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.

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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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