The alt-metal trio known as Chevelle is back with its fifth album, Sci-Fi Crimes. But “Jars,” the lead single, could have just as easily been on its first. This is vintage Chevelle.
Translation: Pete Loeffler’s pounding rhythm guitar work lays a punishing foundation for his melodic, soaring, slightly desperate tenor in a song that’s virtually impossible to decipher without someone from the band providing interpretive hints.
In Plugged In’s reviews of Chevelle’s previous material, we’ve repeatedly fallen back on one particular adjective when describing this Chicago-based band’s songs: cryptic.
Well, nothing’s changed.
“Hold onto chance,” Loeffler tells us in the opening line of “Jars.” “Lest we bleed into ourselves.” Then he adds, “Save for the pets/They’re the loneliest.”
Um, OK. Not sure exactly what’s going on here but it doesn’t seem as if our favorite animals are getting the best of it.
Next up, the frequently repeated pre-chorus: “Put into jars/We’ll save this earth.”
If you’re looking for a clue about what’s going on in this song, there’s little obvious clarification to be found in the remaining lyrics, which include references to “oil that tastes like blood,” “feeling manic for a day” and some kind of metaphor (I think) about stabbing (“You’re stabbing me through you/You’re stabbing you through him”).
For the record, I was an English major who worked hard to suss out the meaning of Shakespeare’s sonnets, Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost. And, for the most part, I got good grades. (In literature classes, not calculus!)
But I must confess that I really have no idea what’s going on in this song about jars, the earth and stabbings. It slips well beyond my academically and professionally honed ability to deconstruct. (And that’s true of Sci-Fi Crimes as a whole, I might add.)
So I must turn to the band itself for interpretative help: In an interview with Vancouver radio station 99.3 The Fox, drummer Sam Loeffler (Pete’s brother) said of the song’s meaning, “[It’s] kind of play on words. It’s saving the environment. It’s a joke about saving the environment and it’s about literally taking the earth, and putting it into jars to save it for later. It’s very tongue in cheek.”
Now why didn’t I see that?
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.