Surviving, rock band Jimmy Eat World’s 10th album, features 10 tracks that make up 36 minutes and 33 seconds of quintessential alternative music. For those that have yet to hear of the band, Jimmy Eat World has dominated the alt-rock and pop-punk genre since 1993. The band rose to popularity mainly because of its 2001 album Bleed American, which had four singles reach top 20 positions on Billboard’s Top Alternative Songs chart.
Just as former pop-punk artists such as Panic! at the Disco and All Time Low, Jimmy Eat World’s sound in its newest album has evolved over time to be more like the catchy pop music of today’s hits. Almost all of the songs on the album are uptempo, featuring fewer ballads than one would expect from an alternative album. The repetitive song structure, especially in many of the songs’ repeated central melodies, mimics successful songs similar to those of chart-topping bands like Vampire Weekend.
The album’s first and eponymous song, “Surviving,” starts with the repeated strumming of an electric guitar to a simple beat, which continues until the end of the song. While rudimentary, it is a satisfactory tone to start the album with and it builds well to the rest of the song as vocals and drums are added. The next song, “Criminal Energy,” was probably the most similar to the band’s pop-punk roots and consequently stands out as the album’s best. The chorus is especially energetic and catchy, while the common pop-punk theme of rebellion is central to the song. Other favorites from the album include the single “Love Never” that enchants the listener with lyrics about love such as: “It’s gonna seem so far / It’s gonna feel so hard / Until you want the work more than the reward / Do you want the work more than the reward?” This haunting chorus, while repetitive, is an example of the lyrical complexities Jimmy Eat World has perfected over the years, showing off its songwriting expertise while still writing enjoyable and danceable songs.
This album proves that angst extends far beyond the teenage years and well into adulthood. The songs capture many of the same themes of songs written by high school bands, such as rebellion and love, but do so with a more mature, realistic lens. The song “Congratulations,” however, reflects on the fact that the band is no longer young and provides a needed contrast for the band’s often immature repetitiveness.
Listening to the album entices the listener to wonder what a live performance of the band is like; many songs call to mind the booming noise and energy of a concert venue, with audience members jumping up and down, dancing and chanting the lyrics to the band’s songs. Songs such as “Criminal Energy” especially will be stuck in your head for days, speaking to how fun Surviving is as a whole. Each track gives the impression that Jimmy Eat World is just a group of guys that enjoys making music together and have been doing it for so long that they now know exactly what works for their group.
Jimmy Eat World’s Surviving is nothing revolutionary, but it still features wonderfully catchy songs played by a band with decades of experience playing together. If you can’t get enough of the alternative genre, there is no doubt that Surviving is right up your alley.
Contact Caitlin Keller at [email protected].