Jimmy Eat World - Invented

Album cover
Alternative Rock, Pop Rock
Interscope Records
Jimmy Eat World
Invented
Jimmy Eat World - Invented Review rating:
4
User rating:
Average: 4.6 (11 votes)

In an interview a few weeks back, Jimmy Eat World singer/lyricist Jim Adkins talked about his writing process for the band's 7th album, 2010's Invented. He sat down, looked at photographs from Cindy Sherman’s “Completely Untitled Film Still” series and Hannah Starkey’s “Photographs 1997-2007," and wrote stories about the people in them, all from his imagination. While it may sound like a mere poetry-class writing technique, Adkins is the perfect rock lyricist to pull this off - his lyrics have always balanced abstract philosophical statements ("It just takes some time/ Little girl, you're in the middle of the ride") with emotive metaphors ("I have a ringing in my head/ And no-one to help me answer it") and identifiable-yet- interpretable confessions ("it takes my pain away!"). This deliberate ambiguity in Jimmy Eat World's lyrics, combined with their direct musical style, has assisted them in becoming one of the world's premier pop/rock bands. Somehow balancing popularity with honesty, and despite the fact that their recent music is oriented toward the mainstream, the band have generally avoided the tag applied to many of their late- 90s/early 00s contemporaries: "sell-out."

This lyrical experiment (which is why it's called Invented) furthered the immediate appeal of Invented for many of their fans. The album's fourth track, "Higher Devotion," is the most obviously inspired by a photograph: "the quiet should be nice but isn't/ I guess we're gonna spend the day like this, in psychic screaming/ And don't you feel my eye-lasers hit?/ I'd stare you down, but God your skin is thick." Adkins goes on to dare the subject to his lyrics to "show me you can read my mind." The song's structure is basic pop/rock, clocking in at 3 minutes, and it could potentially be a worldwide hit for Jimmy Eat World.

There are a couple of other tracks on Invented that are instantly attractive; many of the band's fans seem to have a crush on the Chase This Light-ish opener "Heart Is Hard to Find," which features a jangly acoustic guitar and one of Jimmy Eat World's best vocal melodies. Immediately following as the second track, it'd be hard not to get hard for lead single "My Best Theory;"  it is one of the standout sing-a-longs of 2010, featuring a stadium-sized chorus: "rush out from the center, not like one side is any better/ Stand up, as they've been preaching, my best theory is already in me." At times like this it's hard to find a photo's influence upon the song, but hell, by the third iteration of the chorus, you won't care. "Stop," a leftover demo from the Chase This Light sessions, is another earworm. Adkins tells a ladyfriend "you wanna hurt me, baby? Stop cause you have." And while it may be part Adult Contemporary in its tone, it is the emotional honesty of "Stop" that grabs the listener, like all of Jimmy Eat World's best songs.

While some of Invented's inventions are certainly catchier than others, there is not a bad track on the album. Unfortunately, it falls short of a few of the band's past releases because there are not many great tracks on Invented. The album is unlikely to make you, the listener, feel undecided about your favorites. You will probably pick a few that touch you in a special place (...sounds like I'm describing a pedophile...) and stick with those; though everybody will pick different songs, the hallmark of a solid album, very few listeners will describe this as Jimmy Eat World's paramount release. It is all just a little too predictable; there are few moments on Invented that surprise you.

"Cut," however, will certainly grab attention, hearkening back to the more meticulous tracks on Futures. It boasts gentle "ah-ahs" and a hook that seems to suggest the speaker is a woman, although Adkins is the one singing it tenderly: "I'm sorry, boy, I'm not cut for this no more." It's the antithesis of the typical teen-rock "the girl of my dreams broke up with me" song. Rockers "Coffee & Cigarettes" and "Action Needs an Audience" will make for great live cuts, while the album's title song uses its 7 minutes in the same vein as "Disintegration" (for fans unfamiliar with all of JEW's material, look into the Stay on My Side Tonight EP). ...and while I could certainly spend the next few paragraphs familiarizing you with every song on Invented, you should probably just go listen for yourself. No critic is going to accurately express what this album will mean to you.  Expect only that this will be yet another wonderful Jimmy Eat World album, and that the songs will show a forward progression from the band that eludes most other groups by this point in their career. Jimmy Eat World stand apart from their contemporaries; and every album they release certifies their status as a rock band for the ages.

1. Heart Is Hard to Find
2. My Best Theory
3. Evidence
4. Higher Devotion
5. Movielike
6. Coffee & Cigarettes
7. Stop
8. Littlething
9. Cut
10. Action Needs an Audience
11. Invented
12. Mixtape

Jimmy Eat World formed in Mesa, Arizona, United States in 1993. They are associated with an array of genres including emo, alternative rock, indie rock and pop punk. Singer/guitarist Jim Adkins and drummer Zach Lind, who had been friends since kindergarten, joined forces with co-vocalist/guitarist Tom Linton and bass player Mitch Porter to try their hand at music. In its early years the band emulated the style of their punk rock influences, and they eventually recorded and released three singles and a full-length, self-titled album on local label Wooden Blue Records.

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