Arizona’s Jimmy Eat World are to emo (the sensitive side of post-punk/hardcore that exploded out of the underground at the turn of the Millennium) what Def Leppard are to heavy metal: both bands took an organic, visceral voice of youth and buffed it into a barely recognizable, ultra-melodic/marketable sonic compromise.
Now closer to U2 than Husker Dü, JEW were almost single-handedly, if inadvertently, responsible for the bastardized, business casual emo-pop that sold bucketloads a few years back (their 2001 effort, Bleed American–retitled Jimmy Eat World after 9/11–shifted over 1.3 million copies in the US). Their stock-in-trade is strapping, stirring guitars; Jim Adkins’ perpetually hurt, tremulous timbre; and a sentimental, passive/aggressive subplot that oozes optimism even during the darker moments of their lyrically bleak ’05 opus, Futures.
With their commercial point made, JEW might have taken some chances on their sixth studio collection, Chase This Light (releasing October 16), exploring more oblique avenues for their undoubtedly robust songwriting. Yet first single "Big Casino" delivers only more heavily-produced, still-living-with-my-parents melodrama (and vocals now warbling into almost Geddy Lee’s pants-too-tight territory). It’s high time their grown-up emo (most arrogant genre-tag ever–like all other music prior wasn’t fucking emotional?) retired for good. (Paul Rogers)
Jimmy Eat World at the Greek Amphitheatre, 1200 E. Colton Avenue in Redlands. Tickets $20; 2pm