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Jimmy Eat World - Clarity (1999)

Discussion in 'Album Reviews' started by Soot and Stars, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT!

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    JIMMY EAT WORLD.CLARITY

    [​IMG]

    Clarity came out in 1999 before I had even heard of Jimmy Eat World.

    I had been introduced like many to the band in 2001 through their self titled album but had been lucky enough to have heard the harder rocking single Bleed American (original album title before 9/11 censored everything) before their breakthrough The Middle. Lucky because I might have written these guys off as just another pop punk band and not known how much deeper their overall sound is. It was right around the time that the third single The Sweetness that I had caved in and bought that album and became a J.E.W. fan. What I found was great rock with great hooks and some of the best melodies and harmonies ever. Now I thrive on the aforementioned things and I stand by this group as the masters of these elements over any other band I've listened too.

    Now that was my introduction to the band and why I even purchased the album I want to talk about in the first place. As I often do with a band, I track down their back catalog and buy it. I bought two albums: One being the 1996 debut Static Prevails and one being the follow up Clarity. Static Prevails is a good album in it's own right and a great way to hear a band in it's rougher stages. The ground work is there, it's got potential but things need a little cleaning up and the band needs to find it's voice. That voice was Clarity!

    One thing that was changed with Clarity was Jim Adkins who does the main vocals to this day falling into his role as lead vocalist. In Static Prevails he shared vocals with guitarist Tom Linton and it contributed to a sandpaper meets onyx sound which didn't mesh overly well. When Jim took the lead it was like a set of vocal cords sprouting angel wings. This album is the closest pop or punk will ever come to having it's Pet Sounds as the harmonies on hear should inspire every band from that point forth.

    To me it's 1999 release just signifies and validates my optimism in what I was going to hear in the 2,000's as bands were taken a different direction during those ten years. Hell, J.E.W. are called the modern Godfathers of Emo and I do believe they influenced a revolution in sound. Sure there were other bands credited with creating the sound but this is the album that broke the genre through and created a milestone for it. With this album it was shown that you could play fast strumming punky chords but surround it with something uplifting and ethereal rather than sneering snot rocket vocals and New Wave gloom. This album also embraced a sugary pop rock sound that hadn't been as vital since boy bands were actually called boy bands! I honestly think any Beatles fan willing to listen would appreciate the hooks on this album. Throughout the harmonies and hooks it's spiked with enough of an edge to be a true rock album.

    So without further ado I'm going to do a track by track of this modern masterpiece and see if I pick up any fans of one of the cornerstones of my collection! :grinthumb Stay tuned as I gradually update this thread! :grinthumb
     
  2. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT!

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    Re: Albums You Should Hear Before You Die Series: Jimmy Eat World-Clarity

    Table For Glasses


    Jim Adkins-Vocals, Guitar
    Rick Burch-Bass Guitar
    Zach Lind-Drums, Vibes, Bells, Chimes, Concert Bass
    Susie Katayama-Cello

    Sweep the dirty stairs, the ones I waited on.
    This is just for me.
    I felt it watching her.
    It happens too fast to make sense of it.
    To make it last.
    Where do you intend to go with your dirty dress?
    Lead my skeptic sight to the table and the light.
    It happened too fast to make sense of it.
    To make it last.
    Not asking of me anything, saying nothing about what it means,
    without anybody telling me how I should feel,
    lead my skeptic sight.​


    This is a great opener. It lulls the listener in with it's light tapping of the cymbals into the steady drumbeat. The whole vibe with the vocal harmonies creates a hypnotic vibe. Jim's voice on it's own is soothing but with each layering of vocals coming in as well as the twinkling bells and chimes and the graceful presence of a cello the album launches itself into the otherwordly territory it aims to continue! At 2:46 it reaches the chills zone and soars! What a great opener!
     
  3. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT!

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    Re: Albums You Should Hear Before You Die Series: Jimmy Eat World-Clarity

    Lucky Denver Mint



    Jim Adkins-Vocals, Guitars
    Rick Burch-Bass Guitar
    Zach Lind-Drums
    Tom Linton-Guitar
    Mark Trombino-Programming


    This time it's on my own.
    Minutes from somewhere else.
    Somewhere I made a wish with Lucky Denver Mint.
    Hurry go on ahead.
    Good things won't let you wait.
    I'll catch up when we get home.
    At home I'll leave.
    A dollar under water keeps on dreaming for me.
    You're not bigger than this, not better.
    Why can't you learn.


    This is where the drumbeats pick up and we get a dose of real pop rock candy. This is one of those hooks that I had been talking about previously as the chorus is infectious as hell. This tracks contains one of the more electronic elements of the album and they've used two drummers during the live shows to recreate this song. The electronic element is fine as this album is made out of layered sounds whether it be pulled off by the band like in the last song or by looping in the studio as they only had one drummer. Zach Lind, the bands drumming is still doing the drumming but has each drum track layered over another for a very full sound. I absolutely love the drum sound from 3:09 on and love the energy it brings into the album to move it forward!
     
  4. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT!

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    Re: Albums You Should Hear Before You Die Series: Jimmy Eat World-Clarity

    Your New Aesthetic


    Jim Adkins-Vocals, Guitar, Farfisa
    Rick Burch-Bass Guitar
    Zach Lind-Drums
    Tom Linton-Guitar​


    We're lowering the standard in a process selective.
    The formulas to thin.
    But it takes more than one person.
    So everyone jump on.
    I'll miss you when you're just like them.
    I remember back then thinking:
    Easy comes but doesn't stay, what comes easy never stays.
    But the politics need means.
    And Business never leaves.
    You better sing now while you can.
    Imitate and water down.
    Until we crash I'll write it out:
    Selection breathes on its own.
    Make them open the request line and let selection kill the old.
    Turn off your radio.

    Where the drumming picks up on Lucky Denver Mint it's the guitar riff that picks up on Your New Aesthetic to make the heaviest sounding track so far. Not only does it get heavy but the harmonies here have a cool haunting quality as well. With the heavy strumming and accentuating drum beat this song is quite a rock anthem and it ends with the same sudden force that it came with to lead to the next track!
     
  5. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT!

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    Re: Albums You Should Hear Before You Die Series: Jimmy Eat World-Clarity

    Believe In What You Want


    Jim Adkins-Vocals, Guitar, Vox Continental
    Rick Burch-Bass Guitar
    Zach Lind-Drums
    Tom Linton-Guitar​


    Don't bother going through your motions.
    Nothing that makes sense ever works out.
    Don't kid yourself, you know they want money.
    Nothing can be good on its own merit.

    [Chorus:]
    Spinning and spinning.
    Dancing in plastic, shake-up snow.
    Do you believe in what you want?
    Your camera flash.
    On us, meaningless.

    Put your trust in simple acts.
    Make the flyers get them up all over town.
    Don't kid yourself, you know they want money.
    Please keep in sight what makes you care.
    You have it always.

    [Chorus]

    Your camera flash (Your camera flash)
    On us, meaningless (On us, meaningless)
    Your camera flash (Your camera flash)
    On us, meaningless

    You cannot waste a single night.
    What you ignore is priceless to me.

    [Chorus]

    The guitars in this are something I can picture Queens of the Stone Age doing. It's got a really bouncy riff, a lot of dynamics as the structure changes musically as well as vocally throughout!
     
  6. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT!

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    Re: Albums You Should Hear Before You Die Series: Jimmy Eat World-Clarity

    A Sunday


    Jim Adkins-Vocals, Guitar, B-3
    Rick Burch-Bass Guitar
    Zach Lind-Drums, Bells
    Tom Lindon-Guitar
    Mark Trombino-Rebirth
    Suzie Katayama-Cello
    Joel Derouin-Violin


    On a Sunday I'll think it through.
    On the drive back I'll think it through.
    What you wish for won't come true.
    Live with that.
    On a Sunday she thought it through.
    Now as I drive back, there's thiry-six less hours I have to change
    the course I send myself.
    Live with that.
    On a Sunday go once around.
    Because when the rides done, the hopes that you have carried,
    they fall out from your hands back to the ground.
    Live with that.
    Learn as the drugs leave.
    Learn as you lose it.
    You will.
    The haze clears from your eyes on a Sunday.



    Reminiscent of the first track we have the tinkling of bells. I just want to note that I love an album that holds together and wraps around itself. I love little things that hold a theme and bringing back the bells and cello back into this is brilliant. This track expands on this with the beautifully additions of a B-3 Organ and violin! The parts where the organ comes in are great. Gives it a spiritual vibe and the cello that follows adds some nice dramatic touches. This song has so much and it's one of my favorites! :grinthumb
     
  7. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT!

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    Re: Albums You Should Hear Before You Die Series: Jimmy Eat World-Clarity

    Crush



    Jim Adkins-Vocals, Guitar
    Rick Burch-Bass Guitar
    Zach Lind-Drums
    Tom Linton-Guitar


    Faintest snow keep falling.
    Hands around your waist.
    Nameless, standing cold.
    Take in restraint like a breath.
    My lungs are so numb from holding back.
    Walk close to the fence.
    Feel it hit your clothes.
    Turn and smile nice.
    Smile say goodnight.
    Say goodnight in a breath.
    Simple discourse breaks you clean in half.
    Regret.
    Do try it once and then you know.
    Your move.
    Settle for nothing less again.​


    With the most basic set of instruments on the disc the band puts out it's most energetic flurry of rock and it's an invigorating song. Everything about it is aggressive and I can see this as a song to sprint to or listened to during any activity that involves a sudden burst of energy because all that energies contained hear in 3:12 minutes of rock!
     
  8. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT!

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    Re: Albums You Should Hear Before You Die Series: Jimmy Eat World-Clarity

    12.23.95


    Jim Adkins-Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Casiotone
    Zach Lind-Programming
    Mark Trombino-Farfisa, Programming


    I didn't mean to leave you hanging on
    I didn't mean to leave you all alone
    I didn't know what to say
    I didn't know what to say
    [Repeat]

    Merry Christmas, baby.
    (Merry Christmas, baby)
    [Repeat 3x]

    Merry Christmas.


    This is another one of the more electronic tracks mostly looped together from parts that Jim Adkins was playing. The digital portion has a very intriguing quality and is amazing how smoothly it breaks into the harmony that follows and seeps into the rest of the track. This track is pretty much a slow harmonic jingle that is very nicely sung and is a pleasant break in the middle of the album.
     
  9. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT!

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    Re: Albums You Should Hear Before You Die Series: Jimmy Eat World-Clarity

    Ten


    Jim Adkins-Vocals, Guitars, Pianos
    Rick Burch-Bass Guitar
    Zach Lind-Drums
    Tom Linton-Guitar
    Mark Trombino-Minimoog, Percussion Sequencing

    We left behind the busy crowd.
    So it seems we slow down.
    Meet me with a way out through the lies.
    Nowhere, going nowhere in the fake yellow light.
    The feelings change so fast.
    Safety scares them away.
    I can't bring myself to say it's my own advice I need.
    Nowhere and then nowhere.
    Living trapped inside the chase.
    Our weakness is the same.
    We need poison sometimes.
    So take another drink with me.
    Blame no one.
    Look in my eyes and blame no one.


    This is another of my favorites. Just so many great elements put together. Some of my favorite vocal parts are on here, the piano is real nice and the way things are layered together are awesome especially the wall of noise at the end!
     
  10. Soot and Stars

    Soot and Stars I AM SOOT!

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    Re: Albums You Should Hear Before You Die Series: Jimmy Eat World-Clarity

    Just Watch The Fireworks


    Jim Adkins-Vocals, Guitar, Casiotone
    Rick Burch-Bass Guitar
    Zach Lind-Drum, Percussion
    Tom Linton-Guitar, Piano
    Suzie Katayama-Cello
    Joel Deroiun-Violin


    Here you can be anything.
    I think that scares you.
    I've been here before but only by myself.
    What giving up gives you and where giving up takes you.
    I've had and I've been.
    Here in center frame, there's only air.
    Just enough space to fit.
    I said it out loud over and over but what do I know.
    I said it out loud but it did not help.
    I'll stop now.
    Just so I can hear you I stay up as late as it takes, as long as it takes.
    I promised I'd see it again.
    I promised I'd see this with you now.

    This track has a great emotional vocal from Jim and is once again added to by the orchestration that's added to it in the second half of the track. This definitely one of those tracks that builds and you appreciate more once you hear the whole track!
     

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