2000s – JIMMY EAT WORLD – THE MIDDLE
Jimmy Eat World’s fourth album, Bleed American, launched the band. The single “The Middle” climbed all the way to number 5 in 2001. It was their first hit, and to date, their only visit into the top 50. Bleed American is a very solid collection of emo-rock, and a lot of listeners have been waiting for the band to get back to that level. They shouldn’t have been waiting, because Jimmy Eat World had already produced an album as good or better than Bleed American two years earlier with Clarity.
Clarity was where original singer Tom Linton ceded primary vocal responsibility to Jim Adkins (though Linton does sing a good rocker, appropriately titled “Rockstar.”) Linton’s higher register placed the music into pop-punkier territory and proved to be an ideal balance to the punk tendencies they began with. Clarity is filled with great songs, from the gentle “Anderson Mesa” to the scorcher “Robot Factory.” There is always a pulse that raises the music above emo ennui.
The band continued to crank out plenty of good tunes with the harder-edge Futures – with titles like “Kill” and “Pain,” and solid rockers like “Nothing Wrong” and the title track. I admit they may be growing a little stale after twenty-plus years, but as recently as 2016, Integrity Blues still had plenty of good – if somewhat toned-down – rockers.
Now, I think I will go listen to Lou Reed’s New York, an album with a half dozen songs as good, or better than, his one hit “Walk on the Wild Side.”