Most people know Jimmy Eat World for their classic pop punk anthem “The Middle.” The band hasn’t gotten very much attention since their popular 2001 album, “Bleed American.” Although they have come out with albums since, I feel that their most recent release titled “Integrity Blues” could be considered their biggest comeback album.
“Integrity Blues” has a similar vibe to “Bleed American,” and almost discretely acts as a spin-off to the emotions and story that the album told classifying the band’s true identity opposed to their other albums since then. The tracks sound very different from “The Middle,” but resemble the raw emotional rock sound displayed on “Bleed American,” which was considered the band’s best and most successful.
Will this album reach that potential? I’m not sure, but I do think it will be much more successful than any albums they have released since, as it already has been — at least as far as number of plays on Spotify.
The main singer and guitar player, Jim Atkins, discussed the meaning of the album in an interview with “Rolling Stone,” claiming that it conveys concepts of having integrity when it comes to making decisions in life, and learning to accept these decisions. He also mentioned that it dives into the point that people are their own worst enemies most of the time. While listening to the album, you can feel how personal and significant the lyrics are in each song.
“You With Me,” the first track on the album, is one of my favorites. Atkins sings about his struggle with loneliness from a failing relationship, wondering if the person he is with is right for him. The lyrics tell a different story than the music in a complex way, as the guitar comes off as easygoing and the drums carry the upbeat rhythm of the song.
“Sure and Certain” is the most popular song on the album thus far, and it exemplifies the nostalgia of the subtle grunge flare that the band presented in many of the songs on “Bleed American.” Somewhat similar to “You With Me,” you wouldn’t expect such deep and bleak lyrics with how upbeat the song is. The bridge stands out as it slows down the song completely with soothing piano sounds and a choir singing.
“Get Right” embodies a combination of dark tones and rock n’ roll sounds to change up the flow of the album a bit. “Pass the Baby” begins with acoustic sounds in the background mixed with electronic beats, and then transitions to a laid-back acoustic sound, but turns into dark and grunge-like rock towards the end. These two songs are examples of the band’s experimental and unique approach to the album that come together to create a memorable sound for them.
Overall, I feel that “Integrity Blues” does a fine job of combining some of the best stylistic aspects from the albums they have released previously, in order to produce a sound that truly defines them; similar to “Bleed American,” but not exactly the same. According to multiple interviews, the band knew that they were more than ready to bring something different to the table while finding their trademark sound with this new album. In my opinion, this was demonstrated thoroughly throughout the album.
I have a good feeling that the band is on their way into a new chapter of their career and that is just beginning. I can’t wait until they announce their official tour.