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Jimmy Eat World Invented Album Review

9 October 2010 4 Comments

By: A. Estes

Jimmy Eat World band photo from Invented photo sessions

Jimmy Eat World

If Jimmy Eat World will be remembered for anything, it will likely be for helping to give birth to the Emo genre at the beginning of the millennium. But don’t hold that against them, for as anyone who has given closer inspection to the likes of “Clarity” or “Bleed American” can tell you, Jimmy Eat World defies classification. The band has been nothing if not consistent, with each successive release expanding upon their signature blend of pop and punk with a bit of new wave thrown in for good measue. Now, with the release of their seventh studio album, the band shows absolutely no signs of slowing down or fizzling out creatively. Reuniting with producer Mark Trombino for the first time since “Bleed American,” Jimmy Eat World are apparently bound and determined to reinvent their own sound as they grow up and enter their third decade together as a band.

Jimmy Eat World Invented Album CD Cover

From the opening notes of the folksy “Heart is Hard to Find,” it is blatantly obvious that the band has come to terms with their age. Thankfully, though, they haven’t lost their edge. Frontman Jim Atkins has grown in leaps and bounds as a song-writer and his words — as opposed to catchy choruses — are what drive home most of the material here. Songs like “Coffee and Cigarettes” and “Movielike” have an unmistakably cinematic sense to them, almost as if we are listening to him telling us a story. Likewise, the band focuses on tempering its compositions, resisting the urge to rely on hooks. “Evidence” is a perfect example of this. Rather than leave room for Atkins to belt out a typically cathartic bridge, the singer is silenced as the band builds up to a grand finale all on their own. The lyrical imagery painted by Atkins combined with the matured and focused instrumentation help to set “Invented” apart from albums past.

The album caps off with two tracks that brilliantly state what Jimmy Eat World circa 2010 is all about. The title track is an introspective and quiet little tune that harkens back to the band’s beginnings, showing that the band can still do it better than anybody. “Mixtape,” on the other hand, is a collage of sounds that sound unlike anything the band have ever recorded before and leaves the door open for further experimentation. A rarity this day in age, “Invented” ends just as strongly as it started. You’ll likely feel the urge to start it over from the beginning after giving it your first once-through. It’s also an album that gets better with each and every listen. Quite possibly the band’s most dense and layered affair to date, it’s not likely to share the same mainstream success enjoyed by its predecessors, but that’s not an entirely bad thing. In a way, with “Invented,” Jimmy Eat World are your band again, and not necessarily everybody else’s.

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  • Carla said:

    Jimmy Eat World is one of my guilty pleasures. They draw well on the road and have put out some catchy tunes since the annoying ones you all remember. I haven’t listened to the new one yet but I’m sure it’s good.

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  • Laura in NJ said:

    2 sold out shows at Terminal 5 on back to back nights ain’t too shabby. Any bashing of this band based on the radio stuff is naive. Dig deeper and you’ll find one of the catchiest rock bands around.

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  • JK Nevada said:

    Great review Andy – you really nailed it as to this record and to what the band is all about. I fell hard for JEW upon the release of “Clarity” and they have continued to amaze and inspire for well over a decade now. For me, “Invented” just may be their high water mark, their magnum opus if you will. This album has it all and more and I love what you said at the end – certainly this release is less commercial than “Chase This Light” and that’s a good thing for all of us long time fans who are getting a little of the “indie” JEW back. Again, kudos to the reviewer and mad props to, in my humble opinion, the greatest rock ‘n roll band of all time!!

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  • ALL KNOWING FORCE: Andrew Bilach said:

    @JK Nevada: I would like to make it clear that Andy and myself are two different people.

    Like most, I learned of this band when “The Middle” was unavoidable many years ago. There’s much more to Jimmy Eat World than this song. Before you think I’m crazy, check out this record, as well as the back catalog.

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