 2009
  22. ^ Herrera, Monica and Keith Caulfield. "Reba McEntire Nets Second No. 1 on Billboard 200". Billboard.com. August 26, 2009.
  23. ^ Hasty, Katey. "Marilyn Manson Posts 'Grotesque' At No. 1". billboard.com. May 21, 2003.
  24. ^ Kreps, Daniel. "On the Charts: Colbie Caillat Breaks Through to Number One". Rolling Stone. September 2, 2009.

External links[edit]