Dreamworks - 2001 - 46 minutes
If ever a band deserved the big time it's Jimmy Eat World. When signed to Capitol Records they released one of the best albums of the 90's in 'Clarity', a record where low-key dynamics met overwhelming emotions to perfection across 12 songs and one 16-minute epic. The label didn't think so however, the album only got released in America and the band were later dropped, thus completing one of the most shameful chapters in recent music history.
Undeterred they toured incessantly, saved up the money and recorded this album. Dreamworks heard it, signed them and it seemed that the Arizona quartet's time had come. Not quite. Originally titled 'Bleed American', the album was set for release in September but was then shelved for obvious reasons. Now it's finally out and our world is a much better place for it.
If 'Clarity' was the sound of a four men gazing deep into themselves, this is their big yell, welding hard-edged moments to the lightest of touches. There are at least six singles on offer and absolutely no filler, just guitar-driven pop and singer Jim Adkins' glorious examinations of break-ups and make-ups.
In 'A Praise Chorus', and 'Salt, Sweat Sugar', they've created two of the great anthems of recent years but the flipside is that they've also come up with two of the best ballads: 'Hear You Me' and the divine, 'Your House', a song where Adkins' over-the-top infatuation forces him to say "if you love me at all, don't call".
The whole thing covers every peak and trough imaginable, but never comes across as rejection/romance by numbers. And it's so good and so special that they even save the best until last, closing with 'My Sundown', an eerie yet beautiful twilight tale of self-worth with Adkins sighing "I could be so much more than this".
Not by much Jim, not by much.
Tracklisting: Salt Sweat Sugar - A Praise Chorus - The Middle – Your House - Sweetness - Hear You Me - If You Don't, Don't - Get It Faster - Cautioners – The Authority Song - My Sundown