As a lot of my peers will know all I have actually done (other than homework of course) is listen to vast amounts of Jimmy Eat World. Well I am now the proud owner of 7/8 of their albums, only missing the very first one because they made so few of them and one on Amazon will set me back £20. I feel I am now in a position to be able to sum them up for everyone else so here it is, album by album (excluding the first one).
Released in 1996 with Capitol Records it is perhaps my least favourite album of theirs. It was well known by their fan base at the time that they were unhappy to be working with the big record company as they had stepped in on the sound that they wanted to produce and changed it. Once you listen to all of their songs you understand this more so. This feud produced a pretty monotonous sound that neither they nor their fans particularly liked. Still if I were to have a favourite song from this album it would be "Caveman".
Jimmy Eat World’s second studio album Clarity was released in 1999. It was still produced under Capitol Records, however the band were allowed a free rein and the result was spectacular. Critically voted as the best of the Jimmy Eat World albums, Clarity has a very hard pop-punk sound that they were restricted from using before. With a mixture of fairly acoustic and less so songs it has a song for everyone (within reason). My personal favourite is "Lucky Denver Mint" with its very catchy and simple drumming pattern that runs throughout the song; it's definitely one that hangs around long after you hear it.
Bleed American was released in 2001 and was later renamed Jimmy Eat World after the World Trade Centre terrorist attack, as the record label thought it could be seen as provocative and would lead to a reduction in popularity. Either way this album continues where Clarity left off. It’s still on the line of hard pop punk with exciting chord progressions and intricate riffs. This album was the kick starter for their now long career in music. "The Middle" was the most famous song from this album, making it to number 4 on the US music charts (a feat only repeated by Jimmy Eat World one other time with pain from the future album). Despite its popularity, "The Middle" is not my favourite song from the album; I prefer "Authority Song". It is upbeat and cheery (sometime seen as a rarity in pop punk) and it also hasn’t been over played by various pop punk playlists on Spotify and such sites.
This album has a special place in my heart as it is the first album I bought of Jimmy Eat World’s. Having listened to it for nearly a month solid (November incidentally) I still listen to it a lot, which is unusual seeing as it's just one album, but it fascinated me. A much more deep and sad album than before, you can feel Jim Adkins has been through emotional things in order to write this album. The quicker and more violent sounding songs are counter acted by two slightly softer songs ("Drugs or Me" and "Polaris") but you can still taste the darkness in these too. My favourite song from this album is "Pain" and it is easily my most listened to song by J.E.W so far.
Chase This Light
This is the first of the new Jimmy Eat World albums that had a slightly different sound to before. Having grown out of the aggressive and dark sound they moved onto a slightly cleaner and fresher one. This is made very evident in this album with songs like "Big Casino" and "Here it Goes" with undistorted guitar riffs and upbeat chords. Released in 2007 it was to be the new era of J.E.W and I’m glad they were able to find a new sound; all too often bands get stuck in their way and lose sight of innovation in their music. "Big Casino" is my personal favourite on this album; however, it is pretty closely followed by "Chase This Light" -- it just depends what mood I’m in.
Invented was the next step forward in Jimmy Eat World's album development and was released in 2010. Jim Adkins (lead singer and guitarist) is a big fan of photography and after studying the artwork of local photographers Cindy Sherman and Hannah Starkey he decided that he would write an album inspired by their artwork. This is why the album has been called Invented, it's idea is to capture the imagination of something visual and make it audible. With a similar acoustic sound to Chase This Light it was very palatable, with a few more heavy going songs than its predecessor Invented has a very whole package, I think that my favourite song would be "Mixtape", it’s an acoustic song which at 6:30 is a relatively long listen but I’m captivated by it every time it’s played.
Finally, their latest album, Damage was released last year (2013). This is very soft pop punk album with very little in the way of over complicated guitar riffs or ridiculous drum fills. Yet that is what makes this a special album, the art of utilising simplicity is often overlooked and in this case I think that it has been done very well indeed. The premise behind this album is that it is written about a mid-life break up, playing with the teen cliché, which led to my favourite Jim Adkins quote of all time. “If you have a happy song about how happy you are, I just want to slap you”. My favourite song on this album is "I Will Steal You Back" because it’s the heaviest song on the album and can still maintain a clean cut sound.
So where next for Jimmy Eat World? Well, by looks of their Facebook page they have been recording the next album and I have never been this excited about an album before. So bring it on Jimmy Eat World, if the new one is half as good as the last 7 I'd be very pleased. One last thing I suppose I ought to mention, listen to them ... immediately!