Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Jimmy Eat World ‎– Clarity (1999)

Clarity is the third studio album by American rock band Jimmy Eat World, released on February 23, 1999 through Capitol Records.


With their debut, Static Prevails behind them, Jimmy Eat World entered the the studio with a newfound maturity in songwriting. The result was an album full of clever songs with a unique sound.

Jimmy Eat Word
Jim Adkins - Vocals, Guitar
Tom Linton - Guitar, Vocals
Rick Burch - Bass
Zach Lind - Drums

If there is one word that can sum up Clarity, it is 'sensible'. Everything about the album is sensible. The production has a nice clean sound that allows the instruments to come through, but it is dirty enough to not sound too polished. The vocals are emotional but never sound insincere or wimpy. The lyrics are clever and emotive but never stray into "teen angst" territory. There are numerous extra instruments throughout the record (tuned percussion, strings, synthesisers, electronics and drum machines to name a few), but they are never used to make the album sound epic, they simply add to the rest of the music. Vocal harmonies are evenly spread through the record and they are expertly crafted and always in exactly the right spot. The song order is perfect with the tracks always balancing each other out. Nothing is overdone, yet Jimmy Eat World are sensible enough to use whatever resources they have to make the songs as good as they can get. Indeed, even the length is sensible, clocking in at 1 hour, enough music to make the album long and replayable, yet not too long to the point of being a mess. To put it simply, on Clarity, Jimmy Eat World do everything right.

To start off Clarity, Jimmy Eat World do exactly what you would expect them not. Opening the album with one of the most mellow tracks on the album, "Table For Glasses" sets the tone of the rest of the record. After it's last note dies away, we experience one brilliant pop song after another. The album's single, "Lucky Denver Mint" was featured on the Drew Barrymore film "Never Been Kissed", along with numerous college radio stations in the US. The rest of the album, however, was just as worthy. Every song on the album is well thought out and deserves to be there. There is great contrast between all of the songs. Some are soft and mellow and others are hard hitting and aggressive. Most songs are both. Musically, the band are excellent. The drumming is sophisticated and original and the use of two guitars is a great addition to the band. The aforementioned range of added instruments adds immensely to the arrangements of the songs. Not only are the songs well executed, but they are good songs.Jim Adkins' songwriting is incredible, as well as consistant. Amusingly, most of the songs on the album are in the same one or two keys. Clarity is an album full of sensible pop songs, replay value and a diverse range of instruments and sounds. 
Truly one of the best albums of the 90s.

Brilliantly written songs, not a single bad track
Great use and range of extra instruments
Perfect production

Some listeners may not enjoy the long and progressive closing track

Reccomended Tracks
Lucky Denver Mint
A Sunday
Just Watch The Fireworks

Andrew H. 


Actually I feel quite weird writing this review for an album that came out in 99. The fact is you may have heard of Jimmy Eat World, but if you haven't heard of their release called "Clarity" then I do have a hard time understanding that you have heard Jimmy Eat World. This album is by far the best put out by one of the most creative bands. They play with a different style than most bands out there. Wheather you would call it "emo," "power pop," or metal, (for you metal heads) I call it sheer genius nothing short of one of the best albums of all time.
This record also holds probably one of the best songs ever! It's called "Your new Aesthetic." If you have never heard this song, I suggest you pull up your music program and download this right now. This song hits every mark with the vocals keeping your attention while the music seems to almost drowned away your thoughts. Other mentionable songs include: "Lucky Denver Mint," "Crush," and "Clarity."
This cd blows all of Jimmy Eat Worlds releases out of the water, leaving nothing behind. Tired of all the sell out pussy bands? Tired of the music that all sounds the same? If you are then what the hell are you waiting for? Go and get a band that will make you want to trash your other shit cds!

Hey there, Encyclopedia Brown: ever wonder the real reason as to why Weezer couldn't put it together in the late '90s and follow up Pinkerton? Clarity. I mean, it has to be, right? After hearing Jimmy Eat World's 1999 masterpiece, Rivers Cuomo undoubtedly went back to the drawing board and — rightfully — started writing the Trapper Keeper full of pop songs that he drew from for their next two pop-tastic messes. 

Probably not, but the fact remains that Clarity was what Pinkerton might've sounded like if it had been cleaned up and given stuff like six-part harmonies, string-laden bridges, and a dollop of tasteful electronica. In other words, it's a recipe for absolute disaster and a rabid critical reaction. But, to those who grew up idolizing the Sex Pistols rather than PiL or (shock!) those who can regard each as great at the same time, Clarity is in fact a minor masterpiece — a product of its time and as important to modern emo as Pinkerton. Bear with us. 

Most great music is an incredible balancing act: If the Beatles had leaned much further towards the conceptual on Sgt. Pepper, we'd get (more) people claiming it a pretentious failure. Clarity, of course, is no Sgt. Pepper, but the analogy holds up: if you take away the slight crunch of some of the "rock" numbers on Clarity, you're liable to end up with Dashboard Confessional and if you amp up the rock elements and add any personality at all, you'd get something like My Chemical Romance. With Clarity, Jimmy Eat World hold a fertile middle ground where the aim is simply a polished emo-pop that more often than not echoes Weezer's self-titled debut. 

Honestly, do you seriously hear that much of a difference in "Goodbye Sky Harbor" and "Only in Dreams"? (Both are lengthy closing numbers in love with the idea of propulsion and implied and explicit harmony.) It may be damning, but much of Clarity's greatness stems from the fact that it takes everything The Blue Album kept as a secret and puts it out into the open.

Rest assured, Jim Adkins doesn't have half the personality of Rivers Cuomo (compare Rolling Stone profiles in the early '00s for proof), but the lack of specificity in Jimmy Eat World’s lyrics are one of its most endearing traits. Shit, "These days are numbered / I can tell / So until the crash I'll write it down, down"? Who can't identify with that (especially when you’re fifteen)? 

Oops. May have let the cat out of the bag with that last parenthetical, eh? Listen, I'm not going to sit here and claim that Clarity is something that a college graduate is going to listen to for the first time and be able to enjoy without reservation. There's been a lot of garbage that’s come out in its wake that claims to be influenced by it. (There's been a lot of garbage that Jimmy Eat World has released since.) But there's also a lot of stuff that you probably love that unknowingly (or knowingly, for that matter) that rips them off. (Every band that contains more than ten members and is from Scandinavia for a start.) Just because your new girlfriend thinks watching fireworks is irritating and uncomfortable doesn’t mean there isn't room in the world for your old one who is now a receptionist at a scuba academy. In fact, do you have her number?

Charles Merwin


On the heels of their self-titled EP in late 1998, Jimmy Eat World released their breakthrough albumClarity in 1999 and took up the mantle of emo poster boys. Deftly produced by Mark Trombino and the band, Clarity mixes introspective balladry with power-chord punk rock, elements of chamber pop, and subtle doses of electronica to create a remarkably unique album. The only single to garner radio play, the hard-edged yet poppy "Lucky Denver Mint," was also featured on the soundtrack to the Drew Barrymore film Never Been Kissed, and while the album reached an audience that far surpassed Jimmy Eat World's previous efforts, it was by no means a commercial smash hit. The band's punk influences are evident on "Your New Aesthetic," which decries the commercialization of radio as effectively as any song since Elvis Costello's "Radio, Radio." The other songs are more personal and poignant. Using string ensembles, drum loops, chimes, piano, vibraphones, and tight vocal harmonies to create intricately layered songs, Clarityalternates between hypnotic and hard rock, often in the same song. The snarl of "Blister" and "Crush" are counterbalanced by the understated beauty of "Table for Glasses" and "On a Sunday." However, most of the tracks mix both ends of the emotional spectrum with dramatic effects. The sweeping "Goodbye Sky Harbor," which clocks in at an epic sixteen-minutes-and-eleven seconds, starts off as an up-tempo romp, but evolves into an expansive piece of dream pop that includes vocal loops, several layers of delicate electric guitars, bells, and a drum machine. Heartfelt, yearning vocals from Jim Adkins and Tom Lintontie the songs on Clarity together and set them apart from other post-grunge rock acts. Neither vocalist is afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, but both pull it off without sounding wimpy or overly forlorn. They are also versatile enough to belt out the more aggressive tunes. Trombino also deserves praise for helping to brilliantly balance excellent songwriting and traditional rock elements with adventurous production and unique instrumentation.
Mark Vanderhoff

Jimmy Eat World ‎– Clarity (1999) 320kbps


  1. thank you so much for posting one of THE MOST BEAUTIFUL albums of the 90's. i could not thank you more!

    thanks also for taking the liberty of finding their self titled (1994) demo album which i have been dying to find since i first discovered JEW.

    thanks so much, i swear! :D

    1. You praise me too much :D I'm glad that I brought you joy ;) Thank you for your kind words :)

    2. looking forward to more beautiful and fantastic music! :D