Earlier this year, Jimmy Eat World released one of the most heartfelt, lyrically-driven albums of their career in the form of Damage. During their 2013 iTunes session, the band revisit some of their older, oft-untouched songs, giving them a refreshing face-lift and (for the most part) slotting them comfortably alongside and in-tone with their more recent tracks.
Some of the songs benefit enormously from the transfer, and others not so much. Where “For Me This Is Heaven” is translated into a lush acoustic number with more intricately-plucked guitar melodies than were found on Clarity, “Kill” sounds like a murky and uncomfortable re-take on what was once one of the band's most exceptionally beautiful accomplishments. The dark tone of “Kill” -- made even heavier by down-tuned guitars -- doesn't sit well with the bright and organic nature of other songs such as “Damage” and “For Me This Is Heaven”.
It was already abundantly clear that little would need to be done, compositionally, to bring “Chase This Light” -- a gentle yet somewhat underwhelming acoustic guitar-centric song from their album of the same name -- in-line with Jimmy Eat World's newest material, and little has been done. This new recording of the song shines impeccibly, however, with vocals and harmonies that far surpass those found on the 2007 studio version. “Chase This Light” once felt like a trite attempt at making a beautiful song that was all-the-while encaged by the sheened and cold context of an over-produced album. The song has found a new home in 2013, at a time in which the band has adopted an ethos of letting the hearts of their songs speak for themselves, without the unnecessary plastic polish of their previous works.
Alongside an array of new songs, we are also treated to a re-worked (in a sense) version of “Goodbye Sky Harbor”, and a pop cover in the form of Taylor Swift's “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”. The former is a bite-sized version of Clarity’s closing track, with the extended instrumental loop replaced for a short burst of dirty, explosive rock to close out the song (this version was played live for many years following the release of Clarity). The latter is an OK rocked-up version of a song many will have already heard, and many already jetisoned. It is an interesting cover that is musically well-suited to Jimmy Eat World, yet lyrically is demonstrably sub-par when considering the songs that come before it. As with the rest of this session, though, it's well worth checking out, even if only to satisfy your own curiosity.