Band – Jimmy Eat World
Album – Damage
Label – RCA
I’m back, wooooopp. I can see you’re elated about this news. If you don’t read my blog regularly then I should probably fill you in with the news that my wife and I had our fourth baby 6 weeks ago. Since then I’ve taken a bit of paternity leave from this blog, we’re slowly getting the hang of life as a family of 6 so I thought I’d grab a moment here and there and catch up on the things I’ve been meaning to write about for some time. What better way to start then by writing about a band who you could also describe as ‘back’.
Jimmy Eat World have returned with a new studio album, ‘Damage’, the first since 2010 when they released the disappointing ‘Invented’. If you know me or follow me on twitter etc… You’ll know what a fan of Jimmy Eat World I am. I’ve seen them live countless times, my wife walked down the aisle at our wedding to ‘For me this is heaven’ and my double blue vinyl copy of ‘Clarity’ is the most treasured of all my records. Jimmy Eat World have been one of the most consistently reliable bands to come out of emo, where other bands were too hasty to dismiss that label and made bad records as a result of that Jimmy Eat World kept their head down and released album after album packed with songs of the highest quality. I’d been a fan of the band for over 10 years before they had released something I wasn’t really on board with, that’s an incredibly high hit rate. Something about ‘Invented’ didn’t connect with me even though I think there are good songs on there, it’s a record that I didn’t get on with at first and haven’t revisited much since. Of course this made me a little apprehensive about ‘Damage’. You can never take away the influence that Jimmy Eat World have had and the quality of their back catalogue but with their being so many amazing bands around now all demanding my attention I did wonder how a new Jimmy Eat World album would fit in. Turns out it is just what I needed.
I definitely believe that what’s happening in your life and how your mood is when you first start listening to a new record has an enormous influence over how you will perceive and like that record. There are, I’m sure, perfectly good records by bands that I’ve dismissed due to the fact I wasn’t in the mood. ‘Damage’ definitely came at the right place and the right time. It was never going to hit me like ‘Clarity’ did the first time I heard that, very few albums do, but there was something very comforting about hearing ‘Damage’ for the first time. Our daughter must’ve been just a couple of weeks old and we were starved of sleep when ‘Damage’ first went on my car stereo. People joke to you when you have a baby about the sleepless nights but it isn’t a joke, there’s nothing funny about it. Even though we’ve been through this before with the other kids its still no preparation for just how tired you’re gonna feel. I got in my car to drive to work and put ‘Damage’ on the CD player, it was after a particularly difficult night and I may have been in a pretty vulnerable state but it felt an old friend was giving me a well needed hug. I felt immediately cradled in their arms as they did what Jimmy Eat World always do. It felt like a crazy time, everything was a bit up in the air, our family routine was gone and needed replacing but there were Jimmy Eat World making great quality rock songs, just like you expect them to do. They became my constant, a signal that one day all was going to be ok again. They were standing in front of me with their hands on my shoulders giving me a comforting smile and a knowing look. I felt reassured and connected to the album immediately.
Sometimes I dismiss a band or an album and I know I’m doing it because of the wrong reasons. I’ll raise the bar of expectancy too high or I’ll think about what it says about me to like something, or even have a preconceived notion of what cool is and if something didn’t fit the mould I’d toss it aside. With ‘Damage’ I’ve been able to listen to it with a clear mind, a clarity if you will. I didn’t put it on with a judgement already made up in my mind about it and because of that I’ve been able to enjoy the record a lot more than I normally would. Jimmy Eat World don’t sound like they did on ‘Static Prevails’ anymore, they’ll never make ‘Clarity’ again, I doubt they’ll ever make a record again that has an impact on me like ‘Futures’ did when I first heard it but that’s no reason to not love what they do now. They still write great songs, with great hooks and memorable melodies that will brighten up the most miserable of days.
There is so much to enjoy on this new record. The first song released, ‘I will steal you back’ is an obvious highlight but this is equalled in merit with the opening track ‘Appreciation’. ‘No, Never’ could be best described as the new ‘Authority Song’, a song so catchy I’ve caught my kids singing it still hours after hearing it in the car. There are other moments that also remind me of older songs, ‘ByeByelove’ feels similar in style to ‘The most beautiful things’ and ‘Lean’ and ‘How’d You Have Me’ could have featured anywhere on ‘Chase This light’ and ‘Bleed American’ respectively.
It’s a bit annoying to describe an album as a return to form, so I won’t, but ‘Damage’ can more be seen as a great reminder just why and how much you love Jimmy Eat World. Long may they continue to carry making music and making us all fall in love all over again.
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