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Everyone has a set of bands or musicians that they hold dearly for some reason or another.  Oftentimes, it’s not even an artist that you listen to anymore.  Time placed a wedge between whatever it was that connected you so directly to their message and the place that you currently reside in life.  It’s like losing touch with an old friend; you never actually stopped caring about the person, it’s just that life has led you in separate directions and it no longer makes sense to spend more than the occasional holiday catching up with them.  For all intents and purposes, your friendships become ones of convenience.   But just like those time-tested relationships, there’s this unspoken understanding that anytime or anywhere, you’ll be able to return to that album/song/artist and everything will return to being exactly like it was before.  It’s a comfort that very few bands have been able to bestow upon me: Brand New, Yellowcard, and others do come to the forefront of my memory first – but then there’s Jimmy Eat World – the band that I too often tuck away, saying to myself, “I’ll give Clarity another listen once I’m finished with the new Sufjan.”  Well, I’m here now to say thank you to a band that I probably haven’t listened to nearly as much as I’ve always wanted to.

We’ve all experienced that crystallizing moment when you hear an artist’s message and everything seems to click – it’s almost as if that passage, song, or album was written specifically for you.  Perhaps the lyrics are exactly what you’ve never been able to articulate, maybe the music just fits a moment better than any other possible combination of sounds.  Finding love in music – to me at least – is almost as rare as falling in love with another person.  You both need to be in sync on so many different levels that when it finally does happen, it feels like a celestial alignment.  Are you dizzy yet?  Sure, maybe that sounds a little far-fetched.  I’d honestly be surprised if most readers didn’t scoff at that comparison.  But that’s exactly how I felt when I first laid ears upon Bleed American.    Like many Jimmy Eat World fans, it was my first experience with the band.  It was their breakthrough album, and it lit up the airwaves with huge hits such as “The Middle” and “Sweetness.”  In purchasing the album, I never expected to find the level of depth that I uncovered with the material that resided between the blockbuster numbers.  “Your House” hit home when the very first girl I thought I was falling in love with moved away, ‘How I’ve had you once / Oh, I can’t forget that / Sometimes I wish I could lose you again‘ while “Hear You Me” resonated with the passing of my grandfather, who died of cancer when I was only five, ‘So what would you think of me now / So lucky, so strong, so proud? / I never said thank you for that / Now I’ll never have a chance.’  Each song had a moment that tore me up inside…and I developed a personal attachment to this band that I haven’t even come close to replicating with any other band.  Jimmy Eat World was always who I turned to during moments of loss, and even if I didn’t know it at the time, that’s something that would continue for quite some time.

 

By the time Futures was rolled out, it seemed like everyone in my school was talking about the band.  I remember leaving straight from my 9th period history class to go pick up a copy from FYE (remember when they were everywhere?).  While the record stands tall as my favorite Jimmy Eat World release to date, I recall being pretty disappointed with the album at the time.  It didn’t seem to pack the same amount of energy and hooks that its predecessor did, and there was no reason for me to relate to the drug themes woven throughout the record’s lyrical fabric.  In fact, for about three years it was always the “good Jimmy album that is no Bleed American” – and that all changed one fateful night when I lost an incredibly close friend to the aforementioned subject matter.  “Drugs or Me” suddenly exposed its profound depth.  “Pain” took on a whole new meaning.  I found myself spiraling out of control, stumbling about my college streets drunk and alone on school nights and rarely sleeping.  I doubt a gave a fuck about Futures at that point, but when I snapped out of it and started to piece myself back together, I looked back at the album from an entirely different perspective that I doubt very few could unless they walked an identical path.  To this day, I still have to fight back tears when I hear the line ‘If only you could see the stranger next to me / You promise you promise that you’re done, but I can’t tell you from the drugs.’

It wasn’t until after graduation that I came to fully appreciate the meaning of the album’s towering 7 minute closer, “23” – which just so happened to coincide with my age at the time.  Once again I found myself on the wrong side of unrequited love, and this time it was someone completely unavailable.  ‘You’ll sit alone forever / If you wait for the right time‘ became the story of my life, always wondering about the what-if’s and if-only-I-had’s that never seemed to break in my favor.  I found myself drowning in self-pity, seemingly unable to even get noticed despite being a central cog in several large social groups.  I began doubting myself to the point of crippling insecurity, and at one point considered leaving everything I knew just to get away from the inescapable feeling of disappointment.  I never did though, clinging onto hope in a few areas that seemed to serve as silver linings – like my fresh teaching stint.  The lines ‘Don’t give away the end / The one thing that stays mine‘ rang out like a mission statement, and empowered me with the hope that someday things would turn out differently.  Not too far down the road, they thankfully did.

Not every single Jimmy Eat World album or song has had a deep and personal impact on me — that would be almost impossible.  But the moments I’ve shared with this band go to some incredibly dark places.  It’s not the kind of band you’d expect to share that type of journey with, but that’s the thing about music: you never know what role it will end up playing in your life.  So even though I’m pretty far beyond the years of Bleed American and Futures, and the experiences that surrounded them, I’ll always have a profound respect for the band that got me through some of the most difficult periods of my young adult life.  So even as I shelve those records for whatever is new and exciting, it was long overdue to put pen to paper (figuratively) and say thanks to a group of musicians whose impact will probably go far beyond what they’re even aware of.

 





BlackTaxi2d
03.09.16
Great intro. And i am right with you on the clarity topic, i keep saying ill get around to listening to it. some day!

great lyrical selections you made. i love how jim can express these words while still sounding happy in general, as if he has come to terms. Even "now i'll never have a chance" ends on a good note.

i feel the same about futures with my own personal memories as well, and even damage is a very important record to me - it was all i listened to as i was going through health issues.

if there was a "rock and roll hall of fame" for our kind of music, JEW would be first ballot. and then i would check out clarity right after

SowingSeason
03.09.16
Thanks man. I actually threw this together really fast because something came up and I didn't want to risk not coming back to it and finishing. Still, I think it gets the idea across of what this band means to me.

minty901
03.09.16
this was an excellent read. ive had an obsession with this band for 16 years and i dont think it will ever go away. even Damage manages to connect with me on such a personal level in a way that only a handful of albums can. jim adkins pops up in my dreams a lot. not because im gay or anything, but because i grew up with him as such an important icon in my life that he permeates my subconscious.

Feather
03.09.16
Wow, this is a great piece man. I can understand having such strong emotional attachment to an album.

Atari
03.09.16
simply an outstanding write-up sowing. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your friend and the rough times you went through, but I'm glad you found a band that you could relate to so well through those dark days. It's pretty crazy how lyrics can take on whole new meanings based on our circumstances in life!

onionbubs
03.09.16
outstanding write up, man.

Atari
03.10.16
Dizzy from "Chase This Light" is so much better than I remembered it, whoah

dbizzles
03.10.16
Boom! I have a similar attachment to these guys, even though I'm hardly clamoring for more material from them.

'While the record [Futures] stands tall as my favorite Jimmy Eat World release to date, I recall being pretty disappointed with the album at the time.'

I can't agree with that more. That cd sat in my old 364 disc leather CD case for at least a year before I realized how much it meant to me. 'Drugs or Me' being a definitive song of my late teens early 20's. Nice write-up.

Arcade
03.10.16
perfectly summizes this band

i mean i hold Bleed American really close to my heart so it's hard to ever put in words why it is i don't really value it as an all-time favourite, but i think you've tapped into the feeling astutely.

SowingSeason
03.10.16
Thanks everyone. Been meaning to do something like this for a while but could never get the words to start flowing. Probably a few others I could do this for as well but I heard a couple Jimmy songs that just sparked something.

DaveyBoy
03.10.16
This well & truly deserves my 1st comment for 2016. Phenomenal write-up Sowing.

"It's pretty crazy how lyrics can take on whole new meanings based on our circumstances in life!"
Hear hear Atari, hear hear.

BigHans
03.10.16
Nice,. The ending part of a Praise Chorus and the chorus hook to Work still gives me a big charge. Bleed American rules.

Rowan5215
03.10.16
lovely piece Sowbro

like Belle & Sebastian before them I've always felt JEW have a sharp ability to express dark themes while still managing to make catchy as fuck music. Jim is a poet at heart and he really understands the exact structure of words that make the maximum impact

klap
03.10.16
Bleed American >>>>>>

Arcade
03.10.16
"like Belle & Sebastian before them I've always felt JEW have a sharp ability to express dark themes while still managing to make catchy as fuck music. "

weird but apt comparison now i think about it

Rowan5215
03.10.16
Stuart may be the better lyricist but can he write a banger of Sweetness-tier??? I think not

zakalwe
03.10.16
Radio friendly, inoffensive, corporate moulded, sappy, rock lite, chart music cobbled together by people who should know better and who channel their craft with no depth, vigour or conviction.



Rowan5215
03.10.16
you're so full of shit it's leaking through your computer

zakalwe
03.10.16
Deep down you know I'm right.

theacademy
03.10.16
i'll give illmatic another listen once im finished with the new macklemore

Rowan5215
03.10.16
Deep down you know you're a cynical, self-righteous wanker who talks enough shite to be an american politician

zakalwe
03.10.16
Cynical? Yes!
Self Righteous? Yeah, usually.
Yank Politician? I can dream can't I?

SowingSeason
03.10.16
I think most of you are missing the big picture here: DaveyBoy sighting!

DinosaurJones
03.10.16
Yes.

jmh886
03.10.16
great band. good read. agreed.

Sanders
03.10.16
love this band still

bleed american, futures and chase this light all pertain to different parts of my life and hold completely different memories for me

theNateman
03.10.16
This band is so good. Gonna jam futures and clarity when I get home from work today

3waycrash
03.12.16
This was a very good write up. I really appreciate hearing personal experiences like these in relation to music. Helps me better understand and appreciate why I like and connect with certain music myself. While I haven't actively kept up with Jimmy Eat World, Bleed American and Futures do have a place in my heart for certain moments in my life. They're still great to give a spin nowadays as well, and if anything my appreciation for both albums continues to grow as I grow as well.

SowingSeason
03.14.16
Thanks all, the positive feedback means a lot considering the importance of this band to me

SowingSeason
10.24.16
Integrity blues brings back these feels hard. I'm in love with it.

zakalwe
10.24.16
I've actually lol'd

This is the perfect joke.

minty901
10.24.16
zakalwe I think you're trying too hard to attain infamy.

zakalwe
10.24.16
Through honesty? Better than being liked through fakery. And I'd just like to note I've never tried hard at anything except being a dad and that failed.

MH18
10.24.16
Fantastic read. I'm still to listen to anything these guys have ever put out (lol). Bought their latest while hopping on the hype train, can't wait to spin it.

AsleepInTheBack
10.24.16
Great piece Sowing

minty901
10.24.16
I'm not going to feel sorry for you zakalwe. You didn't need to comment on this thread, regardless of how honest your comment might have been. Sowing put his heart into this article and to openly mock it is needlessly mean. There's nothing dishonest or fake about simply saying nothing. If you think being a dick online is going to bring meaning and satisfaction to your life then I'm sorry but I think you're going to be disappointed.

ashcrash9
10.24.16
somehow missed this back when it was posted, great writeup, Sowing

ourgoodfriend
10.24.16
Radio friendly, inoffensive, corporate moulded, sappy, rock lite, chart music cobbled together by people who should know better and who channel their craft with no depth, vigour or conviction. [2]

SowingSeason
10.24.16
"cobbled together by people who should know better and who channel their craft with no depth, vigour or conviction"

If you think these guys have no conviction then you probably have no soul and can't feel anything

ourgoodfriend
10.24.16
tad extreme there but w/e

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