Today during a listen-through of Jimmy Eat World’s discography (as I do with bands from time to time), it was time to listen to Chase This Light (2007), the band’s fifth record. Chase This Light had, for a decade, been the point at which Jimmy Eat World and I diverged. For years, as the band released new records, I had difficulty coming around to their evolving sound. While I continued to buy their subsequent records, none of them made it into high rotation even though I regularly revisited Clarity (1999), Bleed American (2001), and Futures (2004).
My taste in music has evolved considerably over the last 18 years or so, of course. Many artists also evolve over the course of their careers, sometimes in ways that jibe with their original fans, other times their evolution takes them into new territory that their original fans don’t dig. I never disliked later Jimmy Eat World records, it was just that, as they were released, those subsequent releases just weren’t meeting me where I was at that time. They couldn’t get their hooks in me.
During today’s listen-through I found myself really getting into Chase This Light in a way that I hadn’t gotten into any Jimmy Eat World record since Futures. It got it’s hooks in me in a way it didn’t when it came out in 2007.
Out of curiosity I calculated how old Jim Adkins (frontperson and primary songwriter) would have been when Chase This Light was released. It turns out he would have been roughly 32 years old at the time the record was released, and likely would have written the majority of the records in the preceding couple of years.
Well wouldn’t you know it, right now I am also roughly 32 years old. And boy doesn’t it just make sense that a record written by a 30-something, about a 30-something’s troubles, might appeal to a 30-something listener in a way that it wouldn’t have appealed to a 20 year old listener.
While there are still some elements of the record’s production that bother me, the Chase This Light nevertheless really clicked with me today. While I can’t imagine it’s solely because I’m more willing to listen to 32 year old Jim Adkins now than I was 13 years ago, I have to assume that’s a large part of what’s at play. My musical tastes have evolved considerably over that time, becoming considerably broader, and I am much less of a pretentious asshole (because boy, in my teens and early 20s I was often a real pretentious asshole). So too have my life circumstances and the emotional landscape I inhabit changed.
Chase This Light didn’t meet me where I was in 2007, but it seems to be meeting me where I am in 2020. I don’t mind that one bit, because adding Chase This Light to my rotation doesn’t mean I like Clarity, Bleed American, and Futures any less, it’s just more music for the listenin’!.