Nothing quite reminds me of my angsty teenage years quite like Jimmy Eat World. I grew up listening to Bleed American and Futures pretty much on repeat for most of high school but fell out of touch for a long time until the Damage album in 2013. It was excellent and I was curious as to what the follow-up would look like. Integrity Blues was exactly what I was hoping for.
In so many of the bands I like, there is a sound that I love that makes them one of my go to artists. However, in many cases (I’m looking at you Blink-182) they abandon the sound I loved for something different. Sometimes that’s a good thing, but it still leaves me nostalgic for what they used to be. In Integrity Blues, you get the sound that you love from Jimmy Eat World but in a more matured way.
In “Sure and Certain,” I hear everything that I love about the band, but you hear riffs and production that maybe wasn’t a staple of the band in the early albums. This is exactly what I hope for when someone releases new music. I want there to be progression, but I also don’t want to be listening to what feels completely like a new band.
Give me some angsty lyrics and some melodic guitar work and in general, I am a happy guy.
But, let’s delve a little deeper into the album. It can’t all be sunshine and butterflies (well, that’s definitely not this band’s schtick anyway), but I walked away happy with the entirety of this album.
“It Matters” definitely falls in line with what you want to hear from the album, and “Pretty Grids” has a nice sound that breaks up some of the more melodic guitar work in the rest of the album. “Pass the Baby” also definitely has a more refined tone than much of their past albums and it’s a good thing.
The single “Get right” may be my one complaint about the album. I didn’t feel it was one of their stronger singles of the past and coming off of “I Will Steal You Back” and “Big Casino” from their past two albums. However, it is not a bad song, just not a memorable one.
With that said, they follow the song on the album with perhaps my favorite song – “You Are Free.” It is the song I expected in what was labelled as a more self reflective album and a look back at what is now the lives of middle-aged people. (Man, I hate that sentence because it means I am not far behind them.)
The rest of the album includes a couple of the more melodic varieties with “The End is Beautiful” and “Through,” but “Integrity Blue,” the title track, may have the most different sound of everything else on the album with perhaps a touch of the band’s own nostalgia in the lyrics and tone of the song. The final song on the album “Pol Roger” intros with that same tone, but evolves into a more traditional Jimmy Eat World song.
Jimmy Eat World was about as far as I delved into the world of Emo Rock, but much of that was because I never really viewed this band in the same vein as the rest of it. However, I feel like this is a natural progression of the band with just enough nostalgia to work for a group that has been together for more than 20 years now. All in all, I would say it is definitely worth a few repeat listens, but will not eclipse past albums like Bleed American.