Jimmy Eat World

Jimmy Eat World plays the Orpheum tonight, touring behind their new CD “Chase This Light” and it’s a great chance to catch them at the top of their game. This quartet has emo and indie cred to beat the band, yet there’s a sadder but wiser vibe to their new songs. They’ve been the next big thing — the flavor of the week — now they’re a top quality act in a music world that has no idea what the hell it wants.

I really appreciate the sincerity and spirit that’s so much a part of the Jimmy Eat World experience. The single “The Middle” from the 2001 release “Bleed American” is a touchstone for anyone struggling to hang onto independence and individuality. For better or worse — mostly for better — it has defined the band. The majority of their songs, however, require more careful consideration. There’s some deep stuff beneath those shiny power pop hooks.

“Chase This Light” is a stellar effort. Ironically the only problem area happens to be in the middle (of the CD). “Big Casino” is a terrific lead track. It sets the tone for everything that follows with the lines “I’ll accept with poise, with grace/when they draw my name from the lottery” — love, success, failure, disappointment, it’s all there. “Always Be” with its hand claps and killer chorus has all the making of a giant hit — if the word gets out.

The boys dabble a bit with politics in “Electable (Give It Up)” — it’s okay, but pretty predictable. It’s one of those middle songs I mentioned. “Here It Goes” falls into the same category — only without the politics.

The closing three songs, “Chase This Light” — “Firefight” — “Dizzy” wrap things up smartly, with a little U2-ish grandeur to boot. It only takes about 45 minutes to go from start to finish and you’ll find yourself happy to listen again when the CD wraps around. A big change from “Goodbye Sky Harbor” from the 1998 album “Clarity” — a 16-minute self-indulgent, repeat-fest that’s only for the hardest of hard core fans. Amazing what you learn in 10 years!

It’s great to have ’em back.


One Response

  1. Great review, Mike. “Clarity” was such a genre-defining record when it released back in 1999, and I’ve been a huge fan since.

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