MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013|
Posted by: Austin Knief
Roughly two decades after their formation, and seven albums later, Jimmy Eat World found themselves without a record label. This becomes an issue especially when you have an entire album written, mastered, and sequenced, with no means of releasing it. Fortunately for Jimmy Eat World, an impressive resume of emo, pop punk, and alternative hits for the emotional teen (or nowadays, adult) landed them in the right hands to get their eighth album Damage produced. These "right hands" were those of musician/engineer/producer Alain Johannes, who has done work in the past with Queens of the Stone Age, No Doubt, and Arctic Monkeys. RCA Records would eventually step in to distribute this album throughout the U.S.
Damage has a slightly different feel than Jimmy Eat World's last several albums. The fact that the album was recorded in Johannes' home using analog tape and Pro Tools certainly contributes to that feel. While the band had already removed some of their hard punk roots a few albums back, vocalist and guitarist Jim Adkins stated that the recording process for Damage gave the album a "more raw and warm" feel with "less an emphasis on it being clean and perfect." The crunchy guitar riffs and angsty vocals present in "How'd You Have Me" are evident of this raw sound, which was far more palpable on the band's earlier albums.
Staying true to the band's usual themes, Damage is chock-full of emotional break-up songs for the Romeos of the world who have yet to find their Juliet. The only difference here is that the now 37-year-old Adkins wanted to write more of an "adult" breakup record this time around. The album's lead single "I Will Steal You Back" clearly utilizes lyrics that are more applicable for the experienced love-deprived male. "How slowly we built the walls / Years they pile up / I will steal you back." The album has no shortage of catchy sing-along choruses either. "No, Never" proves that Jimmy Eat World can still harmonize choruses with the best of them while simultaneously turning the distortion up and even sprinkling in those emo lyrics that somehow relate to everyone's life in some sort of way or another.
For what it's worth, Jimmy Eat World wanted to make an adult breakup record (a genre scarcely ventured into, or even mentioned for that matter) and they succeeded. Damage is concluded all too fittingly with the somber and reflective track "You Were Good." It features nothing but Adkins, his acoustic guitar, and a "weirdo, Indian drone thing" to add some dynamic. While it is extremely unusual for a Jimmy Eat World song to have such a pure, acoustic base, it is beautifully written and performed, and serves as the ribbon on top to perfectly conclude the album. Damage maintains the band's youthful energy while it explores new ways to stir emotion. Listen to this album at the right time in your life and you may fall in love with it.
Damage is out now via RCA.