Album Review // JIMMY EAT WORLD ‘Surviving’
With a fresh vision and whole new mindset, Jimmy Eat World let go of the past on their awe-inspiring rock-blasting 10th studio album, Surviving.
With a knack for captivating storytelling, Jimmy Eat World once again transform their personal experiences into universal values and stories that truly hit home. Both introspective and relatable, Surviving is a rumination on the toils and joys of life as well as a path to finding your truth when you finally choose to break free from the shackles of your past. And although it’s far from rose-tinted, it’s a journey that leads to catharsis and, if you’re lucky enough, you will reach a point where you can admit to yourself that you are truly living, not just surviving.
The title track Surviving makes for a grand opening as thumping drums and seesawing guitars rip right through. With lyrics “Don’t hide your face / What you were before / Doesn’t have to be you / Anymore”, the band reminds you that your past choices don’t have to define the person you are now. Bringing forth the tantalising energy that Jimmy Eat World are known for, it’s a proper rock anthem that is sure to set hearts racing.
With no intention of slowing down whatsoever, the colossal soundscape of Criminal Energy hits us hard from the first note. Adding layers of metaphors to the lyricism, it’s a heavy track on both the lyrical and sonic level as the adrenaline-infused rush of massive riffs and giant choruses is guaranteed to send listeners into a frenzy. In a good way, of course.
Tying in well with the theme of the album, Diamond sets a more personal tone for the record. Floating with warm vocals and urging drums, the track further explores the expectations one lives with. We all have our weights to carry. Sometimes all you need is a little bit more time to make a change in your life. With an arena-worthy quality, the song ultimately resounds with a positive note as we’re being reminded that “a diamond grows with time.”
In signature Jimmy Eat World fashion, love is one of the running themes of the album. Telling a story about an infatuation and doubts and insecurities that come with it, One Mil charms with an acoustic opening, beautifully flourishing with singalong choruses and expansive melodies. A proper rock banger, Love Never follows in a similar vein, setting the realities against the expectations of love as we hear “Love never gonna be the way you’re dreaming.”
With a blend of charging guitars, towering vocals, and infectious energy, All The Way (Stay) is an instant Jimmy Eat World classic that is sure to sweep you off your feet in no time. Touching upon the theme of letting people discover the real you while exposing your vulnerabilities, the track acts as yet another irresistible offering in the band’s catalogue, once again reminding us why Jimmy Eat World are one of the greatest bands in the world.
The most stunning moments on the record come in the form of songs Delivery and 555. Thriving on subtle percussion and tender vocals, Delivery is a heart-melting track that keeps soaring higher and higher, commanding your full attention. Layered over darker drum beats and rhythmic handclaps, 555 sees the band reach for new sonic solutions, entering an uncharted territory. A hypnotic slow-burner about the resistance of accepting your reality, the song oscillates between falsetto harmonies and high-pitched vocals, putting listeners in a swaying trance.
When discussing the album, Jim Adkins said: “Our 1999 album was called CLARITY, but I really wasn’t on a quest for clarity when we put that out.” With 25 years under their belt, Jimmy Eat World have now taken bold steps on the course of reinventing themselves. Balancing on the verge of reality and fantasy, Surviving is not only a soul-searching record, it’s also a classic Jimmy Eat World guitar-driven masterpiece that further cements their legacy. Here’s to the next 25 years.