The NPR All Songs Considered blog brought up a good topic recently: What’s your comfort-food music? What’s an album you can listen to when nothing else seems to work at the moment? It took me about a day to think about, and then I turned on Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American, and I had my answer.
I’m not going to get into a long spiel and defend this to elitists. But having spent most of my life in Phoenix/Tempe, I got to see Jimmy Eat World rise from small clubs (who remembers the Green Room?) to huge arenas. And cynical as I am, not one bit of me resents the group’s popularity or mainstream cachet. Let’s not forget this was a band that beat The System – dropped from Capitol, self-released a record, made Bleed American and then took off.
Bleed American holds everything a comfort record should have, everything a good record should have – charming hooks, memorable lyrics and an unpretentious approach to rock. Ironically (or not?), that sentiment is summed up in the record’s second song, A Praise Chorus, when singer Jim Adkins sings: “All I need is just to hear a song I know.” Yeah, maybe it’s cheesy, but that’s also what makes it genuine.
Like Clarity and Static Prevails before it, Bleed American (originally released in 2001) now is getting the reissue treatment, and it’s not some half-assed attempt at double dipping into sales. It’s a two-disc set, the second of which contains 18 tracks worth of B-sides, rarities and bonus songs (track list below). The original album is remastered for the release, due April 29.
I’ve gathered a few of the bonus tracks here and there – the group’s covers of Game of Pricks and Last Christmas – but a majority of the bonus material looks new to me. I had never even heard of the Good to Go EP until Thursday. (Oddly, I have two JEW 7-inches with B-sides not included on the reissue: Your House (demo) and A Praise Chorus (Radio 1 Session).)
So, snobs be damned, here’s to one of my favorite records in my collection.
Jimmy Eat World | Game of Pricks(Guided By Voices cover, BBC Radio 1 session)
Tracklisting for Bleed American deluxe edition after the jump.
DISC ONE: THE ORIGINAL ALBUM
1. Bleed American
2. A Praise Chorus
3. The Middle
4. Your House
6. Hear You Me
7. If You Don’t, Don’t
8. Get It Faster
10. The Authority Song
11. My Sundown
12. The Most Beautiful Things (from Good To Go EP)
13. No Sensitivity (from the German The Middle single)
14. (Splash) Turn Twist (from The Middle (And More) EP)
DISC TWO: B-SIDES AND BONUS TRACKS
1. Cautioners (early version from Good To Go EP)
2. Firestarter (B-side of Last Christmas single)
3. Get It Faster (sessions @ aol version, previously unreleased)
4. Bleed American (live from The Middle/A Praise Chorus Tour EP)
5. A Praise Chorus (live from Good To Go EP)
6. Softer (live from Good To Go EP)
7. The Middle (acoustic from The Middle/A Praise Chorus Tour EP)
8. If You Don’t, Don’t (XFM session from the UK The Middle single)
9. Game of Pricks (Radio 1 session from the UK The Middle single)
10. The Authority Song (demo from German Bleed American single)
11. My Sundown (inner ear recording from Believe In What You Want)
12. Sweetness (live previously unreleased)
13. Last Christmas (limited edition single)
14. My Sundown (demo from German Bleed American single)
15. Spangle (from Good To Go EP)
16. Hear You Me (inner ear recording from Believe In What You Want)
17. The Middle (early demo from German The Middle single)
18. Your House (2007 previously unreleased)