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Finally a rock band that actually sings rather than talks in a funny accent. Their tracks are absolutely fantastic, they are no linkin park but they are pretty close. Big Casino is track 1 and straight away this track sums up the band, its all about the vocals, long riffs and no solo's or massive symbol crashes at the end. The tracks dont spend ages building up to the chorus, and everything is neatly placed with no faffing around.
The instruments are played perfectly, and you dont get any piano's or strings like in some rock bands. There is no need for digital loops and because these guys dont use drum loops or samples, you can feel that raw instrumental passion from the members. Track 2 "let it happen" is too similar to Big Casino for my liking, its lyrics are very different but have an upbeat feel, a similar chorus and the riffs are long. I would mix it up a bit, track 3 "always be" is more of a slowed down, less vocal focused track. The chorus has great riffs but because the lyrics are about 1 particular girl the focus is on pain and hardship in and after a relationship.
What i didnt like about this album is that they seem to have created some dull lyrics and then sung them beautifully. Its all the love pain and constant relationship issues throughout the album and i just start thinking, change it up a bit guys! Where is all the happy stuff?
Yes the actual singing is unique, and i havent heard a rock band lead singer hit the high notes like that since bryan adams sang "everything i do" - difference is though bryan sang that song to a much slower rock tone and Jimmy eat world have this habit of making their songs too fast. Track 5 is a prime example of this, i mean its a fast paced rock track with a good upbeat feel (good change from the dull heartache nonsense) but if it was slowed down very slightly it would be much better, and i could probably understand the lyrics without having to look up the meaning to the song.
This album is great, they have the first two tracks which sound the same but then it gets mixed up a bit. They actually have very high note singing in their music and the only massive guitar ending is track 5. Luckily though the tracks are only around 3 minutes long, making them short and snappy rather than just trying to drag it out for the sake of it, repeating lyrics already heard a million times.
After 2004's dark and brooding 'Futures', Jimmy Eat World return 3 years later, turning down the emo overtones and turning up the joyous pop/rock sound that propelled 'Bleed American' (the bands most successful album to date) to mainstream stardom. Fortunately I had the pleasure of seeing the band during the promotion of 'Chase This Light' at London's Roundhouse, one of the last tour dates, and one of the best performances I had seen in a very long time, especially with a 24 song setlist..
As usual, J.E.W burst straight into the album with a loud & upbeat rock song. 'Big Casino' had to be the introduction of the album (and first single) with the bolstering chorus of "I'll accept with poise, with grace, when they draw my name from the lottery". Loads of rhythm upstroke guitar tunes and top notch lead guitar squealers carry this song throughout along with resolute percussion and the always pitch perfect Jim Adkins' coming up with yet another melodic masterpiece. Suddenly though, things change and make you think perhaps its not all as rosy as it seems when 'Let It Happen' sounds like the previous song but this time downbeat and full of lyrical content that didn't make it on past albums. The two tracks set you up nicely to show you both sides of the band, capable of the poppy rock enthusiasm whilst still managing to hit some sadder, serious notes.. also has the trademark lady like backing vocals :]. The second and crazily, last single up next is 'Always Be', a song that melts the heart of any music lover. A funky little intro riff with finger clicks turns into a bouncy ballad and one of the strongest chorus' the band has come up with "I'm alone in this, I'm as I've always been, right behind what's happening. She's all lost in this, she's all like she'll always be, a little far for me to reach". The most popular song by far.
The guitars turn acoustic and clean for the fourth track 'Carry You' - full of blushing female backing vocals and a melodic vocal performance in the chorus. The crisp lead guitar, wanders through each verse and the drums are the loudest part besides some more strong vocal work... that is until they throw in some 'do, do, do-do, do's. I could say its the weakest track, but considering the album has no fillers or poor songs, it still somehow gets into your good books, I know it does mine, a slow burning song. Time for a sing along after that, and 'Electable (Give It Up)' is exactly what it says, give it up for jimmy and sing along to the "uh oh, uh, uh-uh-oh, uh-oh OH"s in a fast moving crowd pleaser. The bass really thunders along in this one as do the manly chants in the background, but its slightly marred by a long bit of horrible amplifier feedback. Clearly the most depressing track that certainly wouldn't be out of place on the albums predecessor, is 'Gotta Be Somebody's Blues'. Adkins' whispers the verses "Let the factories rust, she's the only thing I trust.. Let the virus spread, she's the silk lining in my bed" followed by some neat, atmospheric cello and violin. The bass shows off when there's space and the drummer adds some shifty-shaky hi-hat, also an acoustic-ish song.
Bumbling bass starts 'Feeling Lucky' and its enough to get your foot tapping at least. Not the most complex of songs, nor the catchiest, and it doesn't really have a chorus either but it has some memorable J.E.W lyrics - "When I try to sing along, the needle skips, I huff and then I puff but my house is bricks yeah, suck that lucky feeling right out of me". Plenty of hand claps, static and even glockenspiel greets you in 'Here It Goes' one of the most rhythmic songs on the album. The bass gets let loose and spurs on some really jazzy outbreaks (You can't *not* nod your head to this one), whilst the guitar hits repetitive notes then fights the bass during the chorus. For me this track was a grower, one you gloss over in the beginning but end up coming back for more later on. Still pushes the whimsy backing vocals sounding like owls this time. The albums title track 'Chase This Light' is the most mellow of the tracks and features some of the most vivid fantasy-esque lyrics mentioning "confetti rainfall" and all sorts of other dreamy nonsense. The chorus isn't anything special but it doesn't stop it from being an alright track. Kind of a let down considering its the main title, because it doesn't quite sum up the album.
'Firefight' is my personal favourite of the album. The verses start simple and gain complexity in guitar work, then go absolutely all out with a heavy rock and roll chorus with Adkins' eventually shouting "Its firefight and I- won't run. They're spitting spite all- through my blood" sounds more menacing than it actually is. Soon enough the chorus' gain even more momentum with feedback and other processed sounds and frontman Jim announces "For you and me, there's nowhere left to hide. Except you and me, there's no one else alive". Quality track, but if you want a sample song to sum up the album, that would go to 'Always Be', give it a listen. The final track on Jimmy Eat World albums has always been a massive, ballad of epic proportions with 2001's platinum selling record 'Bleed American' offering a twilight beach fire acoustic sing song 'My Sundown' and 'Futures' nostalgic misery guts perfection '23'. This time its toned down a tad for 'Dizzy'. Not as long, or as spectacular an effort as fans may be used to hearing but still a strong track looking ahead to the future. The men from Arizona still have what it takes to make a fantastic record and can change the tempo, feeling and genre at the drop of a hat. By no means the best of Jimmy, but certainly a worthy, notable effort.
The UK version also features 2 bonus tracks in 'Be Sensible' & 'Distraction', two complete opposite's - the first a slow piano and christmas bells tear jerker, the other a racy distortion fueled anger track that also has a catchy solo. You can see why they didn't make the album, but considering they offer a change of tempo and enraged guitar solo, they were welcome additions to my copy of the album.
It can be hard for a band like Jimmy Eat World to come up with yet another great album especially since they've done so many already, but I think they've succeeded with their latest album.
Chase this light features some great tracks and any Jimmy Eat World fan should definately give it a listen.
(1) Big Casino - The opening track and also first single off the album, despite some strange lyrics this song is just great, A good chorus accompanies a well done drum in the background.
(2) Let It Happen - A lot more fast paced song off the album and I do wish they had released this as a single as it's one of my favourites off the album. Features lyrics claiming that he's always to blame.
(3) Always Be - This was the 2nd song to be released as a single off the album and again it's a great track. It got some good airplay and deservedly so with it's catchy sound and good lyrics.
(4) Carry You - This track features some nice acoustic bits along with a generally solid tune.
(5) Electable (Give It Up) - A fast paced song but I think it's one of the weaker tracks on the album particularly due to the bands extensive use of voice to do a chorus.
(6) Gotta Be Somebody's Blues - This is a far slower track and sounds a lot more sombre than the others.
(7) Feeling Lucky - Another one of my favourites on the album, a good opening leads into a great tune.
(8) Here It Goes - Good lyrics but overall a slightly bland track
(9) Chase This Light - The same name as the album and a decent track which has good lyrics and is well composed.
(10) Firefight - A slow build-up at the start of the song which builds up into a much heavier and faster guitar track and this is a pattern which features throughout the rest of the track.
(11) Dizzy - One of the more lyric based songs from the album with a decent tune, likely to be a more mainstream hit than the rest of the album.
The two bonus tracks on the album Be Sensible and Distraction are both solid tracks and could very easily have just been normal tracks.
Overall this is a very good album by Jimmy Eat World and there are plenty of things to keep the die hard fans and new fans alike happy.
For a band thirteen years and six studio albums into their career, it's often frustrating to read reviews for Jimmy Eat World where the reviewers are obviously expecting a rehash of the tropes of the 'Emo' genre, with broken hearts, angst, substance abuse and 'scene' predominating.
Having grown up before groups who could pen a thoughtful album of alternative rock were labelled as quickly as they are nowadays, I found Chase this Light to be an enjoyable listen from a band who have definitely matured without losing their song writing and musical talent. Literally one of the groups that I grew up with, I first heard a Jimmy Eat World song in 1999 and I'm still listening to them aged 26.. So, instead of worrying too much about genre pigeon holes, I'm happy to review this album as a 'straight' rock record in an attempt to avoid the mistake of just comparing it to whatever is new and hip.
The more measured strains on the album will appeal to fans of Taking back Sunday, Saves the Day, Weezer and other alternative rock acts who've been around over the last decade or so. Don't expect screaming, a shoe box full of digital special effects or floppy fringes here.
Chase this light reached #5 in the US top 100 albums, but only managed to hit #27 in the UK album chart - somewhat lower than the #22 slot achieved by Futures, the studio album that preceded this. The three years between these albums seems to have mellowed the group and a lot of the nervous foreboding that seemed so at home in Futures has been replaced with a lot more introspection on Chase this Light.
The group toured off the back of the release of Chase this Light and from my recollection ticket sales were fairly healthy. A live album based on this tour was released last year, a sure fire sign of the moneygrubbery associated with major label success?
*Stop. Go politics on an album?*
Stop-go politics refers to cyclical periods of economic expansion and deflation. Chase this Light feels a lot like this at times, with booming rock numbers that get the heart pounding making way for weaker songs, ironic numbers and slightly abstract lyrics.
When a band have had, perhaps, three or more releases I believe that it's ok to focus on reviewing their musical talents less and to focus on the song writing instead. Musically, everything is as it should be on this record, with drum tracks timed to perfection, reliable guitar backing and some soaring strings that help to provide some tracks with a more epic feel than is customary for Jimmy Eat World.
I believe that this a very good album all in all, but that fans will be justifiably confused with the slightly more experimental range of sounds present. On the plus side, I feel that we get to see the band's influences coming through a lot more strongly than is typically the case. Many of the tracks sound more detached and more thought out, without the barrage of emotional baggage that I've come to expect from the boys.
This is my first review where I'm commenting a little more on song interpretations - be sure and let me know if I'm awful!
Big Casino - A confident opener, with catchy lyrics and enough energy to drive you to the dance floor. Lines such as 'play my little part in something big' juxtapose neatly with contrasting ideas such as 'rock on young saviour - don't give up your hopes' to show a group that seems to be struggling with their success just a little. While it's a good enough radio rock song, the tension between accepting fame and being modest seems somewhat unresolved here.
Let it Happen - I enjoyed the repeated chorus on this one, as it's enjoyable to join in with and reinforces the central message of the song. The pithy, 'talk talking a lot, but it's still talk' speaks volumes for divergence of opinions in general and leaves a slightly bitter taste in the mouth. Sometimes talking isn't enough to resolve a situation, no matter how frequent. There is also a pretty female vocal that breaks into the chorus at a couple of points, which gives it an added poignancy.
Always Be - Something of a stand out track for me on Chase this Light, Always Be has an almost eerie clarity and beautiful lyrics that encapsulate ideas superbly. Lines such as 'how are you going to know the feeling until you've lost it' are whimsical and melancholy and show a particularly adult way of responding to love and loss. The song sounds like The Great Gatsby reads, with a dream world and a girl which are largely symbolic and can never be attained, despite how hard we strive.. In addition to the lyrics, this song is a treat to listen to thanks to the occasional bit of electronic footling in the background, which has a somewhat silly 'Pet Shop Boys at a party' feel to it - surprisingly uplifting, decidedly cheesy.
Electable (Give it Up) -A song which is overtly political, but no doubt a song that could have a range of meanings, rails against talking for its own sake, rhetoric and fakery, with lyrics such as 'talking points from talking heads with automated smiles - there's no higher place to stand than bottom of the pile'. Yelled lines such as 'not in my name' seem to hark back to anti war arguments, but they could so easily refer to concepts such as thinking for ourselves and not believing everything we're told. An important lesson.
Gotta be Somebody's Blues - Previous reviews of this track that I have read are quick to tear into this downbeat number and I have to admit that I didn't love it on first listening. But it's definitely a grower and sounds like a healthy mash up of the Verve, the Smashing Pumpkins and maybe a little Nirvana around the edges.
The lyrics don't make a whole lot of sense and seem divided between declaring devotion to a woman 'let the factories rust, she's the only one I trust' and sections along the lines of 'Where you gonna go if they come for you? Will there be someone left to sing your blues?' seem a lot harder to pin a meaning on.
To me, this song sounds like a warning against apathy and lyrics such as 'You can say I do nothing, yeah - I put it off' would seem to support this. The previously noted line on 'where you gonna go' struck me as having some similarities to the lines often attributed to pastor Martin Niemollor (see Wikipedia!):
"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."
I've lifted this section verbatim, but I should be considerably over the 150 words already ;-) I was very much left feeling that this song could reasonably be described as warning listeners that sometimes doing nothing is worst of all..
I don't mean to imply that the song is overly politicised - while the lines I quoted from Niemollor related to Nazi persecution in Germany, the song doesn't necessarily refer to political apathy. Apathy can have a detrimental effect on lives at a far more prosaic level than politics and I'm left with the feeling that we're being told to take charge of our lives and not let our relationships slip away from us..
Here it goes - Not a highlight, but deserves a mention as an oddity. This track is either the worst 3:23 of nonsense Jimmy Eat World have ever released, or a slightly ironic dig at the concept of scene and modern infatuation with being popular. It sounds like what songs from Highschool Musical might sound like if they were written by a sarcastic, disillusioned hack! Frankly ridiculous yrics such as 'looking for attention, I'm not - cut it to the left and I rock' have to be a joke, right? Sounds preppy, somewhat confrontational and I'm really not sure what to make of it...
Chase this Light - A sweet little song (fluffy puppy sweet, not Eric Cartman sweet), which re-visits the idea of chasing a distant goal or dream. Worth listening to, but I feel that the previously mentioned 'Always Be' does it better.
Be Sensible - One of the longer tracks on the album, weighing in at 5:06, with each of them a soulful experience. The title is somewhat contrary, as the song is about not settling into a groove and making sure that you do your best. There's a real sense of carpe diem sentiment here and by the end of the song you're left with a hopeful feeling that it's not too late, we can still make a difference, there's life in the old dog yet, etc. etc.
'Don't get comfortable, don't be sensible, swing with all you have' are words to live by and a good ending to an album in which one of my favourite groups have wrestled admirably with love, politics, hope and disaffection.
With any sort of commercial success, the backlash normally follows pretty quickly - Fans of early Jimmy Eat World (Static Prevails, Singles) will find little hear to warm their punk rock cockles (rockles?)
Never the trendiest of bands, even at the height of their fame (around the time of 'Bleed American') It seems that Jimmy Eat World have settled into middle age, contented with life and sticking to the formula that served them so well (in popularity stakes) on their S/T/Bleed American album. The album starts strongly, with 'Big Casino' and 'Let it Happen' being the two hardest tracks on the album - Partially bringing back memories of the glory days of 'Clarity'. Mid-way through the album, it all gets a bit weak, both 'Gotta Be Somebody's blues' and 'Feeling Lucky' both fillers (The latter is probably the weakest song the band has ever penned)
It does all end on a high however (Much as 'Futures' did with '23') with the excellent 'Dizzy'. Newer fans of the band will lap most of this album up, happy for the band to plough the same patch of land - Fans of 'Clarity' will just have to close their eyes and remember.
'Big Casino' is a great start to the sixth studio album by the Arizona based band Jimmy Eat World. A great guitar powered song with a strong chorus. One of the best on the album.
'Let It Happen' is next. I love the backing vocals on this track. It's another strong song. The song is very much about fighting those who don't understand you.
"Say whatever you want 'cause I can laugh it off."
'Always Be' is one of my favourite songs on the album. The song starts off with clicking, and is joined by the guitar. Then the drums joins. It's hard to explain how powerful it sounds. The lyrics are simple yet meaningful, and the vocals are up to the normal standard.
'Carry You' is next - and it's one of the few weak tracks on the album. The song is slightly boring but it has some good lyrics.
'Electable (Give It Up)' seems to be a song about the upcoming Presentational elections in the US - though could be about any elections. It is a song for the people - and very much against politicians. It's not one of the best tracks on the album, but it's still a solid track.
'Gotta Be Somebody's Blues' is a song that I mainly skip out when listening to the album. It gets boring after the first few plays and isn't really very memorable.
'Feeling Lucky' is an amazing song. The song is just 2:32 but manages to fit a good story in to it. It's a very catchy track with amazing lyrics.
"I could ask, but what's an answer gonna prove?"
'Here It Goes' is a song that makes you want to tap your feet along to the beat. It's about wanting to be unique - and not wanting attention from everyone.
"Waiting for attention, I'm not."
'Chase This Light' is the title track of the album. I am not a fan of this track. Along side 'Gotta Be Somebody's Blues' - they are the weaker tracks on the album.
The opening of 'Firefight' is a bit slow and boring, but once the song gets started it is another big sounding song.
Lasting a little under five minutes, 'Dizzy' is the final track of Chase This Light. It's a nice way to end the album, it has a more relaxed sound but still carrying the strong lyrics that Jimmy Eat World love to write. It's hard to pick out one lyric from this song, so I'll give you a verse :
"I tried, but it rang and rang, I called all night
On a payphone, remember those from another life?
If everything I meant to you,
You can't lick and seal then fold in two
Then I've been so blind."
The bonus tracks include 'Be Sensible' and 'Distraction'. I am disappointed that 'Distraction' didn't make the final cut for the album because it's a very good track.
_ _ _ _ _ _
'Big Casino', 'Always Be' and 'Feeling Lucky' stick out as the best tracks on the album while 'Gotta Be Somebody's Blues' & 'Chase This Light' are the weaker tracks.
The album art is amazingly rubbish - but it's all about the music I suppose!
The problem Jimmy Eat World faced in 2006 was the same problem that any band would encounter when trying to write a sixth studio album. What Jimmy Eat World wanted to say and wanted to do had been achieved. In over 15 years of the alternative rock circuit they have produced some outstanding songs which have rocked festivals and stadiums across the world. From this position many band may have tried to create a new sound, or deviated from their tried and tested song writing formula - Jimmy Eat World however have not. Without the tiniest intent of deviation from their familiar style, Jim Adkins and co's sixth studio album, "Chase This Light", had to be representative of their best song writing abilities and it is.
What "Chase This Light" lacks in originality it more than makes up for in its improvement on previous Jimmy Eat World efforts. Their songs feel better produced, more sophisticated and just cry out to be played at high volume and sung along too. Every song on "Chase This Light" feels like it's been written to be played in a stadium. "Chase This Light" represents a development from previous albums not because of its change in style but because every song is well polished and executed to perfection.
The album starts with the massive sound of "Big Casino." With thoughtful lyrics and an instantly classic chorus the song, which was realised as the first single, announces Jimmy Eat World's return. Reflecting upon the bands achievement and fame "Big Casino" provides the ideal start to this album. The album continues with "Let It Happen" and "Always Be." Both songs continue to reflect Jimmy Eat World's best work with great chorus's and melodies. The album as a whole doesn't contain a hint of a weak track and continues with sophisticated songs and a new higher level of song writing.
The title song "Chase This Light" is a slower song than most of the rest of the fast pace album. Jim Adkins near perfect vocals makes this song one of the most memorable of the album. This slower song is followed by my personal favourite track "Firefight" before the album is concluded perfectly by "Dizzy." Other stand out songs on this album include "Electable (Give It Up)" and "Feeling Lucky."
Jimmy Eat World has always been capable of producing albums with great songs but their whole album have never felt quite perfect, let down by a few weaker songs they have always been "four star" albums. What "Chase This Light" finally manages to do is represent Jimmy Eat World's true potential in writing a complete album.
I would not necessarily call them my favourite band, but Jimmy Eat World are definitely up there. So whilst I may write with some bias, its very easy for me to be honest about this album.
Jimmy eat World return with their tried and tested method of heart on sleeve rock and to be fair, they haven't grown much since their previous release, but make no hesitations this is a great album. The problem we have is that they've already released this album twice before in Bleed American and Futures.
Big Casino there current single is a borderline anthem as far as Jimmy Eat World songs go, its fast pace and smart lyrics definitely sell it, however its been done before. The copious amounts of guitar expand the sound making it a great surround sound song. it's a traditional Jimmy Eat World song and a great song, but listening to it you can't help wondering if they've done this before.
Let it happen follows the same pace, its muted breaks helping slow it down. Theres a lot of anger in it and maybe some sarcasm, the quick chorus alliterations definitely make this one of my favourite songs on the album. "say whatever you wan't 'cos I can laugh it off" really is the songs theme and it's a great saying!
Like she'll always be - starts interesting it almost looks as if Jimmy Eat World could be experimenting a bit more but it goes back to there traditional method of writing. Similar vocal melodies to older records.
Other highlights include Carry you, which is reminiscent of kill (Futures) soft acoustics overdubbed with effects and choral voices. Electables pop punkier chorus and guitar riff is fun if not a little empty in comparison to other songs. Gotta be some bodies blues is a very sombre serious song that is done very well - it's a lot darker in some respects than other songs on the album. Album closer is a stadium song, its bold but rather flat in terms of breadth of sound.
And the album continues like this, I could write the same thing for every song but unfortunately this is an album of recycled tracks with over emotion filled words.
The cover art is rather uninspiring and simple - which is disapointing in a world with so many strong designers and artists - it is nothing in comparison to the work on Storm Thorgeson, noticably albums with successful art work go on to be successful albums.
For Jimmy Eat World fans this is definitely an essential purchase - for those that love Jimmy Eat Worlds sounds and lyrics and even those only just getting into them It is still a great album but as far as developing and growing as a band they haven't gone very far in the past years. Its still one of my favourite albums of the year - but it has not surprised me and in some respects there is something very disappointing about that.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Big Casino
2 Let It Happen
3 Always Be
4 Carry You
5 Electable (Give It Up)
6 Gotta Be Somebody's Blues
7 Feeling Lucky
8 Here It Goes
9 Chase This Light
12 Be Sensible