Record #287: Jimmy Eat World – Clarity (1999)

clarity.jpgLike most people, my first exposure to Jimmy Eat World was “The Middle” music video. Which ain’t a bad place to start—Bleed American is a great record. But make sure you backstep a little bit too, because missing Clarity is a crime.

But it’s not just a worthwhile album because of what came after it: Clarity is possibly the first great album of emo’s third wave. From the cascading slow burn of “Table for Glasses” to the sixteen-minute, electronics-augmented closing epic “Goodbye Sky Harbor,” every moment of Clarity is masterfully crafted.

It is a patient album, though—nowhere near as immediate as its sequel. There are plenty of fist-pumping, power-chorded choruses, but they are farther and fewer between. Twinkling guitars and extended builds are par for the course, with the occasional rocker thrown in (see: “Your New Aesthetic,” “Blister,” “Clarity”).

Some might say this makes it a more boring listen than Bleed American, but I’d disagree. It isn’t as satisfying on casual listens, but give it the time it deserves, and you will be richly rewarded.

One thought on “Record #287: Jimmy Eat World – Clarity (1999)

  1. Pingback: Record #478: Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American (2001) | A Year of Vinyl

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