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Monday, September 27, 2010

Jimmy Eat World: Invented

By Nick Carrabine

“You don’t get to walk away, walk away now. It’s too late, you can’t walk away, walk away now.” - Mixtape

Two things I’ve come to expect with every Jimmy Eat World album:

First, It usually takes multiple listens to really appreciate it. I absolutely hated, and I mean hated, Futures when I first heard it the first few times and now it remains one of my favorite albums of the past decade.

Second, when you listen to a Jimmy Eat World, expect an epic album closer. (the 16-minute “Goodbye Sky Harbor” off Clarity; the six-minute “My Sundown” off Bleed American; The seven-minute “23,” which remains one of my all-time favorite songs, off Futures; and probably my second favorite Jimmy Eat World song ever, “Dizzy” off Chase This Light.)

The above lyrics ring through, and repeatedly, on “Mixtape,” which is Invented’s six and a half-minute closer. Like most Jimmy Eat World albums (not counting 1994’s self-titled record or their 1996 Static Prevails — where the band was still trying to not only find an identity, but a lead singer) Invented is a very hard album to walk away from.

Jimmy Eat World has been one of my favorite bands throughout the past 12 years and I could honestly never say a bad thing about them and trust me, I can find a lot of faults in bands that I enjoy more than them, but Jimmy Eat World is so likable with such a beautiful tone to all of their songs. The reason why most of their albums take multiple listens to enjoy is because some can confuse their music — with the first two or three listens — as boring.

However, their lyrics are so truthful, so emotional, that anyone can easily relate to the stories that lead singer Jim Adkins is telling us. Most of their songs, including my two favorite songs from them “23” and “Dizzy,” are not really that catchy at all, but the story for both of them are so great, and meaningful, they are hard not to  fall in love with them.

Invented starts off in a rather surprising way, with the acoustic “Heart Is Hard To Find,” that includes violins and a fast clapping pace which is quite against the grain here as most albums these days start off with a harder, more energized tone. But this is Jimmy Eat World, where they put more thought into lyrics and softer instrumental tones than most bands.

The second track, which is also the first single, “My Best Theory” is a very sold, more upbeat and energetic song and is probably the poppiest/catchiest song on the album. “Evidence,” the third track shows off more extremely soft vocals from Adkins, but a harder guitar riff. So far this may be my least favroite song on the album that at first I was so bored with, but after a few listens, it’s becoming more listenable.

The fourth and fifth track, “Higher Devotion,” and “Movielike,” are both great. For some reason, the chorus to “Higher Devotion” reminds me of a Michael Jackson song, with a higher pitched, faster talking Adkins and “Movielike,” is a song about the realities of life, and how every situation doesn't have a hollywood happy ending.

“Coffee and Cigarettes” I find myself skipping more often than not, but is an upbeat acoustic/electric number (Jimmy Eat World love to combine both acoustic and electric guitars to most of their songs).

Track number seven, “Stop” is where Invented really turns around and starts becoming a great album. “Stop” and the following number “Little Things,” which reminds me of a sequel to “Dizzy” and “Cut” are three of the best tracks on the album.

Softer, honest and simply magnificent.

“Action Needs an Audience,” is the first song since 1999’s "Blister", off Clarity, that Adkins doesn’t sing lead on. But just like "Blister," Guitarist Tom Linton knocks this one out of the park as “Action Needs an Audience” is the second most energetic song on the album.

The final two tracks, “Invented” and “Mixtape” span a total of 14 minutes, where clearly the band is going for not one, but two epic album closers.

The track “Invented” comes off as disappointing and very slow upon the first few listens but “Mixtape” shines as another solid Jimmy Eat World album closer, although it is not better than any of the previously mentioned album closers from above.

After listening to Invented, it’s a wonder to me whether or not it’s a coincidence that each of the band’s last three albums were released right around the start of fall. In the music industry, you typically see your summer albums, which consist of the more energetic, upbeat albums that accompany people on their summer vacations, parties and beach visits. It’s also no wonder, that the one album Jimmy Eat World did release in the summer, 2001s Bleed American — which remains the band’s most successful record commercially — is their most energetic album boasting their two biggest hits “In The Middle” and “Sweetness.”

The music Jimmy Eat World has made over these past three albums aren’t speaker bumping energetic tunes that’d you’d find yourself listening to while getting ready to go out for the weekend, but nor are they too dark for the darkest, coldest days of winter.

The band has simply mastered the art of creating dazzling, genuine and relaxing music.


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