Additional tracks add ‘kick’ to album


Frustrated artists have no fear.

The story behind Mesa, Ariz., rock band Jimmy Eat World will not only inspire you but also teach you a lesson in perseverance and dedication.

In August 1999, the Arizona foursome, consisting of Jim Adkins, Rick Burch, Tom Linton and Zach Lind was at a crossroad. After watching their two major label full lengths, “Static Prevails” and “Clarity,” go unnoticed in the media, the radio and even their label, Capitol Records, things couldn’t look much worse for the band members.

Then, Capitol dropped them.

If you’ve ever been shut down, if you’ve ever lost hope, now is the time to listen up.

When most bands lose a record deal, they disband. They move on. Not Jimmy Eat World. When Jimmy Eat World loses its record deal, it fights like hell to show Capitol Records what it lost.

Jimmy Eat World returned in 2001 with a more consistent and reliable album that fans could wrap their heads around. The 11-track album, recorded entirely on the band’s dime, features compelling lyrics, forceful guitar drives, and such nonsensically catchy melodies that you’ll be squealing high-note choruses during your morning shower or your afternoon nap time.

Without corporate guidance or direction, fans expected the band to dish out another layered, sprawled-out album agnate to its short-lived predecessor masterpiece, “Clarity.” But what fans purchased at independent music stores that year, was pure genius.

“Bleed American” heads in a new direction of spacey emo, unlike anything previously featured on a Jimmy Eat World album. Fans won’t find any 16-minute tracks on this disc, but rather straight-edged rock ‘n’ roll performed with more punk energy and alt-rock smarts than the original Blink-182 tracks.

Did I mention that Blink-182 front man Tom DeLonge practically worships Jimmy Eat World’s new sound? He even hired them to play at his wedding.

In response to a radical demand by fans for more, Jimmy Eat World recently released its 2-disc deluxe edition of the 2001 surprise hit album “Bleed American.” This 21-track disc not only restores the record’s original title – the band decided to change the name of the album to Jimmy Eat World in wake of the events of 9/11 and the deployment of U.S. troops to Iraq – but it features previously unreleased tracks that document Jimmy Eat World’s powerful and heroic international tour.

The title track seems to set the pace and tone for the album with its blistering guitar reams and aggressive, in-your-face vocals. It only gets better in the live version. Among those new and improved tracks is an acoustic version of one of the band’s most recognizable songs, “The Middle.” This track seems to open-heartedly peel away the band’s thick skin and reveal a much softer, more vulnerable side, resembling that of its earlier work.

“A Praise Chorus” and “The Authority Song” only improve upon that formula maintaining shocking, bittersweet melodies that are so catchy most bands would fail to pull off without reaching bubblegum status.

Perhaps the two best re-rips on the album are reserved for the end in true comeback-kid manner. An inner-ear recording of “Hear You Me” and a 2007 demo version of “Your House” use the most basic of rock emotions – love – to appeal to the ears and hearts of listeners. “If you love me at all/Don’t call,” the band bleeds in “Your House,” “Then out of nowhere/You put me right back there/You rip my heart right out.”

Invoking many of pop-rock’s most routine messages of love and loss, hurt and joy, Jimmy Eat World manages to get at the hearts of its fans without being overly sensational. The only thing overly melodramatic about this band is its cheesy emo name. But what can you expect from a band whose acronym alone would adorn some pretty sweet (and only slightly offensive) T-shirts.

JEW has accomplished the impossible. The band has taken a kick in the face and altered it into one of the most unsuspecting artist success stories to date; its managed to be original and radical without going over the top.

Aspiring artists take note.