Does It Hold Up?: Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American (2001)

Jimmy Eat World was formed in the early 1990s in Mesa, Arizona. They were one of the major players in the early emocore scene.  Bleed American was actually their third album (released in 2001).  The sound was more towards a pop-punk sound than their previous melodic and dreamy recordings, Static Prevails and Clarity, released in 1996 and 1999 respectively. 
As a whole, the album is upbeat and hopeful. It features catchy pop-punk melodies and sing along lyrics focusing on the anxiety of being a teenager. 
It starts with the title track.  It is an aggressive anthem about being young.  Like many of their songs, the breakdown is a strong chorus that makes excellent use of lead singer Jim Adkin’s voice.  It blends right into the second track, “A Praise Chorus.” Again, this song is another sing-along classic. During their live shows (at least the two I’ve seen), it is always a crowd pleaser.  
The third track, “The Middle,” was actually a mainstream hit. It was supported by a memorable video, with half-naked dancing young adults.  No one can ignore how catchy that whole “It just takes some time…” chorus is.  It is an anthem of teenage years. This will always be one of my favorite songs.  
The album just rolls along with one catchy song after another.  “Sweetness” features one of my favorite uses of the “woah-oh-oh” verse breaks.  “Hear You Me” is one of the most beautifully heartbreaking songs about death.  “The Authority Song” and “If You Don’t, Don’t” are two very underrated anthems and will be stuck in one’s head for days.  The album closes with “My Sundown.” It is the perfect ending to this powerhouse of an album.  It lulls the listener out to a dreamy state.  
As a whole, this album stands up to the test of time. The lyrics capture what it is like to be a teenager. The songs scream of insecurity and uncertainty of youth.  If you are looking for an upbeat yet profound album, give this one a listen.  It is unforgettable, even if you’ve forgotten it for years. 

Top 5: Songs for a Snow Day

The snow is a beautiful thing, especially when it lets you stay home from work and/or school. It is like a mini-vacation from life where you can sleep late and stay in PJs all day long.  Even though it only lasts a day, it is a wonderful time to take a moment away from the daily grind and lay back.  Here is a list of 5 songs perfectly suited for that type of wintery day:

1.  The Arcade Fire “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” mp3

“And if the snow buries my neighborhood/ and if my parents are crying/ then I’ll dig a tunnel from my window to yours.” 

Arcade Fire are originally from Montreal and have some pretty wintery songs.  Win Bulter’s roaring vocals along with the violins set up this song that conveys that “snowed in feeling” of childhood (or adult-hood).  It is that feeling where all you want to do is meet up with friends at a local hill and sled down over and over again. With wind in your hair and frost on your face, it is a time to make everlasting memories.
2.  Interpol “Obstacle 2” mp3

“I’m gonna hold your face and toast the snow that fell/ because friends don’t waste wine when there’s words to sell.” 

Typically Interpol is one of those “rainy” bands and not in the “snowy” bands category.  But this song reminds me of that type of snow that happens in college: classes are canceled and friends gather to take advantage of the mid-week snow day by, often, enjoying a few cocktails.  Paul Banks seems to be no stranger to those wine-filled days. And his voice is a perfect match for the mood of the song which is mysterious and devoid of all responsibility.
3.  Honorary Titled “Snow Day” mp3

“Please let the snow swallow the streets whole./ Keep the bus from coming./ Let us stay home/ so we can avoid the daily drudgery.” 

The night before the possible snow day is often the hardest. In sleep, you hope that the snow will be enough to cancel whatever plans you have for the next day. Hopefully you will be able to stay in bed all day and drink hot chocolate as you watch the snow slowly falling outside your window.  This song holds on to that hopeful feeling.
4.  Stars “Heart” mp3

“You disembark the latest flight from paradise./ You almost turn your ankle in the snow./ You fall back into where you started/ make up words to song you used to know.”

Stars is another Canadian band that has so many songs about love and winter, but this is one of the strongest.    The dual vocals are just like two hopeful lovers meeting on a snowy evening, engaging in conversation that in the past never seemed to match up.  But suddenly they get it and realize they really are “still in love” with each other.  All it took was one snow-flaky evening.
5.  Jimmy Eat World “Crush” mp3

“Faintest snow keep falling, falling/ Yeah/ Hands around your waist./ Nameless, standing cold, standing cold…My lungs are so numb from holding back.”

Jimmy Eat World really knows how to write and execute songs that hold on to a specific feeling. It was never done better than on 1999’s album “Clarity.” This song has always been one of my favorites. It outlines the evening where the slow snow is the main characteristic of an evening. It always makes things more magical.  As the cold air seeps into the lungs, words are harder to come back and every sentence must be chosen carefully as not to waste one breath on pointless words.