Text: Isabel Aleman
Remember back in 2001 when Carson Daly was still hosting TRL on MTV and the new song on the to the countdown was “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World? All of a sudden the emo world was singing “everything, everything will be alright.” It was an anthem to those kids that felt left out and underappreciated. The tune was relatable in a time when things seemed simpler and most of us were thinking of JNCO jeans as vintage, The Royal Tenenbaums was our first introduction to art house film and when the world first became aware of the “war on terror.”
Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American, their fourth studio album, was released July 24, 2001 and was self-funded by the band from the proceeds of the previous album Clarity. The Mesa, Arizona band wanted to make a record that spoke about what they had gone through with their breakup from previous record label Capital Records, and took a different approach from previous records and made the sound of Bleed American more emo-punk-pop. With the catchy sounds and relatable lyrics, they attracted the help of producer Mark Trombino who was known for the Blink-182 breakout album Dude Ranch. Together they made gold in Bleed American with breakout hits like “The Middle”, “Sweetness” and “A Praise Chorus.”
The album related to the teenagers growing into their own—myself included. For the video of the of “The Middle” I remember thinking that I really wanted to go to a party where everyone was jamming out half naked. It also made me feel better for having small boobs because all the girls in the video were so secure in their skin. Even as an adult, insecurities are hard to shake off.
The album itself, although self-proclaimed to be alternative, has pop-punk aspects that are unmistakable. Take these lyrics for instance:
“I’m not alone cause the TV’s on yeah. I’m not crazy cause I take the right pills everyday.”—(Bleed American, 2001)
The anxieties of interacting and feeling rejected by the general public is too much to bare, but with comforting knowledge that you’re not the only one makes existing just a little bit easier. Today with all uncertainties that the future holds, the question left for us is where do we go from here? Sometimes we have to look back on the things that made us feel secure, despite how cringe-y the feelings and moments surrounding that one thing. Bleed American is exactly that. Remember that one girl you went to middle school with who had scene hair and wore WAY too much eyeliner, that was me. *insert mental picture* Yeah, cringe-y I know.
Nevertheless, even though I felt completely alone, angsty and just misunderstood, there was always the witty lyrics of Jimmy Eat World and their related counterparts. You know the ones that blasted in Hot Topic. Although growing up was really weird, you eventually find people and networks that help you cope. I feel like that is needed now more than ever. With so much fear and anger going on, what can be done?
A quick remedy is to go see the Arizona boys February 25, at Tricky Falls. We can jump, cry and perhaps lose our voices when “The Middle” begins to play.
Oh yeah and for all the EMO adults, don’t forget, RAWR means I love you in dinosaur.