Jimmy Eat World are a band that have been around seemingly forever. For me, they remind me of better days when I was younger – they were the first band I became obsessed with, the band whose songs I tried to learn on guitar, and the band who’s lyrics I memorised faster than information for school tests. Their infectious pop rock has endured for over a decade which, in a world where people’s music tastes seem to change frequently, is a feat in itself. You can always rely upon them to have a song and album to suit every mood, and ‘Integrity Blues’ is no different.
The album begins with the anthemic ‘You With Me’, a song opening with a repetitive single guitar strum and echoed group vocals. A dream-like, goose bump inducing introduction is followed by the typical Jimmy Eat World sound – the reassuring tenor of Jim Adkins, uplifting and catchy, with a chorus that builds up through the verses and which the listener craves. From the start, this album seems nostalgic but at the same time different and growing.
The first four songs are kind of stereotypical Jimmy Eat World songs. ‘Sure and Certain’, one of the songs released before the album came out, is definitely single-material, with catchy hooks, a drum beat carrying the song on, and a booming chorus. “It Matters”, although reminiscent of earlier songs from the band – sounding almost like a lighter version of ‘Disintegration’ from 2005’s “Stay on my Side Tonight” EP – features a tonal difference for the band – the inclusion of piano. The instrumentation seems to have grown on this album, as the band become more experimental with their music.
It’s become almost like an ethos for the band to change and grow with each new album. 2013’s ‘Damage’ was an album that relied heavily upon acoustic sounds, something the band had only touched on before, while previous albums such as 2004’s ‘Futures’ saw the heavier and more cynical version of Jimmy Eat World emerge.
The fifth song ‘Pass the Baby’ is the perfect example of this. Undoubtedly the most experimental song they have released, it includes an electronic drum beat, a pounding bass line, almost whispered vocals and a ringing guitar. It also includes some questionable lyrics, such as “No they won’t shoot / You pass the baby here.” Towards the end, with almost no warning, the song then bursts into a hard rock guitar breakdown, which fits in with the weird eerie tone of the song.
Stand out songs in the later half of the album for me include ‘You Are Free’ and ‘The End Is Beautiful.’ Both songs seem quite emotive to me, with ‘The End Is Beautiful’ in particular pounding on my heart-strings the same way as earlier songs such as Futures’ closer ’23’. It is a song which seems to be about trying to love the image of a person, not who they actually are – a heart aching predicament in itself, but when coupled with Jim’s soaring voice, piano and an acoustic guitar it becomes a being much greater than itself.
The album closes with ‘Pol Rogers’, a song at a monstrous 6 minutes and 57 seconds long which seems to bookend the album perfectly. It’s about being alone, but not being lonely – about enjoying your own company and enjoying your own life. A sort of c’est la vie mentality, summed up through the lyrics “Why spend more time in a lie if it goes on that way? / Love don’t come to you, it just was there always.”
Okay, so this album may not feature the next ‘The Middle’, but that’s not what Jimmy Eat World seem to be aiming for. Their music expresses their development as a band, and it’d be disappointing if they were still releasing songs like replicas of their 2001 ‘Bleed American’ selves. It shows how much they have grown and how versatile they are as a band, and this may be my bias shining through as I think this band can do no wrong, but this has got to be the best album they’ve put out in a very long time.
Latest posts by Jane Corscadden (see all)
- QR Music Reviews: U2 at Croke Park, Dublin - July 27, 2017
- QR Music: Interview with The Amazons - March 20, 2017
- QR Music Review: Lower Than Atlantis – Safe In Sound - January 26, 2017