Released: Jun 11, 2013
Genre: Alternative Rock, Indie Pop
Label: Interscope Records, RCA Records
Number Of Tracks: 10
Coming at you like the soundtrack of a young and hip romantic comedy, a new album from the (in)famous Jimmy Eat World.
DamageFeatured review by: UG Team, on june 10, 2013 3 of 7 people found this review helpful
Sound: Jimmy Eat World formed in 1993 as a punk rock band with founding members Jim Adkins (guitar, vocals), Zach Lind (drums), Tom Linton (guitar) and Mitch Porter (bass). At this stage in their career, Tom Linton was singing most of the lead vocals and they sounded dramatically different than the band who released "The Middle." They began to experiment with more indie, pop and emo sounds and eventually found their sound as we know it today. "Damage" is their eighth studio album and contains 10 tracks with a total run-time under 40 minutes. If you averaged out the individual track lengths you would end up with something between 3 1/2 minutes to 4 minutes. The longest track on the album is "Byebyelove" at four minutes and thirty-two seconds, while the shortest track is "Lean" at three minutes and eight seconds. The track "I Will Steal You Back" was the first single released from the album on April 16th, 2013.
The album is expertly mixed and the guitar tones are solid but fairly middle-of-the-road. I was, however, impressed with the bass tone and the bass-lines in general. The album opens with the track "Appreciation," which has a very "Foo Fighters-ish" opening, but quickly devolves into a "Glee"-ready ballad. Next is the title track "Damage," which is unmemorable. A little bit later in the album is the song "Please So No," which pulled me in more than I expected an acoustic love ballad to interest me. The track "How'd You Have Me" starts out with a mildly promising guitar lick, but let me down pretty quick. The track "Byebyelove" is a standout track from the album being a slow groove type of melancholy love song. The album closes out with "You Were Good," which would be a good song to run over the credits of a movie perhaps a romantic comedy. // 6
Lyrics: Lead vocals are handled by James Adkins, with Tom Linton and Rick Burch providing backup. James Adkins has a voice well suited for its job. In the context of their "indie-pop" sound, James Adkins has some respectable vocal abilities and seems to really know how to use his voice to great effect. The backup vocals provided by Tom Linton and Rick Burch are used to create ambience on several of the tracks and they do a respectable job. Jimmy Eat World has a penchant for writing situational lyrics love music, party music, break-up music and that continues on this album. If anything, I occasionally feel like the lyrics are a little wordy and grasping at sounding deeper than they actually are. As an example, here is a sample of the lyrics from the title track "Damage": "I want someone who lives up to this grandeur in my head/ And you don't do much to sell me I'd be best with you instead/ I hate the way I feel, but I don't think I can change/ I just breathe you each day/ Are we only damaging the little we have left? / Both of us swimming in the same polluted mess/ Are we too damaged now to possibly connect? / To honestly connect?" // 7
Overall Impression: I can't help but think that Jimmy Eat World are writing music for a college movie or perhaps a "young and hip" romantic comedy and "Damage" doesn't do anything to change my mind. That isn't to say anything negative, necessarily, but their sound definitely has a very specific niche. I would recommend this album to anyone feeling sentimental about their crush or the break-up they're going through. Oddly enough, one of my favorite tracks from the album is probably one of the sappiest of them all, "Byebyelove." I liked some of Jimmy Eat World's previous releases okay, but this album isn't doing anything for me. If anything it made me feel mildly annoyed. After subsequent listens it didn't get better, but seemed instead to fade into the background more and more. Eventually, I realized that my best female friend was actually a perfect romantic match for me after she took off her glasses and shook her hair out and she went from looking like a mousy nerd to a super model. My previous popular-girl love-interest discovered that she is unhappy with the decisions she made, and my popular-guy rival/enemy got what was coming to him. // 6