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Member Name: AverageJoseph
Chase This Light - Jimmy Eat World
Advantages: Upbeat, memorable, ballads, vocals, bass
Disadvantages: Too poppy, repetitive backing vocals
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.
Summary: Super fun pop rock bonanza