20 Years On: Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American

Emo veterans, Jimmy Eat World, have forged an illustrious career in the world of angst-ridden pop punk. As their Seminal album, Bleed American, turns 20 this year, we rank the songs from worse to best.

11. If You Don’t, Don’t

Aside from the chord progression in the verse, positive qualities are sparse in If You Don’t, Don’t. The track is reminiscent of an unknown – and frankly sub-par – acoustic performer, who can only secure airtime in the confines of second-rate coffee house. Despite being Bleed American’s low point, the track isn’t inherently awful; it just isn’t inherently good.   

10. The Authority Song

The challenge of reviewing a terrible track is that the rant could go on indefinitely. The review for the Authority Song ends here.

9. Cautioners

Cautioners sounds like Jimmy Eat World were covering Jimmy Eat World. Remove the staccato baseline, and Cautioners might as well not have been written. The track is about as interesting and welcome as attending church mass on a hungover Sunday morning. Jim Adkins retorts: “You’ll change your mind by Monday” – no we won’t! Cautioners is filler at its finest. Although the number does not feel out of place, it adds nothing that the album’s more superior acoustic efforts don’t already offer.

8. Hear You Me

Here You Me is angelic in aural appeal. The pick work is divine, producing subtle yet strong elicitation of emotion. The band also recruit a female vocalist, deepening the levels of tenderness to this strong effort.  

7. My Sundown

As Bleed American’s closing song, My Sundown glides the album to a gentle close. The tenderness of the track fittingly ends an album of tumultuous angst and emotional highs. Despite Jim Adkins spouting lyrics of sadness, that include: “No one cares,” and, “I want to be so much more than this,” there is a palpable sense of hope in My Sundown. An excellent choice as an album ender.

6. The Middle

Adkins’s ear for a melodic hook is something that can never be brought into disrepute. The Middle is everyone’s go-to American High School party anthem – guitar-driven pop music at its finest!  Lyrically optimistic, The Middle is a feel-good song that provides reassurance to the coming-of-age demographic. The Middle has been a firm fan favourite from the beginning, and remains so to this day.

5. A Praise Chorus

If ever there was a classic emo pop punk song, A Praise Chorus is its manifestation. It has it all: love, heartbreak, desperation and yearn. The repetition of the three words, “Crimson and Clover,” creates a visual image so perfectly pitched to the themes of the song, but don’t ask us why – it just works.   

4. Sweetness

Sweetness is a catchy and anthemic equilibrium. It is brash and refined in equal measure. Jimmy Eat World have always possessed that ever-so-vital pop punk quality of being able to carefully weave anthemic chants into their choruses to great effect, and Sweetness is the band’s best example of this, to date.

3. Get It Faster

The opening locomotive chug is eerily ominous, but drives the song steadily towards the climactic chorus, which erupts into deep desperation. A highlight of the album, which feels as unsettling as it does thrilling.

2. Your House

Your House is a visceral song of heartbreak. The song evokes images of a boy standing in the rain outside a girl’s house, after she has removed his heart with a spoon. Your House is emo at its finest. Magnificent. The absence of amplification somehow works to project the sentiment of the song louder. 

  1. Bleed American

There could only be one track to top the rest. Bleed American’s breakneck urgency is a punch-in-the-face of an album opener. When Jimmy Eat World’s chakras align, there is not a better band on the planet at delivering forthright angst. Musically and lyrically, Bleed American is a classic.  

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