September 27, 2010

RoBeast Review: Jimmy Eat World - Invented

I found out two things today:
  1. Jimmy Eat World's album Invented is currently streaming on Myspace
  2. A View To A Kill is considered the worst James Bond film
This means I'm going to take a quick break from listening to Sir Roger Moore's audio commentary for A View To A Kill so that I may put together another first impression-type music review of a mainstream rock album before it's released! The bubbles tickle my Tchaikovsky!!

"Heart is Hard to Find" - Simple acoustic guitar, steady beat. The overall composition seems a little underdeveloped which is probably why the strings and chimes were employed.  Their lyrics can often be a bit mushy, but this was the first time I've heard them say "fuck" in a song. I think that means they're maturing. Subtle, quick album opener, though it probably could've been even shorter. It seems like a good concert-opener-that-members-can-join-in-on-one-at-a-time-before-the-huge-second-song-explodes song.

Well, "My Best Theory" doesn't really explode like I imagined it would. The last three Jimmy Eat World albums all started with exploders ("Bleed American," "Futures," and "Big Casino"), but this song is pretty comfortable in the middle lane, not breaking any real new ground. I like the windy, ugly guitar in the brief solo.

"Evidence" (not to be confused with the third song on Faith No More's King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime) starts out steady and simple, but unlike the last two actually does explode into a chorus. The guitars at least sound like they're blowing up. The drums could stand to blow up a bit. There are some good crazy background sounds and feedback in this one too.

"Higher Devotion" starts with some crazy sounds and feedback too before moving into another steady rhythm track. The band has had a tendency over the past few albums to sometimes slip into a robotic trance, with bass and drums and rhythm guitar playing repetitive 4:4 riffs. When there's energy behind it, I can accept the big barre chords and simple progressions when there's some energy behind it ("The Middle"), but other times it just sounds like they are just being lazy and trying to cover it up with other weird sounds. Also, it seems that they've finally got a guy singing falsetto in the chorus instead of hiring a chick to do it. Unfortunately, it's not enough for me to make this track interesting.

"Movielike" begins with a drum machine beat that reminds me immediately of No Doubt's "New." The track ends up being much less energetic that that song. There is a big chorus of backup vocals that joins in towards the end of the song, but I don't think I'm ready for that yet. I need something faster or heavier first.

"Coffee and Cigarettes" - Faster, and heavier. And simple and repetitive. And the chimes again. And there's the chick singing vocals. This reminds me of a song they've already done, but I can't recall which one just yet. Maybe it reminds me of all of them rolled into one. Too by-the-numbers for me.

It may be hard to believe, but I am a Jimmy Eat World fan. I like the chances they took on slower, longer songs from Clarity and I also appreciate the shorter, poppier Bleed American. And I like Futures because it sort of combined the two. Invented seems to sound fairly similar to Chase the Light but I don't exactly know how to describe it. Maybe these two albums just sound more calculated than the others. "Stop" is all right because it sounds like it's got a little bit more space to it, but it's another mid tempo tune. Is it me? Am I just in a fast mood today?

I'm just not going to get a faster song, am I? "Littlething" has more strings and stuff. It will probably be in a movie or a tv show that I won't watch.

"Cut" is sparse, long, and slow. It's ok though. I might have liked drums to pick up somewhere in there. 

"Action Needs an Audience" is a quick one, and starts with a guitar riff in the vein of "My Best Theory" and sounds very similar to a riff in the bridge of "Get It Faster." This is track that that other guy (Tom) sings. He hasn't sung lead on the album in a long time, so I guess they figured they'd hide it towards the end of the album. It's really not so bad. It's a bit more aggressive, but still fairly formulaic. I think they might need more of this aggression sprinkled around the album next time.

The shortest song on the album is followed by the longest. "Invented" is a nice tune. The first five minutes are acoustic and pretty, and then it briefly gets heavy and uglied up. This is good. I like when they take their formula and intentionally fuck it up. 

By the title alone, it's pretty obvious that "Mixtape" is aiming for the corny nostalgic teen love song. And it does, but it's not as bad as I anticipated. It might have benefited from a little distance from the previous slow, long song. "Invented" was a more superior album closer.

Overall, the album was ok. The slow reflective songs were good, but the mid tempo rock songs were not very interesting. I feel like Jimmy Eat World is at their best when they have more harmonies, more varied instrumentation, and more dynamics from track to track. That rhythm section needs to step up their game too. And more explosions. I will probably wait until I see this one used before picking it up.

As for this new music review feature of mine (if I do in fact, keep finding enough freely streaming Myspace albums to keep it going), I'm not sure how its shaping up yet. Unlike the Weezer Hurley review last time, this wasn't born on Twitter, so I could ramble a bit more about each track. Please keep in mind that I only listened to each of these songs once. It can often take me a while to get into a tune, but I can only capture my first impressions once. Once.


Anonymous said...

What a review... to a kill!

Ro-Beast Rollie said...

I might steal that.