Something about new releases from a longtime favorite band speaks volumes about the confluence of the past and present. On one hand, there’s the comfort of the familiar, but on the other, it’s a messy meeting, because here you have these expectations and standards and you have no idea what you’re going to get this time around.

“The way you pull me in sometimes, I almost feel 
The picture in my head is just too real. 
It’s gonna be how it is,
There’s some things you don’t change 
I’m done with telling myself that story

How slowly we built the walls,
In years they pile on 
I will steal you back 
Funny how the smallest lie 
Might live a million times 
I will steal you back

Here we go, here we go, we’ll take on so much pain
To feel secure, or not feel anything 
I only pick a fight I know I’m sure to lose 
So how can I not hold my hope for you?
 

How slowly we built the walls
In years they pile on 
I will steal you back 
Funny how the smallest lie 
Might live a million times 
I will steal you back”
~I Will Steal You Back
Jimmy Eat World, Damages

Personally, I’m excited for new Jimmy Eat World. Something about this track sounds very Bleed American to me, something very familiar in those chords getting held out and those straight-talk lyrics. I also love how guitar-heavy it is, glad that hasn’t changed. But is it recycled? I’m not sure of the reaction this track is getting from their fan base so far, but I recall Invented seem to kind of fall on deaf ears (though I really loved it). A band that means a lot of things to a lot of people always will, but it doesn’t mean they’ll relate to the latest effort. I find I’m able to in this case, though. There’s something mature about this track, a balance of impassioned frustration met with restraint and perspective. Although come to think of it, JEW has always had that feeling mastered (see Clarity). 

Still, this isn’t the same Jimmy Eat World from the early 2000s, because their sound has definitely evolved from its pop-punk roots to something far more adult, far more alt-rock and dare I say mainstream (in a good way!). But hey, let’s face it, I’m not the same either, we’ve all grown. I almost love this band more now than I did then, knowing the growth and change between their albums is parelled in me.