Release Date: Jun 11, 2013
Record label: RCA
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Emo-Pop
Jimmy Eat World's eighth studio album, 2013's Damage, is a mature breakup album that still retains all of the band's youthful, sock-to-the-gut pop energy. Produced in Los Angeles by Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys), the album is a straightforward collection of immediately infectious rock that balances Jimmy Eat World's vital electric guitar sound with a deft use of acoustic guitars and keyboards. The album also builds nicely upon the power pop/dance-rock vibe of their 2010 release, Invented, with an even more focused, lyrical approach that helps make this one of the band's most cathartic and moving albums of its career.
For a band with such remarkable consistency throughout their career, Jimmy Eat World's 2010 full-length Invented ended up an outlier, a long, meandering collection of retread ballads and weird, out-of-character rock songs that in places, seemed to want to recreate the heights reached on 1999 fan favorite Clarity (the band had performed a successful run of Clarity album shows the year prior to celebrate its tenth anniversary, and it's fair to assume those songs were fresh in the band member's minds). Problem was, JEW weren't that band anymore: In the time since Clarity, they've experienced more success–commercially and critically–than they ever did before or even during its release. With all the hoopla and justified love for that record, it's easy to forget that no one really knew who the band were when it came out 14 years ago.
As 2013 has seen excellent releases from the likes of emo acts such as Senses Fail, it’s perhaps time to dust off the best album of another 2000s emo mainstay, Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American. Or, it would be if the Mesa, Arizona foursome hadn’t released their best album since the one that produced alt rock radio classics like The Middle. Indeed, Jimmy Eat World’s 2013 record, Damage, doesn’t contain a radio single that’s as obviously catchy as The Middle or even some of Bleed American’s deep cuts.
Jimmy Eat World's 'Damage' is the Album Of The Month in the latest issue of Rock Sound. Come see some of the nice things we said about it. Jimmy Eat World's ace new album is out this week, and we love it so much that we made it Album Of The Month in the latest issue of Rock Sound. In it, we say things like:"Jimmy Eat World are undoubtedly an enigma.
Review Summary: We build, we box, we carry on...We should all be thankful that musical taste is, for the most part, a malleable construct. Without an open mind or a willingness to try new things, we might not discover an artist through Internet word-of-mouth or witness a band start from humble beginnings at a Battle of the Bands competition and end up on active rock radio. As our listening habits begin to take shape and our preferences crystallize, old standbys are passed over and perhaps forgotten about after some time.But then there are bands that you've grown up with, where membership changes have been rare, if not completely non-existent.
No matter your age, angst remains a powerful muse. Jimmy Eat World have been channelling theirs into catchy emotive rock – don’t call them emo! – since their 1994 debut, coming to prominence with the catchy, poppy hooks of 2001’s ‘Bleed American’. There are plenty of those on these 10 songs, notably the infectious title track, lead single ‘I Will Steal You Back’ and the scornful spite of ‘How’d You Have Me’.
It’s been 12 whole years since Jimmy Eat World broke into the mainstream with Bleed American (i.e. the album formally known as Bleed American), and much in the music world has changed. Where there was once room for a certain brand of Pop-emo-core in the culture, popular music has taken a sharp left turn into derpy roots-rock and an amorphous sludge of other new sub-genres.
A new album from Jimmy Eat World will always evoke feelings of nostalgia. If you're a twentysomething, there's every chance that Clarity, Bleed American and Futures provided some of the soundtrack to your awkward years. The band have always stuck to what they know. They've never attempted a reinvention and have never pretended to be something they're not.
Few genres can bring a party down like emo, but Jimmy Eat World have done a pretty good job of sidestepping much of the woe-is-me bullshit that hovers over the genre like a gray cloud. Of course, the band has always been something of an odd fit for the emo tag, which by 2013 has been sufficiently watered down to categorize any band brazen enough to bare real emotion on record. Even if they practically wrote the code for the alternative subgenre with their 1999 masterstroke Clarity, the Mesa, AZ band has long since risen above and stretched beyond emo’s marginal confines.
Jimmy Eat World were the schoolboy innocents of the mid-Nineties emo scene, plying lively, down-the-middle tunes applicable to smooching teens of any era. Twenty years later, on their first album since 2010, the Arizona guys still sound sweet. They're also hall-monitor dull – these meat and potatoes sure could use some fresh gravy. For frontman James Adkins, a kiss is never "just a kiss," pain's "buried deep," and every sentiment calls for a dark, itchy melody.The simple pleasures on Damage – the bells solo in "Book of Love," the decidedly unmacho crunch of "I Will Steal You Back" – stir up plenty of warm feeling.
After one listen of Damage, Jimmy Eat World’s eighth full-length (and first for RCA Records), one thing will be abundantly clear: Either frontman Jim Adkins had his heart broken pretty goddamn badly at some point during the past few years, or he is remarkably good at faking it. Instead of continuing down the odd lyrical path he explored on 2010’s uneven Invented, where he publically stated he was drawing inspiration from random photographs and inventing stories for each, Damage feels extremely personal. There’s the yearning for reconciliation (the title track), the admission of weakness (“Lean”), the realization of romantic failure (“Book Of Love”), the petty jealousy (“I Will Steal You Back”) and the wistful reminiscing (“You Were Good”).
Chances are that if you are of a certain age, Jimmy Eat World mean at least something to you. Those in their mid-to-late 20s will recall them as a band who smashed the doors open for emo in the mainstream and who were, at one point, absolutely ubiquitous for rock fans up and down the country. ‘Static Prevails’, ‘Clarity’ and ‘Bleed American’ as a three album streak is better than anything your favourite band have ever done and frankly, if you don’t like ‘The Middle’ then you might want to check that you have a pulse.