8.7

Jawbox: For Your Own Special Sweetheart

Music Reviews Jawbox
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Jawbox: <em>For Your Own Special Sweetheart</em>

Dischord Records acquires and reissues ship-jumping post-hardcore classic

During the 1980s, Washington D.C. punk music underwent a sea change in which ideologically rigid hardcore yielded to broader shades of emotion and artistry.

In Minor Threat and Fugazi, Ian MacKaye straddled and defined this shift; the less iconic but equally great J. Robbins was by his side, first in Government Issue, and then in Jawbox, which melded ferocious power with heart-wrenching melody and rock swagger with intellectual urgency.

Like contemporaries Shudder to Think, Jawbox made its greatest record, 1994’s For Your Own Special Sweetheart, after bailing on beloved indie Dischord and signing to a major label. This reissue—with brawny remastering by Bob Weston and three extra tracks from the Savory + 3 EP—arrives just after the band’s one-off reunion on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Fifteen years later, the explosive trebles of “Savory” still inspire goosebumps, as do the twisted-metal guitars of “Motorist.” “What would you risk to rescue me?” Robbins bellows in his usual shouting-down-the-sky style. This music sounds like everything’s on the line.

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