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Jimmy Eat World - Invented

Jimmy Eat World's latest release follows the same course as their last, Chase This Light. It's decent? I guess? Actually, I don't like Chase This Light in retrospect as much as I did at the time of release. It's amazing what time does to your opinions, and how illuminating of your own opinions maintaining a blog can be. My opinion now is that Jimmy Eat World's career has followed a disheartening downward spiral musically, even if it hasn't commercially. Static Prevails was a great first effort, raw around the edges but full of heart and promise. Clarity fulfilled that promise, as it was emotional, well put together, and still a bit adventurous. Bleed American was commercially polished, not quite as heartfelt as Clarity, but still full of soul. Futures had four awesome tracks, and otherwise was a letdown that seemed to betray a lack of heart. Chase This Light was like Futures, except without the four awesome songs. The song crafting and hooks were there, still, but the band seemed uninspired. But at least it had Big Casino!

Invented is much the same. I mean, hey, it's well put together, well written, and well engineered, but it just lacks soul. It feels like they're trying, but it also feels a little hollow. It just doesn't have the sincerity, the heart, of their earlier releases. Perhaps not coincidentally at all, the opening track is named Heart is Hard to Find. I concur whole, uh, heartedly. I guess the unexpected distorted break of Invented was something of a welcome surprise, but to balance that, the album also has the now-requisite cringe-worthy track, Higher Devotion. I mean, "show me you can read my mind / you're useless to me if you / don't know the why or how / or what my body needs"? Seriously, guys? My head is hung low and my palm is against my forehead. There is internet shorthand for this activity, and it is not a compliment.

It's frustrating to listen to their EP Stay on My Side Tonight and think to yourself, "hey, they still have it," only to find that it's followed up by another release that invalidates that sentiment and lends credence to the notion that they're spent. I mean, I'd rather have Disintegration from that EP than every track on Invented and Chase This Light. It's musically a bit different for them, the lyrics are far more mature than the stuck-in-high-school shit we too often get, it builds to a climax over an un-poplike length over almost eight minutes, and it has some heart. Invented is the only thing like it on Invented, stretching out to seven minutes in length and feeling like it actually has emotion behind it. But it's still nothing like Disintegration, and certainly nothing like Clarity.

Perhaps I'm cynical, or I'm doing that thing where every album already released by a band when you discover it is awesome, and every one after sucks. It could very well be me. But then again, Jimmy Eat World just did a tenth anniversary tour where they played the entirety of Clarity and then released it as a downloadable album on their website. Maybe they can feel it too.

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