Jimmy Eat World: Chase This Light

By: David Van Nostrand

If you listened to popular radio in the summer of 2001, you remember Jimmy Eat World and their infectious emocore-jam, "The Middle." The song, an uplifting, fraternal pep talk, did to that thing that popular songs do to unassuming bands. Following their newfound success, Jimmy Eat World got artistic, and 2004's Futures didn't sound anything like Bleed America, which is why you've never heard of it. Chase This Light (Tiny Evil) is a Bleed America revival.

The permanent optimism is back, the wordless choruses have returned, and Jimmy Eat World sounds a lot like, well, Jimmy Eat World, which is not always a good thing. The band has always excelled at punchy rock songs, but lead singer Jim Adkins' penchant for self-conscious exposition gets in the way of the choruses. There are more words in the final track, "Dizzy," than in this review, so that by the time Adkins finally arrives at the refrain ("Are you dizzy yet?") I'm not because I stopped listening.

The appeal of Jimmy Eat World is the same "Livin' On A Pray" optimism that has fueled the Bon Jovi tour bus for decades. The current single, "Big Casino," has Adkins singing about "the one who gets away/ The New Jersey success story." And that character, that adage is the keystone to Jimmy Eat World's success. We all like rooting for the underdog, and four albums and three hit singles into their career, Jimmy Eat World still manages to sound like a long shot.

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[Published on: 2/9/08]

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