Jimmy Eat World (1994)
Tracks (Runtime): 11 (37:56)
Longest track: “Scientific” (7:01)
Geometry of an album cover (ranking and shapes): Whereas the artwork of subsequent releases focused on shapes, symmetry, and minimalism, Jimmy Eat World stands out with what looks like a home movie still of Tom Linton’s brother Jim noogeying his younger sibling Ed. Ed would eventually get revenge by drawing a fattened version of Jim eating the world, thus providing the band with its name. (Unranked due to lack of geometric significance).
JEWish-ness (just how much “emo” is there?): Almost none. In fact, the band’s self-titled debut is so un-Jimmy Eat World that they decided never to re-press it. It’s gnarled, almost punkish aggression is closest to Static Prevails, but without the contemplation and atmosphere. They did, however, show their penchant for having one song with an epic run-time on almost every album (see above).
Lots of small ideas: Throughout JEW’s career, they’ve made numerous references to other artists, songs, movies, books, etc. They embrace this from the get-go here by titling the opening track “Chachi”. The lyrics, which see Linton asking someone to throw him off a 40-story building, don’t bring Happy Days or Joanie Loves Chachi to mind, but like most of his songs, there’s much to unlock.
Tom Eats World, too! Jim Adkins would eventually take over most of the vocal duties (simply because he started writing more songs), but Linton has a feast on the band’s debut, singing lead on every track except “Usery”.
Should they re-press it?: Yes.
Why? For completism. Solely for completism.
Jimmy Says Words about albums fans love but bands tend to ignore (ie: Pablo Honey, this one): “I don’t know how the band feels about it, but Stoned And Dethroned by Jesus and Mary Chain is one of my favorites of all time. But for some reason, the record just didn’t get enough attention. I think everybody wanted the wall of feedback. A kind of all acoustic record was a shock for some people. But I thought it was great.”
Verdict: While Jimmy Eat World definitely isn’t the band’s best, it’s by no means a bad record, even if it’s a bit “outside” the rest of their catalog. It’s great to hear Linton sing more, and we definitely have a soft spot for its rough energy. It’s got teeth! Give it at least one spin via bootlegs or YouTube, if just for evolutionary context.