While listening to “I Will Steal You Back,” the lead single on Jimmy Eat World’s latest full-length “Damage” (out June 11), you might think you’ve been transported back to that late-’90s/early-’00s playground that was home to the band’s “Clarity” and “Bleed American.”
The new single’s classic pop hook and heart-on-sleeve lyrics are reminiscent of the band’s most popular work, an in-the-pocket subgenre that was once (ridiculously) nicknamed emo. And that’s no surprise to fans who have followed singer Jim Adkins and his band release a stream of solid, if too-similar, records since their heyday nearly 15 years ago.
On this latest release, Adkins’ forever-young tenor leads the way through a trail of anachronism. The title track is forgettable, but “Book of Love” has a breezy, Death Cab-light charm. The single, “I Will Steal You Back,” has obvious radio appeal. But album-opener “Appreciation” is the the record’s tightest, most potent pop blast. The song’s guitar progression is familiar without sounding revisionist; Adkins’ vocals are in top form as they explore his iconic, yearning upper register.
Do fans care if “Appreciation” sounds like a B-side to 2001’s “The Middle”? Nope. But should they?