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Music / Jimmy Eat World

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L to R: Jim Adkins, Rick Burch, Zach Lind, Tom Linton

When the time we have now ends
And when the big hand goes round again
Can you still hear the butterflies?
Can you still hear the last goodnight?
"For Me This Is Heaven"

Jimmy Eat World is an Alternative Rock/Pop Punk/Emo band from Mesa, Arizona. They were formed in 1993 when singer/guitarist Jim Adkins and drummer Zach Lind, who had been friends since kindergarten, formed a band with guitarist/singer Tom Linton and bassist Mitch Porter. The band's name came from Linton's younger brothers, Jim and Ed, who fought frequently as kids. Jim usually won, but as an act of revenge Ed made a crayon drawing of Jim shoving the Earth in his mouth.

They released their first Self-Titled Album in 1994 on indie label Wooden Blue records. The record was mostly punk rock, with Tom singing lead vocals on all but one song, and the album has long been out of print. Soon after, Mitch Porter left the band and was replaced by Rick Burch.

After cutting their teeth in the indie scene, Jimmy Eat World got a major label contract with Capitol Records and recorded two albums, Static Prevails and Clarity, which were both highly influential on the rising emo scene. Clarity in particular was considered one of the best records of The '90s for its epic, sprawling and experimental sound, especially in the 16-minute album closer "Goodbye Sky Harbor". It also is known for being the first album to feature Jim on lead vocals; he has been their lead singer for all of their later albums.

Unfortunately, their major-label contract was too good to last, as the band were dropped by Capitol due to poor album sales and Executive Meddling. While most bands would break up or toil in obscurity after these kinds of setbacks, Jimmy Eat World had one of the biggest comebacks of their time when they released Bleed American in 2001. Containing several singles that made the Billboard Modern Rock chart and had heavy rotation on MTV, most notably the chart-topping song "The Middle", the album essentially brought emo from being an underground scene to one of the biggest genres of the decade. Not bad for an album recorded entirely on the band's dime while they were looking for a new recording contract.

The band toured with blink-182 and Green Day in 2001, and released their follow-up album Futures in 2004. Although it was not quite as successful as Bleed American because of its darker and heavier sound, it still had some airplay on rock radio with the singles "Work" and "Pain". Although the band has lost a bit of their popularity over the years, they still have a dedicated fanbase and play one hell of a live show. They've also released several more albums since then, one being a return to the poppy sound of Bleed American (Chase This Light), and another seeming to be a mix of everything they've done over the years (Invented), combining the heavy rock of Futures, the catchy singles of Bleed American and the experimental edge of Clarity.


  • Jimmy Eat World (1994)
  • Static Prevails (1996)
    • "Rockstar"
  • Clarity (1999)
    • "Lucky Denver Mint"
    • "Clarity"
    • "Goodbye Sky Harbor"
  • Bleed Americannote  (2001)
    • "The Middle"
    • "Sweetness"
    • "A Praise Chorus"
    • "Bleed American"
  • Futures (2004)
    • "Futures"
    • "Work"
    • "Pain"
  • Chase This Light (2007)
    • "Big Casino"
  • Invented (2010)
    • "Coffee and Cigarettes"
    • "My Best Theory"
    • "Heart Is Hard To Find"
  • Damage (2013)
    • "I Will Steal You Back"
  • Integrity Blues (2016)
    • "Sure and Certain"
    • "Get Right"
  • Surviving (2019)
    • "Love Never"
    • "All The Way (Stay)"

Jimmy Eat World contains examples of:

  • Alliterative Title: When Bleed American was re-released as Jimmy Eat World, its Title Track was renamed "Salt Sweat Sugar".
  • Album Title Drop: Static Prevails on "World Is Static".
  • Alternative Rock
  • Atrocious Alias: Not the full name, but it apparently took until they were designing merch before anyone realised their initials were "J.E.W.", and they have to be careful with all their artwork to not look like they're sneaking in some anti-semitic message.
  • B-Side: "No Sensitivity", which was later included on the reissue of Bleed American.
  • Break-Up Song: Naturally, being an emo band. Some of their more famous include "Your House", "Dizzy", "For Me This Is Heaven", and "23".
    • Pretty much all of Damage qualifies.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Their first self-titled album. The few who have actually heard it would agree it's not as good as everything they released afterward.
  • Cover Version: Wham's "Last Christmas", "Half Right" by Heatmiser, "You and I" by Wilco, among others.
  • Drugs Are Bad: "Pain" and "Drugs or Me".
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Their pre-Static Prevails work, which is pure Pop Punk.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: Averted, even if lead singer Jim Adkins serves as the band's face. The band was actually named after an incident from Tom Linton's childhood where his brothers Jim and Ed were fighting, and Ed ran into his room after being beaten by Jim and took revenge by drawing a picture of Jim shoving the Earth into his mouth with the caption "Jimmy eat world".
  • Emo Music: They played a major role, along with Weezer, in bringing emo into the mainstream. In fact, they could be seen as the direct link between the genre's indie second-wave and mainstream third-wave.
  • Epic Rocking: "Goodbye Sky Harbor" is their longest at 16 minutes, but they also have "23", "Invented", "Just Watch the Fireworks", "Disintegration", "Invented" and "Pol Roger" which are all seven minutes, give or take.
    • "Congratulations" from Surviving is perhaps the purest "epic rocking" song in their discography, clocking out around six minutes as their heaviest song with their bleakest lyrics in their discography to date.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Also averted in that the band probably didn't give much thought to the fact that the initials of their name spell out "JEW." The band lampshaded this in a tweet about how they realized this well after the fact.
  • Grief Song: "Hear You Me", about two sisters with whom the band were close friends, Mykel and Carli Allan. The sisters ran the Weezer fan club and died in a car accident in 1997 when their car flipped off the road; it is thought the one driving may have fallen asleep at the wheel, hence the line "On sleepless roads the sleepless go." "Hear you me" was a phrase the sisters used often (and it also turned up in the chorus of Weezer's own song about them, "Mykel and Carli").
  • Lead Singer Plays Lead Guitar: Singer Jim Adkins is the one who plays the guitar solos.
  • Live Album: Clarity Live, a live album featuring ''Clarity'' in its entirety available on their website.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: After replacing Mitch Porter with Rick Burch, they've kept the same lineup for over twenty years, making the band a Type 2.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Pain" is a silly love song with an aggressive, minor-key melody.
  • New Sound Album: Futures showcased them progressing away from their emo roots and more towards a dark alternative rock sound, becoming a bit more experimental with Chase This Light and Invented.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Bleed American" which is sometimes referred to as "Salt Sweat Sugar".
    • This is because the title received some flak in the wake of 9/11, so Bleed American had to be reissued as a Self-Titled Album and the title track was renamed "Salt Sweat Sugar". However, this decision would later be reversed with the 2008 re-issue.
  • Pep-Talk Song: "The Middle" is a classic example.
    Hey, don't write yourself off yet
    It's only in your head to feel left out
    Or looked down on
    Just try your best, try everything you can
    And don't you worry what they tell themselves
    While you're away
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: "555" from Surviving sounds nothing like anything they've ever done. Even the music video is something very different for the band.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Heart Is Hard To Find" and their cover of "Half Right".
  • Record Producer: Mark Trombino produced Static Prevails, Clarity, Bleed American and Invented. The Pixies producer Gil Norton produced Futures, and Nirvana producer Butch Vig produced Chase This Light. In recent years, Justin Meldal-Johnsen took the role of producer for Integrity Blues and Surviving.
  • Self-Titled Album: Two, their first release, and Bleed American which was renamed Jimmy Eat World after the September 11th attacks, though the latter would later be reverted years after 9/11.
  • Shout-Out: "A Praise Chorus" references lyrics Tommy James and the Shondells, Madness, Mötley Crüe, They Might Be Giants, Bad Company, and The Promise Ring. The line "Come on Davey/Sing me something that I know" is also a shout-out to Davey von Bohlen, The Promise Ring's singer and close friend of the band, who provides backing vocals for that song.
  • Song Style Shift: "Pass the Baby" is their most straight example of this, starting out as a dark Trip Hop-inspired electronic song, that gradually builds up into a full Hard Rock ending.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: In the early days, Tom Linton was the lead singer, with Jim Adkins occasionally singing on a few songs. Now, Jim Adkins is the lead singer, with Tom occasionally singing a few songs.
    • More specifically, on Jimmy Eat World, Jim sang one song ("Usery") and Tom sang all other, on Static Prevails they both sang more or less on equal amount of songs and from Clarity onwards Jim sings pretty much all songs (except for "Your New Aesthetic" and "Blister" from that album and "Action Needs an Audience" from Invented).
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Their biggest hit, "The Middle" is just three chords. That's not to say that it doesn't also have an invokedEpic Riff though.
  • Title Track: Every album from Clarity onwards.