Jimmy Eat World’s ninth album is arguably its best since 2007’s Chase This Light. The band has been able to maintain consistency over its 20-plus year history, never removing themselves too much from fan favorite Clarity and breakout hit Bleed American. However, while their two most recent albums, 2013’s Damage and 2010’s Invented each have a few standout tracks, as full albums they don’t match their earlier work. It’s likely the band also agrees with this sentiment, based on their most recent setlists.
They are considered pioneers of the mainstream emo movement at the turn of the century, yet since then they have been able to transcend that moniker, much like Brand New, and even more recently Taking Back Sunday, ditching any specific genre the scene kids might want to impose on them.
This isn’t by any means considered to be a concept album, but probably the closest they’ve had to one (their previous album Damage was described by the band to be an “adult breakup record” but did not have the critical or commercial success to make a strong lasting impact). The album flows from the build-up of the opening track “You With Me,” to a harder and darker approach in the beginning half of the album, then moving toward more classic Jimmy Eat World in the end. There’s no “Middle” or “Work” here but that’s not a bad thing.
The first half of the album shows how dark these guys can be. A lot of the songs sound like they could have been included with the 2005 experimental EP, Stay On My Side Tonight, culminating with “Pass the Baby” that has one of the hardest and loudest riffs they’ve ever recorded. This moves right into “Get Right,” also a harder track that reminds me of Futures-era Jimmy, and then “You Are Free” which is definitely single material, and a bit more uplifting than the previous 6 tracks but still with a little edge.
But then it’s the last four tracks where the group really shines. Jimmy Eat World take the sound you know and love from them and elevate it to another level, pulling from 90’s alternative rock, and sounding like the most modern work they’ve done since Chase This Light. This is what gives me hope for the future with this band. They are not washed up emo vets by any means, they are in it for the long haul, and while it may look like they cashed in on 10-year anniversary tours for Clarity and Futures, they continue to push themselves into being the best version of themselves they can be. “The End is Beautiful” is reminiscent of Bleed American’s “Hear You Me.” “Through” is arguably the best track on the album, with closing track “Pol Roger” just behind it.
As I mentioned already, this album has a great flow, which each track blending into the next, shifting the mood of the record throughout the listening experience. I sure hope that they continue with the trend and we can see a live show of this album in entirety in 2026.
- You With Me
- Sure and Certain
- It Matters
- Pretty Grids
- Pass the Baby
- Get Right
- You Are Free
- The End is Beautiful
- Integrity Blues
- Pol Roger
UPDATE: Pitchfork gave this album a 7.3 rating which, if you don’t know much about Pitchfork, is unbelievable. Their previous reviews of the band’s work are so insulting and sarcastic that one can’t help but assume the writers had a personal vendetta against them. Well done gents!