Jimmy Eat World: Invented (DGC) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020  

Jimmy Eat World



Oct 20, 2010 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Jimmy Eat World's sixth album presents an interesting issue. On the one hand, the album represents the band's continual attempts at addressing the issue of how an emo band grows old, something not often explored in the genre. The emo fad was ultimately short-lived (although it didn't particularly feel it back in the early 2000s), and many of the bands faded away, making records that people started caring less and less about as both artist and fan base grew older. To a certain degree, one can argue that this happened with Jimmy Eat World as well, but the band's penchant for catchy melodies combined with crunchy guitars has continued to hold sway over a certain demographic, hence the band's ability to consistently put out records on major labels and sell out medium-sized venues. The irony seems to be in the fact that Jimmy Eat World, while benefiting from the emo tag when the genre was at its peak, were never really an emo band. [I myself remember struggling to categorize an early EP as anything but pop-rock only to later find out that this sort of thing was supposed to be called emo. I felt silly at the time for my supposed miscategorization, with the intervening years, I feel more and more confident with my initial interpretations.] Jimmy Eat World is not, and probably never was, emo in the truest sense of the world. Power pop is a better descriptor. And with that mindset, one can view Invented as simply what it is, sans baggage.

Still, Invented is a bit same sounding when viewed among Jimmy Eat World's body of work. The up-tempo rockers are here ("My Best Theory"). The touching ballads are here as well ("Movielike"). And there is certainly no shortage of the melody-driven and hook-filled rock tune ("Coffee and Cigarettes" is among the band's best). More interesting is how leader Jim Adkins developed his lyrical narratives from imagining back-stories of characters he saw in books such as Cindy Sherman's "Completely Untitled Film Still" series and Hannah Starkey's "Photographs 1997-2007," an inspiration which led to Adkins taking the vulnerable female perspective in several of the songs here.

Musically, things veer from typical mostly in the two seven-minute songs that end the album. "Invented" spends five minute gently presenting the tale of a lonely man and the woman he desires, set among gentle acoustics, before raging in suddenly heavy guitars and feedback and finally retreating in acoustic reverie. "Mixtape" presents a simple cassette-rewind metaphor for relationship difficulty in lone voice and stark acoustics, which float along until midway through, when sole chiming guitar intercedes with subsequently added lush backdrop. Ultimately, while Jimmy Eat World doesn't exactly break new ground on Invented, they have proven to be a band continually willing to challenge themselves while delivering the same sonic push and pull their fans expect. And they will likely continue to do so, emo be damned. (www.jimmyeatworld.com)

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