Chase This Light (2007)
Tracks (Runtime): 11 (40:18)
Longest Track: “Dizzy” (4:56)
Geometry of an album cover: 7th. It’s a freakin’ peacock feather, known for its symmetry. It’s also a dumb cover.
JEWish-ness: Look no further than the opening track, “Big Casino”, which features the breakdown: “I have one last wish/ And it’s from my heart/ Just let me down/ Just let me down/ Easy”. If you want more, the misleading pop of “Always Be” has Adkins questioning and offering, “How you gonna know the feeling till you’ve lost it/ I’ve been losing plenty since.”
Lots of small ideas: “Big Casino” is a reference to Jim Adkins’ side project, Go Big Casino. In fact, “Carry You” began as a Go Big Casino number.
Wait, which refrain do I sing? Not many overlapping vocals, actually… maybe the last chorus in “Here It Goes” vs. the “hoo hoo”s?
“Carry You” is Underrated: This is the type of song JEW do that would simply not work if done by others in emo, pop-rock, or whatever genre we pigeonhole them into. It’s acoustic-driven, miserable from start-to-finish, emotes and emotes and emotes, and has actual sighing in the chorus. But I’ll be damned if Adkins doesn’t sell every inch of it. The final “It’s passed” he delivers caps a praise-worthy song.
Eliminating the rock from “pop-rock”: Behold “Here It Goes”. It’s set in the real world like Rilo Kiley’s “Breakin’ Up” is set in the late 1970s. Whether that garners applause or disdain is completely up to the individual.
Oh hai, Mark! Uh, see below.
Jimmy Says Words about working with producer Butch Vig: “I think it’s like if Butch Vig is cool to work on your album, you sort of have to work with Butch Vig, man. [Laughs.] Right? We’ve gotten such amazing opportunities to learn from people that have made or mixed albums. Like Gil and Trombino and Butch and Al. Working with Butch, I mean yeah, of course, man. Why wouldn’t you want to sit around and pick at his brain on tour material? It just worked. What he was saying about the material we had—it felt good.”
Verdict: Quite possibly the band’s worst effort. It all starts off so well with the big chorus of “Big Casino”, as well as the aforementioned “Always Be” and “Carry You”, but the highs of those early tracks are only met by the title track near album’s end. In between is the forced dark of “Gotta Be Somebody’s Blues” and “23”-ripoff “Dizzy”. They’d made better records, and fortunately, would make up for Chase This Light’s transgressions with a superior record a few years later.