Review Summary: Despite adequate reasoning for the release and good length for an EP, these are average album tracks at best.
Excluding EP's released before a band has recorded their debut full-length album, I am not much of a fan of EP's at all. They are often nothing but poor excuses of filler when a follow-up is having trouble being made. Furthermore, the tracks are often best worked on at a later date to be used on a future album just in case that aforementioned trouble hits in some way, shape or form.
But there are times when EP's are indeed useful and often make sense being released. Right here we have one of them in Jimmy Eat World's 'Stay On My Side Tonight'. What occurred here was that following the mainstream breakthrough of 2001's pop-rock masterpiece 'Bleed American', the band eventually began working on their 5th full-length album with producer Mark Trombino. But due to a variety of factors, things weren't working out and the teaming didn't last the journey. This EP includes remade versions of some of those songs that very well may never have seen the light of day.
As almost as if it is a shout-out to their 1999 album 'Clarity', the band opt for a strange opener here with the almost 8 minute 'Disintegration'. Rather depressing and introverted, it's not exactly a song to cheer up your day. It gets by on the back of some of heartfelt vocals and an effectively repetitive sing-along portion towards the end of it.
The 2nd track 'Over' is smooth and melodic, which showcases the band’s main strength. Good backing vocals are used on occasions, while the song has that pseudo epic feel to it that only Jimmy Eat World can add to what is ultimately a rather standard pop-rock track. Unfortunately, it's all downhill from there. 'Closer' is simply average and at 6 minutes is too long. 'Half Right' is a forgettable acoustic cover of an old Heatmeister ballad, while the closing remix of 'Futures' highlight 'Drugs Or Me' practically ruins a tremendous song.
I always find EP's difficult to rate. Sometimes it is due to a lack of length and sometimes it is due to a lack of reasoning for the release. In this case, neither factor bothers me as there is sufficient reason for this to exist and at 27 minutes long it is almost as lengthy as the occasional LP. But in this case it is not a tough decision for me to fail this effort from an admittedly favorite band of mine. At best, there are 4 average album tracks here & nothing gets close to being in the band's top 20 best songs. At the end of the day, that's really what any release is judged on.
Recommended Track: Over.