After nearly 25 years in the business, Arizona rock vets Jimmy Eat World are nothing if not consistent.
Having explored elements of everything from punk and country to pop and electronic throughout its career, the band –singer/guitarist Jim Adkins, bassist Rick Burch, drummer Zach Lind and guitarist Tom Linton – has managed to hold onto its alt-rock identity, never forgetting its ear for a killer hook under Adkins’ expressive lyrics.
With nine albums, most recently last year’s “Integrity Blues,” and half a dozen EPs to its name, pinning down an exact Jimmy Eat World setlist is nearly impossible.
But here are 7 songs you can confidently expect to hear when Jimmy Eat World plays the Knitting Factory Tuesday.
“Sure and Certain” - The first single from “Integrity Blues,” “Sure and Certain” was a welcome return following the band’s break after a tour behind the 10th anniversary of 2004’s “Futures.” With a singalong-inducing chorus and guitars buzzing a toe-tapping melody, this is Jimmy Eat World in top form.
“Bleed American” - The title track of the band’s fourth album, “Bleed American,” which was renamed “Salt Sweat Sugar” after the attacks on 9/11, is an example of Jimmy Eat World’s rougher side. Adkins’ delivery is abrupt and Lind really attacks the percussion. Don’t be surprised if a mosh pit opens as soon as the band plays the first notes.
“Lucky Denver Mint” - Written after Adkins lost money while gambling in Las Vegas, “Lucky Denver Mint,” from the 1999 cult favorite “Clarity,” is at the opposite end of the spectrum from “Bleed American,” yet just as rousing. “You’re not bigger than this, not better/Why can’t you learn?” Adkins sings, an example of his effortlessly memorable lyrics.
“A Praise Chorus” - Another tune from “Bleed American,” “A Praise Chorus,” which cleverly pays tribute to seven other songs, including a repeated line from Tommy James and the Shondells’ “Crimson and Clover,” is optimistic and upbeat, though still heavy enough to stir up an audience.
“Always Be” - You can’t get much more spot on as far as pop-rock songs go than “Always Be,” from 2007’s “Chase This Light.” The melody is bubbly, without reaching cotton candy levels, and Adkins once again proves his ability to craft earworm choruses.
“Pass the Baby” - From “Integrity Blues,” “Pass the Baby” doesn’t sound like a Jimmy Eat World tune at first listen. There’s a stark beat, electronic elements and Adkins using the lower end of his register to sing lines like “You pass the baby here/No, they won’t shoot you/Pass the baby here,” all building up to a metal jam session. But as previously mentioned, no matter what direction they turn, Jimmy Eat World always manages to put its stamp on a song.
“Sweetness”/“The Middle” - OK, so this list technically contains eight songs, but I couldn’t choose just one of these fan favorites, as both make for excellent encores. Chances are you already know these songs, both from 2001’s “Bleed American,” front to back, and belt them in your car every time they come on the radio, but just in case, brush up on the lyrics. These songs are made even greater when they’re sung by a venue full of people.
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