Skip to main content

12 More by Jimmy Eat World

Sometimes an artist just needs 12 more songs to summarize their career. Case in point...
Sometimes your favorite band sneaks up on you. I'd been a Jimmy Eat World fan since the late 1990s, and never missed one of their albums. But they didn't become my favorite band until a 2013 concert at First Avenue, where I found myself singing along with every single song by heart. It was then that I realized that for every single phase of my adult life, Jimmy Eat World has been there to soundtrack it. As I hope this list attests, they continue to make vital and compelling music.

You definitely want to check out the 12 by Jimmy Eat World list to relive the first part of their career.


1. "Big Casino" (from Chase This Light, 2007)
A highly caffeinated tune that contains one of my top ten all-time Jimmy Eat World lyrics: "Well there's lots of smart ideas in books I've never read / When the girls come talk to me I wish to hell I had."

2. "Always Be" (from Chase This Light, 2007)
Chase This Light came out when I was 30 years old, not long after I started dating the woman who is now my wife. "Always Be" spoke to me profoundly as a summary of the series of romantic failures that was my 20s. I wonder if I would have embraced the song had I still been in the middle of all that. I think I would have, as it makes "I'm alone in this / as I've always been / Right behind what's happening" sound like something noble rather than awful.

3. "Chase This Light" (from Chase This Light, 2007)
Jimmy Eat World are faithful followers of Prince's tenet that great albums always have great title tracks. So it's a sure bet that the song the album is named after is going to be a damn good one. This lovely ballad is not an exception.

4. "My Best Theory" (from Invented, 2010)
A double guitar attack highlights this rocker that (to me) seems to be about a harboring healthy doubt of religion. 

5. "Invented" (from Invented, 2010)
Go back and see what I wrote about "Chase This Light." Great harmony vocals from Courtney Marie Andrews and one of the best slow builds of any song ever.

6. "Damage" (from Damage, 2013)
Another title track! This one is a clear-eyed assessment of the final days of a relationship.

7. "I Will Steal You Back" (from Damage, 2013)
The flip side of "Damage," in which the narrator believes they can still make it work, maybe: "I only pick a fight I know I'm sure to lose / So how can I not hold out hope for you?"

8. "Sure and Certain" (from Integrity Blues, 2016)
A soaring song demonstrating the old saying, "The older I get, the less I know."

9. "Pol Roger" (from Integrity Blues, 2016)
After an album full of songs exploring the psychological aftermath of a harsh break-up, this epic closer wraps it all up in a bow. The narrator is spending his birthday by himself in London and trying to be okay with it. "Love don't come to you / It was just there always."

11. "Delivery" (from Surviving, 2019)
Jimmy Eat World's trio of albums from Damage through Surviving seem to document an ongoing process of coming out of a long-term relationship while at the same time facing down the inner demons that the break-up brought to light. Surviving is the point where a lot of the awful work has been done, and you're starting to look outward again, and "Delivery" is about finding acceptance and peace in the difficult things you've been through.

10. "555" (from Surviving, 2019)
Anytime a band that's been around for 25 years can do something that's genuinely musically shocking but doesn't feel like a betrayal of themselves, that's special. "555" is that sort of song. The first time I heard it, accompanied by its mesmerizing sci-fi video, I immediately hit replay. And then I did it again. And then again.

12. "Congratulations" (from Surviving, 2019)
On the closing song of their 10th album, Jimmy prove they can still rock out convincingly. The song's topical lyrics are about the dangers of denying factual evidence and sublimating your sense of empathy in favor of self-interest.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Big Bad Eddie (Is Sweet Edward Now)

I wasn't surprised this week when I heard the news that Eddie Van Halen had left our mortal realm. For one, 2020 has been such a parade of awful news that nothing terrible is shocking anymore. For another, I knew Eddie had been reckoning with cancer for a long time. And for yet another, we're all just visitors here, but Eddie was especially so. We were lucky to get him for as long as we did. * With the inordinate number of monumental musicians we've lost since David Bowie's death in January 2016, it feels like my music writing has been approximately 75% eulogies. These essays have developed a predictable formula wherein I detail my personal history with that person's music. I fear the familiarity of that risks diminishing their impact, so for Eddie I wanted to honor his sense of innovation with my own. But there's a reason that formula came about. Ever since I was a teenager, the primary goal of my writing has been discovery. In the process of writing, I learn w

REO Speedwagon: Nine Lives (1979)

Where We Left Off: With Kevin Cronin back on lead vocals and Bruce Hall replacing Gregg Philbin on bass, REO Speedwagon were finally building sales momentum with two successful albums in a row. * Nine Lives  was released in July of 1979. The title was likely a reference to the fact that it was the band's ninth album (if you include You Get What You Play For ), as well as the fact that they'd survived a level of turmoil that would have been the end of a band with less fortitude. There are also nine songs on the album. Perhaps the most interesting and puzzling thing about this record - both in sound and in presentation - is how much it represented a swerve away from You Can Tune a Piano... .  You'd think that having finally hit on a successful formula REO would want to repeat it. But on the whole the music on Nine Lives abandons the countryish pop rock of the previous record in favor of a faster, harder sound, way more "Ridin' the Storm Out" than "T

REO Speedwagon: Life As We Know It (1987)

Where We Left Off: Wheels Are Turnin' was REO Speedwagon's third consecutive multi-million selling album, producing the #1 hit "Can't Fight This Feeling." * Produced by the same team as Wheels Are Turnin' (Cronin, Richrath, Gratzer, and David DeVore), Life As We Know It was recorded while when Kevin Cronin was going through a divorce. He says making the album was a welcome distraction from his family falling apart. At the same time, his relationship with Gary Richrath was fraught with tension. That set of circumstances played a huge part in the album's lyrical content, and knowing the record was the last one for the band's classic line-up makes for an intriguing listen. For example, it's commonly held that "Too Many Girlfriends," a tune about someone running too hot for too long, is Cronin taking a shot at Richrath. This is most evident in the self-referencing line, "he better find the one / he's gonna take on the run