Jimmy Eat World- Damage
New Jimmy Eat World? YES please, for another round of heartbreak counsel! Read my thoughts on Pop ‘stache or below:
America’s favorite millennial rockers Jimmy Eat World returned to the scene on June 11 with the eighth album since 1995, Damage. Although their large-scale fame arose over ten years ago, the musicians from Arizona have continued to release critically solid albums ever since.
With lyrics and powerful progressions known for touching the hearts of romantic listeners worldwide, Damage is an absolutely beautiful continuance of earnest confessions and relatable sentiments. Its faithful emo-rock insides drive Damage on immediate par with 1999’s Clarity and 2001’s Bleed American.
Jimmy Eat World—expert in the expression of heartache, breakup, and the contemplation of old love—seems to have maintained the momentum that drives its sadness to an influential sound space. The acoustic recording “You Were Good” unravels the album’s conclusion with the raw breed of honesty that Jimmy’s career has left us anticipating: “So I’m not who you wanted/But you’re still the one who sets a fire in me/Guess I’ll drink what I’ll drink/Until the loving touch I need is not a need.”
With Damage, this imperfect sound quality wins over HD cleanliness—an intentional retreat, according to frontman Jim Adkins via Rolling Stone: “There was less of an emphasis on it being clean and perfect. And I think it feels better for what the songs are.”
So what are the songs on Damage, then? Jimmy Eat World calls the album an “adult break-up record.” Following up on this description, Adkins told Rolling Stone, “I’m 37 and the world around me is a lot different than when I was writing breakup songs in my 20′s. I tried to reflect that in what the lyrics are.”
True to this intention, the songs on Damage discuss love and pain with a perspective that only time can yield. “Please Say No” is a slow and simple acoustic guitar track that outlines the pain of reconnecting with a true love lost. A man reaches out on a courageous and tipsy phone call to say, “Me with you is who I think I’ll always be.” Jimmy Eat World members may have grown up and away from the heartbreaks of their earlier years, but so have we. Pains are more nostalgic and complex now, the consequences more permanent. This ballad is a determining example of the band’s ability to maintain a sound drenched in feeling, without ever having to reach backwards.
Regarding the task of writing music that he knows will go directly toward the hearts of devoted listeners, Adkins explained in an interview with Music Radar, “If you’re chasing the approval of anybody, you’re going to come out with something diluted. If you do chase it and it doesn’t elicit [a positive] response from people, that’s digging yourself into emotional and songwriting despair. You can’t stop until you have something you’re proud of.” The results of this integrity are intonations and lyrics that stir the emotions of millions of fans, easily on a basis as consistent as heartache itself.
With a generation of fans having been actively comforted by “The Middle” and tearfully moved by “Hear You Me,” there’s a predisposition to draw consolation from Jimmy Eat World’s emotionally woven anecdotes and agony-braised chords. Damage‘s “Appreciation” opens the album with bold familiarity, as its very first electric strum rings dissonant and defined in its surrounding anticipatory silence.
It marks a continued employment of a very practiced method, a sound too signature to distrust. Album singles “Damage” and “I Will Steal You Back” share whispered energy and romantic introspect, although they do little to contribute to the album’s stand-out song hype. This can only be considered a fault from radio listeners who don’t make it past the singles to the entire album.
At the end, we find ourselves feeling consoled and empowered with Damage, just as we could ten years ago with Clarity, Bleed American, and Futures.