In March of 2003, MTV premiered Jimmy Eat World’s third single, “The Middle,” and viewers watched the best party video ever. The band, which consists of vocalist Jim Adkins, guitarist Tom Linton, bassist Rick Burch and drummer Zach Lind, rocked out in a house filled with alcohol and half naked guys and girls in their underwear. Unfortunately, Jimmy Eat World’s latest album, “Chase This Light,” proves that the party is definitely over for these boys.
While “Jimmy Eat World” has had a 13-year career, their most popular album, “Bleed American,” (which was later renamed “Jimmy Eat World” after the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks), provided music perfect for the high school and college crowd. Their songs appealed to an audience that appreciated music and parties equally. “The Middle” became the party anthem for most house parties.
Another single, “Sweetness” off the same 2001 album, seeped into the mainstream with a catchy chorus. Yet, the band has had some trouble duplicating the success of “Bleed American.” In 2004, the band released the album, “Futures,” and received mediocre reviews. The only track worth mentioning off that album was the single “Pain,” which was mostly played on alternative radio stations. Luckily, because of the band’s strong fanbase, their album sales have never been complete disasters.
To revive the successful formula that put them on the charts with “Bleed American,” the band built a home studio in Arizona and went to work. Sadly, the qualities that once made Jimmy Eat World a hit at the party are for the most part nonexistent in their most recent album. Instead, most of the tracks are dull.
Although the third track, “Always Be,” does have beautiful lyrics, the slowness of the song is a bit boring. “I’m alone in this. I’m as I’ve always been. Right behind what’s happening. She’s lost in this. She’s like she’ll always be. A little far for me to reach,” Adkins sings. While these are sappy lyrics that make for a good track, the song lacks the band’s trademark heartfelt emotion. It is difficult for the listener to not skip to the next track out of sheer boredom.
Like “Always Be,” the fourth track, “Carry You,” lacks passion as well. The song, which is about a lost love, is dreary. “I could never be the one that you want, don’t ask. Here’s to living in the moment, cause it passed. I’m still carrying a little hope that maybe things could be different now. Is that so wrong,” sings Adkin. Although the listener might be drawn in by the romantic lyrics, the beat is too melancholy. This is a shame because most of these songs do have some potential.
The sixth track, “Gotta Be Somebody’s Blues,” is unlike the typical Jimmy Eat World song. It is eerie and the lyrics are somewhat abstract, leaving the listener confused. “Let the water come in. She’s the only one I love. Let the fat man drop. She’s the sweetest honey pot. Will they see the sky again?” This is not the sound that once made Jimmy Eat World a strong force in the rock/pop genre.
However, the first single, “Big Casino,” is decent in comparison to the rest of the album. The song is about confidence and hope for success and recognition. Adkins sings, “I’m the one who gets away. I’m a New Jersey success story and they’ll say. ‘Lord, give me a chance to shake that hand!’ Although the song does not compare to “The Middle,” it is a more upbeat track that reminds the listener that this is indeed a Jimmy Eat World album.
“Chase This Light,” is defiantly not worth chasing. Instead, Jimmy Eat World’s fans should save their money and dust off their “Bleed American” album, strip down to their undergarments and relive their memorable party days.
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