Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Does It Hold Up?: Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American (2001)

Jimmy Eat World was formed in the early 1990s in Mesa, Arizona. They were one of the major players in the early emocore scene.  Bleed American was actually their third album (released in 2001).  The sound was more towards a pop-punk sound than their previous melodic and dreamy recordings, Static Prevails and Clarity, released in 1996 and 1999 respectively. 

As a whole, the album is upbeat and hopeful. It features catchy pop-punk melodies and sing along lyrics focusing on the anxiety of being a teenager. 

It starts with the title track.  It is an aggressive anthem about being young.  Like many of their songs, the breakdown is a strong chorus that makes excellent use of lead singer Jim Adkin's voice.  It blends right into the second track, "A Praise Chorus." Again, this song is another sing-along classic. During their live shows (at least the two I've seen), it is always a crowd pleaser.  

The third track, "The Middle," was actually a mainstream hit. It was supported by a memorable video, with half-naked dancing young adults.  No one can ignore how catchy that whole "It just takes some time..." chorus is.  It is an anthem of teenage years. This will always be one of my favorite songs.  

The album just rolls along with one catchy song after another.  "Sweetness" features one of my favorite uses of the "woah-oh-oh" verse breaks.  "Hear You Me" is one of the most beautifully heartbreaking songs about death.  "The Authority Song" and "If You Don't, Don't" are two very underrated anthems and will be stuck in one's head for days.  The album closes with "My Sundown." It is the perfect ending to this powerhouse of an album.  It lulls the listener out to a dreamy state.  

As a whole, this album stands up to the test of time. The lyrics capture what it is like to be a teenager. The songs scream of insecurity and uncertainty of youth.  If you are looking for an upbeat yet profound album, give this one a listen.  It is unforgettable, even if you've forgotten it for years. 

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