“Clarity” from Jimmy Eat World until I was a senior in high school. I was late on this record because I didn’t really explore passed “Bleed American”, which was getting a lot of radio and MTV play at the time. I recall Carson Daly saying that these guys were one of the hardest working bands in the United States. They were in fact opening acts for a ton of tours, and they were coming into their own with the release of the poorly titled “Bleed American”, which saw a few title changes, and even censorship thanks to 2001’s events.
“Clarity” is one of the best independent rock records every put together. However, it fits into the “emo” and “indie” mold all the same. It’s like Death Cab For Cutie’s brother, or cousin. The band flows through long winded songs, creating over an hour of music with just 15 songs on the expanded edition. These are not short songs at all, and they play through a lot of instrumentation, and sometimes, it seems a bit long. That’s the key to the indie and emo settings that were big on Jade Tree, and the likes.
The record flows through a lot of emotional connections. However, if you have ever heard the track, “Lucky Denver Mint”, you know the band can put together some pop glory. In fact, it was that song that got me thinking about “Clarity” and my first big heart break. My friends introduced me to a young lady named Codie, and I was in love, stricken hard. Of course, as with all teenage romances, it wasn’t much of a romance as it was one sided stupidity on my behalf. She loved this song, so much so that she had the Fueled By Ramen release single of this track. I recall laying on her carpet and watching the ceiling form clouds as we listened to this record.
She’s long gone. I got over it. But I was left with this amazing record to go back to and think about. As far as the tracks and music here, you’re going to find a lot of emotion. Some of it is raw, unpolished, and the songs can seem to wander a bit. However, you’ll find that there are stand outs including, “Your New Aesthetic”, “Believe in What You Want”, “Crush”, “12.23.95”, and “Ten.”. This is a meal of a record. It is meant to be listened to completely, not dissected for the single that is truly one of the catchiest of all time from the band.
As far as recordings from the late 1990s are concerned, “Clarity” didn’t get a fair shake in my view. It was overtaken by other independent stand outs, including Saves The Day, The Get Up Kids, and even Hot Rod Circuit. However, it is a strong record with one hell of a drum outro that leads into “Your New Aesthetic”. Overall, Jimmy Eat World really put a lot into this record and if you go back to listen to it, you’ll see that they were on the cusp of something grand, which would become their break out major label release a few years later. When released, however, it was ignored mostly. Except by Codie. I’m sure she’s out there married, enjoying life, living that dream I wish I could’ve had with her. We still have “Clarity”, though.