ALBUM REVIEW: Jimmy Eat World rises from ‘Damage’

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First Posted: 6/3/2013

The music industry has changed more in the past 10 years than it has in the past 50. Granted, it has always been about record and ticket sales, but in today’s world, a solid collection of songs from a mid-major rock band means almost nothing unless it can contend for “Album of the Year.”
Also, the amount of acts that are relevant for longer than a couple of years has diminished. Gone are the days of rock bands becoming classics, and in has marched the days of singles and pop hits.
Luckily, Jimmy Eat World has found a way to keep pressing on after gaining recognition from its hit “The Middle” in 2001, releasing its eighth studio album next week, titled “Damage.”
The production is not what someone who has followed the band from its infancy may expect. It has a more live and raw sound (it was recorded to analog tapes), as opposed to the little bit of overproducing that was featured on the last few. Yet, it fits perfectly as the album is the most straightforward, honest, and confessional set of the songs the group has written to date.
It’s a tight, compact record; there aren’t any elaborate, extended instrumental passages or overindulgent guitar solos. It’s a meat-and-potatoes rock record in the same vein as “Bleed American,” only less aggressive at the outset.
“Please Say No” is a lush ballad with spot-on backing vocals; the bouncy, acoustic-driven “Book of Love” is a fun listen, and “Appreciation” slides effortlessly between 4/4 and 3/4 time, carrying a vintage Jimmy vibe not seen since the late ’90s.
The album’s absolute standout, “No, Never,” is a driving guitar-rock number with a shimmering chorus and a hint of new wave synth. It doesn’t overpower the track, just as each member of Jimmy Eat World doesn’t overplay on any of the songs – they’re four extremely talented musicians who know when to hold back. It’s a solid work of songwriting all around, and perhaps it’s the trick to the group staying relevant after all of these years.
Jimmy Eat World will not contend for “Album of the Year” or even have a monster radio hit, but a solid collection of songs like the ones of “Damage” should not go overlooked.
Jimmy Eat World ‘Damage’ Rating: W W W W