Review Summary: Like the album for it's catchiness when you're young. Love it for it's honesty, maturity, and emotion when you're older.
Jimmy Eat World... This is a band I've known about for the longest time. I guess I first heard their music when I was 8. I was watching TV in my parents' room in the early night. At that age, MTV was one of my favorite channels. The year must have been 2001 and a certain Jimmy Eat World song came on. Unfortunately, the name of said song escapes me. Fast forward a few months... I was not in my native (I was not born there, however) Durango, Mexico; I was at the swimming near my great-aunt-and-uncle's house in Victoria, Texas. A song comes on that sounded familiar to me. It was "The Middle" by Arizona act Jimmy Eat World. I was instantly hooked by its catchiness and not-too-heavy-not-too-light pop-rock sound. Fast forward 10-11 years. I acquired a digital copy of the album "Bleed American;" and after flipping through the songs I heard "The Middle" again and recognized it as the song from a little over a decade ago.
At first I listened to the aforementioned song and "Sweetness" as a way to revive those memories from simpler times. Afterwards, I slowly began dipping into the rest of the album. Getting older in fact made me appreciate the album more. You would think that with an album such as this, that it would be cookie-cutter and boring as you got older. However, I can actually understand it so much now that I am older. "A Praise Chorus" being an ode to the shy and (unintentionally) socially akward and "The Middle" urging you on to be yourself. The lighthearted sound of most of the album lends itself well to create a great backdrop to most of the songs straightforward albeit great lyrics. Jim Adkin's singing is very emotional and he seems to be genuinely convinced to a fault about what says throught the songs.
The musicians are a far cry from being instrumentally adept, but this simplicity lends itself to give a certain cohesion to the entire album. The band also shows a great deal of diversity when it comes to their songwriting. From the heavy "Sweetness" to the rigid almost trance inducing "Cautioners" they never fail to create an interesting song. Repetition is key here; however, they seem to have dialed in the correct amount - enough to drive a point home, but not enough to bore the listener. The songs are catchy, but in a good way. The hooks are definitely intentional, but don't seem forced, and each song flows so seamlessly it is in someways impossible for me to fathom how they got the inspiration to creat this.
Now, from all that you've hopefully read so far, I'm sure you would think this was just a "good" rock album; wondering why I gave it the score I gave it. Before I explain why I'll say this... In my opinion, a review should a high quantity of objectiveness, but also retain a certain subjectiveness. Emotion in music is a subjective thing, the feelings it evokes has to do with your particular walk of life. Anyhow...
Bleed American is the essential emo masterpiece everyone says it is. No doubt about that. Why" Well, because it explores many common things in a person's late teenage years. From the soured love of "If You Don't, Don't" to the heartfelt and creative "thank you note" that we know as "Hear You Me." These are just two examples of the emotions the album spans. I think everyone has had a soured love in life, and let's not forget about having (or at least feeling you have) nowhere to go. Through this band, and obviously, this album I came to accept a lot of things about life. If only for the album's playing time. The album's value to me - aside from the great songs- is equal parts memories relived and emotional honesty.