Review Summary: When it's all over, those butterflies that Jim speaks of will remain forever.
Out in the real world, the common theme that exists with Jimmy Eat World is that most people have only heard their hit songs such as “The Middle” and “Pain.” Let’s face it: anyone who doesn’t live under a rock has heard Jim Adkins belt out that chorus about everything turning out just fine. However, despite Clarity
achieving universal acclaim from critics it exists as one of their most overlooked records. Before Jimmy Eat World nabbed mainstream success with Bleed American
they were a relatively unknown band that flew under everyone’s radar. Instead of the more simplistic Bleed American
possesses a complexity that they were not able to duplicate with most of their forthcoming records. The lyrics are as emotional and personal as they could possibly get and the instrumentation is masterful, but most importantly: it marks a turning point for the band simply because of Jim Adkins completely taking over as their exceptional vocalist. It is for these reasons that Clarity
proves to be one of the most important emo albums to ever be recorded.
essentially excels in its ability to deliver crushingly personal accounts of loss, break ups, depression, religion and drugs without ever sounding too simplistic or generic. “Table for Glasses” gives us the first taste of what to expect with Jims stunning performance, swelling instrumentation and amazing delivery of “Lead my skeptic sight” in the middle section of the song. While “Table for Glasses” give us a taste of what’s to come, “Lucky Denver Mint” shows us what to expect in terms of variety because of its unique rhythms, engrossing chorus, lyrics and bridge. Instrumental variety works hand in hand with lyrical variety too because the listener will never hear the same lyrics being recycled and none of the songs are about the same thing. From “Your New Aesthetic’s” lyrics about not giving in to conformity to the blatant apology to a deceased loved one in “12.23.95,” everything just reeks of variety and sentimentality. The lyrics of “12.23.95” may seem like a break up song on the surface, but if one looks deeper it’s just way too sincere to be a simple break up song. This happens to be the common theme of this record: nothing is as it seems in terms of lyrics. Aided with beautiful guitar work, breathtaking harmonies and lyrics that will both touch your heart, the listener is in for one hell of a ride.
However, it’s the songs in the final half of this record that will surely engage and reduce the listener to tears. The one-two punch of “Ten” and “Just Watch the Fireworks” is simply song placement at its finest and the listener will be blown away by these songs. “Ten” features brilliant guitar work along with some more great drumming, but it’s Jim’s lyrics and the way he sings that really gets to the listener. Lines like “Blame no one/Look into my eyes and blame no one” and “Our weakness is the same/We need poison sometimes/So take another drink with me” are so gut wrenching that one can’t help but feel for what Jim is singing about. “Just Watch the Fireworks” contains the same qualities, but it's evaluated to top tier status because of the beautiful strings added into the mix and a breathtaking climax with Jim exclaiming “I’ll stay up as long as it takes!” The seven minute epic never fails to consume the listener with its beautiful atmosphere and touching guitar work. Despite all of these depressing lyrics “For Me This is Heaven” exists as the light at the end of the tunnel. It showcases the best guitar work of the whole record, a surreal guitar/piano combination in the bridge and hopeful lyrics about living for today and recalling wonderful memories.
After all is said and done, one also can’t escape the feeling of relating to all of these songs perfectly. I think just about everyone could recall a time when a date went wrong or when you said the wrong thing. Beneath “Crush’s” upbeat guitar driven nature lays these themes and that’s the beauty of this record. Whether it be this lyrical concept or Jim contemplating whether or not he really believes in his religion, Clarity
has it all in terms of lyrical variety as well as instrumental variety. Everything about this record is so personal, hard hitting and beautiful that it will grab the listener and never let go all the way up until the final sixteen minute epic. It’s essential emo music and after the first listen is done all the listener will want to do is start the journey all over again.
“When the time we have now ends
When the big hand goes round again
Can you still feel the butterflies
Can you stay hear the last goodnight”