Gin Blossoms

Hey Jealousy

Composed by Doug Hopkins

Song Review by

The fact that departed guitarist Doug Hopkins wrote the Gin Blossoms' first two hit singles, "Hey Jealousy" and "Found out About You," prompted many observers to wonder if the band would be able to maintain their success without him. While they had no problem turning out quality material in a jangly power pop vein, Hopkins had been able to translate his depression and personal problems into a darkly confessional songwriting voice, which really did give his work greater emotional depth. That's most readily apparent on "Hey Jealousy," a pleasantly catchy song that conquered college and mainstream radio and MTV in 1993. It first seems a little bit playful and a little bit wistful, but upon further listening reveals a quiet, underlying desperation tearing at its main character. Essentially, the lyrics are a drunken, late-night plea for another shot with an old girlfriend, after having "blown the whole thing years ago." The protagonist has a real charm -- the first verse is a nonchalant request to sleep off a buzz at his ex's place, after which he starts to reminisce, calling her "the best I've ever had" and inviting her to recapture some of the wild fun of their younger days ("Tomorrow we can drive around this town/And let the cops chase us around"). The second verse is a full-fledged request to be taken back, full of wryly self-effacing humor: "And you can trust me not to think/And not to sleep around/If you don't expect too much from me/You might not be let down." It's obvious that he's vulnerable, but he's trying to hide just how vulnerable he is. Of course, his self-deprecation masks real insecurities -- he doesn't think enough of himself to be sure he deserves a second chance, he's afraid of screwing up again, and he leaves out the exact nature of his original offense, which doesn't allow listeners to judge for themselves. A few other lines seem self-pitying, or perhaps designed to elicit the same from her: he's alone, he's "got no place to go," and only feels "like [he] matters too" when he's with her. But, in a deeper sense -- what with his Bonnie & Clyde fantasy of being chased by the cops -- he's also trying to relive the youth he feels he's screwed up so miserably, now that he's older and wiser and unhappy in the present. Even though he sings, "The past is gone, but something might be found to take its place" in the chorus, he's still in a backward-looking world of nostalgia and regret, and it's obvious that he wants to find something that recaptures the past while improving upon it -- rewriting and updating history with a happy ending. There's a tremendous emotional complexity and honesty to "Hey Jealousy" which proves that, even if the Gin Blossoms were a perfectly solid band without Doug Hopkins, there was something about him that couldn't be duplicated.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Hey Jealousy [Single] 1994 A&M 3:56
No Image 1994
Various Artists
Virgin / EMI
MTV Buzz Bin 1996
Various Artists
Mammoth 3:56
Modern Rock Superstars of 90's 1998
Various Artists
Beast Records 3:54
Outside Looking In: The Best of the Gin Blossoms 1999 A&M / Interscope 3:56
MTV the First 1000 Years: Rock 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 3:55
Non Stop '90s Rock 2001
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 3:58
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Gin Blossoms 2003 A&M 3:55
90's 2004
Various Artists
Spectrum Music
20th Century Masters - The DVD Collection: The Best of the Gin Blossoms 2004 A&M
Most Fun You've Had All Decade: 90s 2004
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:56
New Miserable Experience: Rarities Edition 2010 A&M 3:52
Total Drivetime 2010
Various Artists
Universal 3:55
Icon 2011 A&M 3:56
100 Hits: Driving Rock [2013] 2013
Various Artists
Ultimate Collection / Union Square Music 3:56
Throwback Tunes: 90s 2017
Various Artists
Hip-O / Universal 3:55
Pure Rock, Pt. 3
Various Artists
Universal 3:51
The Best of Musical Idea
Various Artists
Universal 3:59