Jimmy Eat World – ‘Surviving’

By Yasmin Brown

Jimmy Eat World have covered a lot of ground over their many years of being a band. Every album released over the past 26 years has sounded different to the one before, and it’s this fact that has allowed Jimmy a longevity that has become so rare in alternative music.

‘Damage’ was raw and heartbreaking, ‘Chase This Light’ was upbeat and catchy, ‘Futures’ was raucous and unfiltered… You couldn’t use many of the same adjectives to describe any two of these albums, and yet they are all undoubtedly Jimmy Eat World, and all undeniably masterpieces in their own right.

Enter ‘Surviving’ – the long-awaited follow up to 2016’s ‘Integrity Blues’, and an album that will have fans of ‘Chase This Light’ out of their minds with delight. In fact, it will see all fans of Jimmy Eat World lose their minds, being arguably their best release since the almost unanimous fan-favourite, ‘Futures’.

This entire album rides on themes of acceptance, positive resignation and – obviously – survival, in a world that can often be anything but good. From the moment it kicks off with the massive title track, you can feel your mood elevate, and while ‘Surviving’ is followed by the much darker and heavier ‘Criminal Energy’, this mood is maintained throughout. It’s the kind of record that has you battling with the concept of ‘favourite tracks’ because there simply isn’t a disappointing moment to be found. Every second is meticulously thought out, drawing you in and inciting feelings that are often difficult to put into words – a clear sign of an outstanding piece of art.

In some ways, this record is unlike anything we’ve ever heard before, but then ‘Delivery’ starts and suddenly you’re thrown back to 2007’s ‘Chase This Light’ and ‘Dizzy’. It still feels fresh, though, particularly when you delve into what may just be the record’s highlight, ‘One Mil’, or the emotional synth-rock sensation that is ‘555’, and suddenly you’re reminded of all the progress Jimmy Eat World have made over the years and how they have refused to stand still and stagnate, even for a moment. 

And just when you think you’ve got this album sussed, when you’re convinced nothing they could do would ever surprise you, you’re hit square in the face with a stunning saxophone solo and the gorgeous female vocals of guest vocalist Rachel Haden in ‘All the Way (Stay)’, further highlighting seemingly limitless versatility in the band’s songwriting ability (as if we ever needed more proof). 

There’s something for everyone; whether it’s the anthemic and affirming ‘Diamond’, or ‘Love Never’, which has you feeling appreciative of all the love you have in your life, as flawed as it may sometimes seem (also did we mention the killer guitar solo?), or the dreamy and ethereal ‘Recommit’ wherein you’ll find yourself lost in the music before you’ve even really had a chance to consciously take it in; ‘Surviving’ may only be 10 tracks long, but there is enough substance to carry you through a lifetime. 

Closing with ‘Congratulations’, we’re treated to over 6 minutes of pure musical genius; a slow build of instruments that immediately tells you Jimmy Eat World are about to start a ruckus. With so many influences, you won’t know which way to turn, particularly with the dance break down during the latter end of the track that leads into what can only be described as rock ‘n’ roll mayhem as it finally draws to an unwelcome end. 

This album is dynamic in a way that only Jimmy Eat World can be. With Jim Adkins’ signature tones and their fearlessness when it comes to taking sonic risks, ‘Surviving’ sees Jimmy reach brand new heights. It cannot be compared to their previous records – as always, it stands out in its own right – but this is something to get seriously excited about.


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