Happy holidays everybody! Welcome back to The Rock Show, where it’s all about the music. Today I’m going to review one of my favorite albums of the year, Jimmy Eat World’s Invented. The album is the band’s fifth, sixth, or seventh album depending on which ones you count. Is it up to par with some of their older releases? Probably not: in my opinion, nothing can top 2004’s Futures. But Invented does have its merits – a lot of them.
The song opens with a surprisingly low-key tune, “Heart is Hard to Find.” Despite that, I’d say it’s one of my favorite tracks on the album. The vocal melodies in the song are really great, a trend that keeps up throughout the whole album. The song sets the tone for the rest of the album – unlike its predecessor, Chase This Light, this album is a very mellow collection – not that that’s a bad thing! The next track, however, is an exception. “My Best Theory” is the first single from the album, and it comes complete with a classic Jimmy Eat World-style riff. While it’s easy to get sick of the song due to its fairly heavy rotation on alternative rock radio (although the frequency is undoubtedly less now), it’s still a solid song that deserves its place among the other classic Jimmy hits.
“Evidence” is the next track on the album, one they played back when I saw them in October. The vocal melodies here are excellent, especially the verses. While the song might sound a bit thin on the album, live it was full of power, especially during the choruses. It’s definitely a sleeper song – one that you don’t notice right away but jumps out after repeated listens. That can’t really be said for the next track, however. In my opinion, “Higher Devotion” is the only weak link on the album. As far as I’m concerned it’s the most forgettable song of the bunch, and doesn’t really have much to make it stand out. It’s not awful – I certainly wouldn’t skip it when listening to the album, but I’d definitely rate it at the bottom.
The next track, however, is one of the best. “Movielike” is a beautiful song with an epic chorus and sing-along lines throughout the whole tune. This was another one that they played this past tour, and definitely a great choice. Surprisingly, I don’t think this song is going to be a single – but in my opinion it deserves to be. Definitely one of the album’s highlights. The next song did become the next single if I’m not mistaken. “Coffee and Cigarettes” is definitely a catchy tune, but I personally don’t think it’s worth single-status, especially over “Movielike.” It’s a fun song, though, and one of the most rockin’ tunes on the album. It’s worth its own weight, without question. All of the songs on the album have typical punk-rock, octave-based guitar solos, a style Jimmy Eat World has used for a long time.
“Stop” is the next tune, and the first of three really mellow, low-key songs. As is usual with Jimmy Eat World lyrics, one instantly gets the image of the nice guy finishing last in his or her head when hearing the lyrics. The middle section of the song gets fairly big, and overall the song sounds like it could have its place on Futures – which means it gets major points (sort of a blend between “Polaris” and “Night Drive” for those who are familiar). Definitely another album highlight, especially after multiple listens. “Littlething” is next, and this one is another sleeper song. It’s a slow tune with a big power chord sound. The song conjures up some Christmastime wintery images and has some nice Christmasy piano accompaniment to make the mood. Some might argue that this is another forgettable song, but personally I really like. It has the vocal melodies that “Higher Devotion” doesn’t. It flows very well from “Stop” and into “Cut,” the next song.
“Cut” is the last of the trio of slow, low-key songs. Again, the vocal melodies truly make the song great, especially the contrast between the soft verses and big choruses. I think this one could be considered hit-or-miss for some people – the subject matter is a bit awkward and it takes a female perspective; not something that male singers can pull off too often. Some will think it works and some won’t. Again, though, it has a bit of Futures subtly hidden away in its chords and melodies (the bridge section most of all), which means I like it a lot. The next track is “Action Needs an Audience,” the first song since the days of Clarity that features Tom on lead vocals. The song is short and is reminiscent of the Bleed American album’s sound (“Get It Faster” was the first thing I thought of). Rockin’ and to the point, there’s not much to talk about other than that it’s an awesome tune, and a nice one to end the mellow run with.
“Invented” is this album’s long, slow, acoustic-type song. I like it, but I think it’s middle of the pack as far as longer tunes go (“23” and “Cautioners” beat it, but it beats “Just Watch the Fireworks” and “Drugs or Me”). There’s a point late in the song where it breaks and gets really awesome, but overall I’d rate it fairly low on this album – if only due to its competition. The next and last song, however, is one last awesome tune before the album ends. “Mixtape” is definitely one of the top songs on the album, and a great closer. It’s another slow song, but the tempo is very fitting. I’m actually a bit surprised they didn’t play this one live – I’m sure it would have sounded great. Either way, it’s a perfect album closer, and definitely deserves its place beside “Dizzy,” “23,” “My Sundown,” and “Goodbye Sky Harbor.”
Like I said at the beginning, this is one of my favorite releases this year. As far as Jimmy Eat World albums go, it definitely doesn’t beat Futures, it probably doesn’t beat Bleed American, but its certainly on par with Chase This Light and Clarity (blasphemy, I know – deal). All their albums are pretty solid, so it’s really hard to “rate” them, per se. Will you like Invented? Honestly, I’d say if you enjoy what they’ve been doing for the past few years, the direction they’ve been going, and their recent sound (think Futures and Chase This Light), then you’ll probably be a fan. If you think Clarity was their first and only great album, then chances are this won’t change your mind. I, however, definitely do recommend it.
~The Rock Show, where it’s all about the music! Keep listening!