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Every Jimmy Eat World Album Ranked

What do artists ranging from My Chemical Romance all the way to Ben Rector and fucking Taylor Swift have in common? They all fuck with Jimmy World–that’s what. And it’s easy to see why. Very few bands have been able to pull off both forging new genres and adapting their sound to the evolution of music without coming off as a gimmick as well as Mesa, Arizona’s hometown heroes Jimmy Eat World. Whether it’s helping invent emo altogether or inspiring a young and eager Mark Hoppus, Jimmy Eat World have been making an immense impact on the music scene since back in the ‘90s. While everyone blasted breakthrough hits like “The Middle” and “Sweetness” on our car radios back in high school, the rest of their discography doesn’t get nearly enough love. Of course every album isn’t full of total bangers that will make you want to fistfight your old gym teacher quite as much as songs like “Bleed American,” but there are still plenty of underrated jams in their collection that you could find yourself wanting to play on repeat. So, spare yourself the tears because I’m ranking every Jimmy Eat World album from worst to best.

10. Jimmy Eat World (Self-Titled) (1994)

If you’re not Neil Young, or one of the only other people still refusing to use Spotify in 2023, then you probably didn’t know this album even existed. It seems like the only platform to listen to it on nowadays is YouTube, which is great if you somehow like trying to decipher inaudible lyrics that are frequently interrupted by BetterHelp commercials. But for the rest of us that aren’t batshit insane, tracking down and listening to this album just feels like a chore. So the real question is–is it worth finding obscure ways to listen to “Jimmy Eat World (Self-Titled)” today? No. In fact–not at all. Jimmy Eat World appear to have gone out of their way to make sure that no one listens to this album, and it’s pretty easy to understand why. Guitarist and backing singer Tom Linton sings lead vocals on the entire album, except for one song that’s fortunately performed by future frontman Jim Adkins. While Tom’s great and all, his vocals are just not nearly up-to-par with Jim Adkins, and never will be. Sorry Tom, but you don’t sing weirdly angelic like Jim does.

Play it again: “Usery” (If you randomly have YouTube Premium)
Skip it: All other songs on the album

9. Damage (2013)

Breaking up is a hard thing to do, but breaking up as an adult? That’s fucking unbearable. Just ask Jim Adkins, who obviously was going through some deep shit when writing an entire album about adult breakups with 2013’s “Damage.” While its single “I Will Steal You Back” is more than listenable, some of the album’s use of mellow acoustic guitar makes too many songs struggle to stray away from sounding like easy listening. Look, I’ve got nothing against easy listening, but the subject matter of these songs is far from easy to listen to without getting depressed. Unless you unfortunately just had your heart ripped out unexpectedly after forming your life around someone and need a soundtrack to help cope with it, then this album is most likely not for you.

Play it again: “I Will Steal You Back”
Skip it: “Byebyelove”

8. Invented (2010)

“Invented” seems like the album where Jimmy Eat World tried to reinvent themselves but accidentally ended up playing it safe instead. While the album was supposed to showcase the band’s transition into new sounds, the resulting songs sadly came off as the band trying too hard to structure songs for radio play instead of being full of the emotion-powered big rock moments Jimmy Eat World fans were told to expect. Jim Adkins wrote this album solely referencing a series of photographs, which you think would make things more interesting. However, that also could be what made the songwriting come off as oddly boxed in. The album’s true saving grace is one of its singles, “My Best Theory,” which you might remember getting solid airplay in 2010. While it can be a bit repetitive, it’s still a banger nonetheless. There just isn’t enough variation in this album’s top tracks to give them the replayability that Jimmy Eat World’s greatest hits enjoy. To be fair, 2010 was a weird time to release a rock album though. For example, Maroon 5’s ear-bleeding “Moves Like Jagger” was somehow dubbed a “top rock” song that year.

Play it again: “My Best Theory”
Skip it: “Evidence”

7. Static Prevails (1996)

Do you like Sunny Day Real Estate? If so, then you might actually enjoy Jimmy Eat World’s attempt to emulate them in 1996 with “Static Prevails.” While this album has a die-hard following, there’s no way in hell it is even close to being one of Jimmy Eat World’s greatest releases. I know this might piss off the bizarre niche of people that for some reason have declared that this is Jimmy Eat World’s only good album, and that the rest of their work is just bubblegum pop bullshit. But just take the time to give it a listen today and you’ll realize that in this album Jimmy Eat World’s influences are far outweighing their artistry. Don’t get me wrong, “Thinking, That’s All” opens the album with a contagiously unhinged rage that I’ve struggled to find in the band’s other releases, but much of the album just does not meet the incredibly high standard the band set later in their career. While it’s fun to hear Jim and Tom trade off vocals occasionally, the end result is just not a cohesive album that you’ll want to play on repeat.

Play it again: “Thinking, That’s All”
Skip it: “Robot Factory”

6. Integrity Blues (2018)

Three years after the release of 2013’s heart-crushing “Damage,” Jim Adkins and the band seemed to truly get the stride back in their step. One of the later releases of Jimmy Eat World’s discography, 2016’s “Integrity Blues” features catchy jams shamelessly at the pop end of the rock spectrum to bait you into the album’s more intricate songs that offer more depth. This is truly a winning songwriting formula for Jimmy Eat World, as they have proven by this point with other albums like “Bleed American,” “Futures,” and “Chase This Light.” Some of the instrumentals and choruses in this album just downright sound like Jimmy Eat World at their best. From the mysteriously spacy guitar in “Through” to the crowd-belting “Sure and Certain,” this album demonstrates the band’s ability to experiment and expand their sound without abandoning what made us Jimmy Eat World fans in the first place.

Play it again: “Sure and Certain”
Skip it: “It Matters”

5. Surviving (2019)

Repeat after me–Jimmy Eat World is still releasing great music today. That feels weird to say right? Well, it shouldn’t! It’s a shame that the world struggles to view Jimmy Eat World beyond the 2000s, because 2019’s “Surviving” is truly one of their greatest albums. Maybe it’s because the world shut down for two years right after it dropped, but it really feels like this album came out yesterday, and the modernity of its sound and themes still feels more relevant than ever. The album’s 80s electro-inspired hit, “555,” plays on the fake phone number always used in pop culture. In the song, the band uses someone attempting to dial the nonexistent number to illustrate the struggle to keep going when life just isn’t working out, excellently portraying that feeling of frustration when your desperate pleas are going to an uncaring universe. The song’s great concept paired with Jim Adkins fully dolled up as a sad boy intergalactic supervillain also makes for the best music video the band’s released since “The Middle.” Needless to say, the pandemic that followed its release made the title track’s lyrics, “Yeah, You can still survive but not exactly live” and the album’s overall theme of hopelessness truly resonates with fans.

Play it again: “Delivery” and “All the Way (Stay)”
Skip it: “Recommit”

4. Chase This Light (2007)

Many Jimmy Eat World fans view “Chase This Light” as their magnum opus of albums, and admittedly I was confused as to why at first. Sure, I thought “Big Casino” was a rock solid jam with face-melting guitar and all, but can we genuinely compare this album to “Bleed American,” “Clarity,” “Futures,” or even the recent addictingly experimental “Surviving” without feeling like we’re taking crazy pills? However, after finally giving the album the attention it deserves with a full listen-through, I’ll be the first to confess that I was wrong. In fact–holy hell was I wrong. This album is so damn good that I no longer would feel the need to challenge someone to fisty-cuffs if they ranked it above “Bleed American.” Yeah–it’s surprisingly that fucking good. From the clever Death Cab for Cutie-esque songwriting of “Let It Happen” to the emotional power ballad that is “Dizzy,” this album is a damn fun time all the way through.

Play it again: “Dizzy”
Skip it: “Here It Goes”

3. Clarity (1999)

It’s hard to believe that “Clarity” is the album that got Jimmy Eat World dropped from Capitol Records. Apparently the label’s new CEO at the time was confused by its raw emotion and uniqueness from more pop-focused bands blowing up in the late ‘90s, making him disregard the band as not even worthy of being taken seriously. If this dude is still around today, then allow me to be the first person to offer him a nice roundhouse kick to the nuts, because “Clarity” is nothing short of a goddamn masterpiece. This album is just about as emo as it gets–so emo in fact, that it went on to be dubbed as one of most formative albums pioneering the whole fucking genre. While it was a commercial flop upon release, “Clarity” has lived on to build a well-deserved and borderline cult-like following. With powerhouse hits like the title track “Clarity,” “Lucky Denver Mint,” and “Crush” mixed in with emotionally raw and stripped ones like “Just Watch the Fireworks,” this can easily be considered one of the best Jimmy Eat World albums of all time–despite most people not even knowing it exists.

Play it again: “Clarity”
Skip it: “Goodbye Sky Harbour” (Because 15 minutes is just too damn long even for this die-hard Jimmy Eat World fan)

2. Futures (2004)

The pressure was real for Jimmy Eat World when it came time to make a follow-up to 2001’s “Bleed American.” Fortunately, they truly hit it out of the fucking park with 2004’s “Futures” though. This album definitely sounds the most alternative out of Jimmy Eat World’s discography, but the band somehow accomplished this while pulling from their quintessentially emo book of tricks that they perfected with “Clarity.” From opening with one of their best songs of all time, “Futures,” acting as a hopeful protest against the government to exploring the struggles of addiction in two completely different styles with the infectious lead single “Pain” and the tear-inducing “Drugs or Me,” this album feels as if Jim Adkins’ songwriting ability truly went full fucking super-Saiyan. Hardly anything sounds like filler on this album, which is especially impressive when you realize one of its top tracks, “23,” is a whopping seven minutes in length. Sure, Blink-182’s song about being 23 is way more popular, but does it make you tear up for seven whole fucking minutes? I didn’t think so.

Play it again: “Futures”
Skip it: “Night Drive”

1. Bleed American (2001)

And here we are at number one. We all saw this coming. Did you think I’d be some edgelord that ranks this album second, third, or dare I say–fucking fourth–like I’ve seen plenty of neckbeards do on the internet? Hell no. “Bleed American” is Jimmy Eat World’s most popular album for a reason god dammit, and I’m willing to die on this hill. I mean–come on! With the albums featuring their greatest hits like “Bleed American,” “The Middle,” “A Praise Chorus,” and fucking “Sweetness” (also known as one of the greatest songs of all time), what’s not to love? And let’s not forget about “Hear You Me.” Even if you don’t love that song, I can sure as shit guarantee your girlfriend does. As incredible as the rest of Jimmy Eat World’s music is, this album just has too many good fucking songs to not take the crown.

Play it again: “Sweetness” and “A Praise Chorus”
Skip it: Don’t fucking insult me