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Bleed American

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Bleed American
A collection of bowling trophies sitting on top of a cigarette machine
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 24, 2001 (2001-07-24)
Jimmy Eat World chronology
Bleed American
Singles from Bleed American
  1. "Bleed American"
    Released: September 24, 2001
  2. "The Middle"
    Released: November 5, 2001
  3. "Sweetness"
    Released: June 3, 2002
  4. "A Praise Chorus"
    Released: October 8, 2002

Bleed American is the fourth studio album by American rock band Jimmy Eat World, released on July 24, 2001, by DreamWorks Records. Originally released as Bleed American, it was re-released as Jimmy Eat World following the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., which took place seven weeks after its initial release.

The album was recorded with producer Mark Trombino in Los Angeles. The musical style was more direct and accessible than its predecessor, Clarity (1999), and received great commercial success. Bleed American yielded four singles: "Bleed American", "The Middle", "Sweetness", and "A Praise Chorus"; each managed to enter the top twenty of at least one US chart. The most successful was "The Middle", which reached the number-one spot on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and number five on the Billboard Hot 100. In March 2002, Bleed American was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, and it was certified platinum that August after its sales reached over one million copies. As of September 2016, the album has sold over 1.6 million copies.

On April 29, 2008, Geffen Records released a deluxe edition containing the original album and other bonus material. The deluxe edition included several B-sides, acoustic versions, live tracks, demos, and a re-recorded version of "Your House". The album's title and title track were restored to Bleed American.


In February 1999, Jimmy Eat World released their third studio album, Clarity, through Capitol Records. The label started to shelve the album until a few key radio stations started playing the song "Lucky Denver Mint." After Capitol Records decided not to release their next major-label album, the band left the label.[1] At that time, Jimmy Eat World distributed their albums independently while on tour in Europe.[2] Drummer Zach Lind recalled that the label "really didn’t believe in us. But in a way, that was sort of a good thing, because it let us take control of what we needed to do. We learned we had to do it ourselves, because no one else would do it for us."[3]

In August 2000, Jimmy Eat World released the compilation album Singles through the independent label Big Wheel Recreation, which included B-sides and unreleased songs from the band up to that point.[1] Later that year, they returned to Europe on tour, where Clarity was enjoying some success, especially in Germany.[1][4] After this tour, they launched a new split, this time with Jebediah.[1]


Recording sessions began shortly after the release of Singles in August 2000 and took place in Los Angeles, California.[1] The sales from Singles and the proceeds from Jimmy Eat World's European tour helped fund the album's recording sessions.[4] Bleed American was produced by Mark Trombino.[5] Trombino had already produced two of the band's previous studio albums: Static Prevails (1996)[6] and Clarity (1999),[7] and also produced Blink-182's breakthrough album, Dude Ranch (1997).[8] The money budgeted for the record was insufficient. Trombino offered to work for free during the recording sessions, confident he would be reimbursed by the album's predicted commercial success.[9] Some of the songs included in Bleed American had already been written and recorded during the Clarity sessions, but the band felt they were recorded too late to include them in that album.[10]

The band collaborated with guest vocalists in several of the album's songs. Davey von Bohlen (of The Promise Ring) contributed vocals in "A Praise Chorus", and Rachel Haden (of That Dog) lent her voice in "Hear You Me", "If You Don't, Don't", "Cautioners" and "My Sundown." The album was recorded in two studios: Californians Cherokee in Los Angeles, and Harddrive in North Hollywood. The mixtures were made in South Extasy Recording Studio, also in Los Angeles.[5]

Lyrical themes and musical style[edit]

Two men playing guitar on-stage
Tom Linton (left) and Jim Adkins (right) were the main composers of Bleed American.

The material on Bleed American was more accessible and aggressive than its predecessor, which had a more "layered, sprawling sound."[11] In regard to the stylistic approach of the album, frontman Jim Adkins said, “Things still got pretty gnarly in the studio as far as experimentation, but it was always to an end that was complimentary [sic] to the song. We wanted to really make sure that we weren’t doing things, like, just to put a wacky keyboard sound in. It had to be doing something constructive for the song.”[12] Critics have described the genres of the album as alternative rock,[11][13] emo,[14][15] emo pop,[16] pop punk,[14] and power pop.[17]

The lyrical composition in Bleed American also remained rather direct and straightforward in comparison to Clarity. Mark Vanderhoff of Allmusic said that Bleed American didn't have any "16 minute songs," referencing "Goodbye Sky Harbor" from Clarity. Rather, he called the music on Bleed American "just straight-ahead rock & roll, performed with punk energy and alt-rock smarts."[11]

Jimmy Eat World makes references to several bands, albums, and songs in the lyrical compositions of Bleed American.[11] "A Praise Chorus", the final single from the album, contains lyrics from songs the band knew, such as "Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James and the Shondells, "Our House" by Madness, "Kickstart My Heart" by Mötley Crüe and "Don't Let's Start" by They Might Be Giants.[11][12] The title and lyrics of "The Authority Song" are a direct reference to "Authority Song" by John Cougar Mellencamp, and it also contains a reference to Automatic, an album by the Jesus and Mary Chain.[18]

"The Middle," the second single from the album, includes a guitar solo that, according to Adkins, "is a tribute to Doug Gillard of Guided by Voices".[12] Its lyrics speak about "fitting in" and self-acceptance of oneself.[11] In turn, "Sweetness" was one of the songs that Adkins had more doubts about because of its lyrical content: "I just had this melody in my head and I was demoing it and singing it and kind of having a hard time with it. I almost didn’t bring it to the band because I was thinking to myself, ’I can’t just say nothing. I can’t just use all these sort of alyrical whoahs for this much of a song.’"[12]


After recording sessions of Bleed American began, the head of DreamWorks Records' Artists and repertoire division offered to help the band. The band considered it, but it was not until a year later when they returned to contact him. After the band presented the material they had recorded, the label signed them.[10] Bleed American was released on July 24, 2001.[5][nb 1] Out of concern that its title could be misinterpreted following the September 11 attacks, the album was re-released with an eponymous title.[19] In addition, the title track was renamed "Salt Sweat Sugar."[20] The album artwork, showing a set of bowling trophies sitting on top of a cigarette machine, is taken from William Eggleston's photograph "Memphis".[19]

The album became a bestseller, and in its first four months on the market, it sold 173,000 copies, making Bleed American Jimmy Eat World's most successful album.[21] Lind said that these sales were "definitely a big deal to the band because it shows how the fanbase is growing. [If you’re] doing anything creative, you want more and more people to enjoy what you do."[21] The album was certified gold in the United States in March 2002, and it had reached platinum status by August.[22] It peaked at number 54 on the Billboard 200 on August 11, 2001.[23] The album produced four singles: "Bleed American", "The Middle", "Sweetness", and "A Praise Chorus". The album's most successful single was "The Middle". It managed to reach the number-one spot on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and number five on the Billboard Hot 100.[23] As of September 2016, the album has sold over 1.6 million copies.[24]

In addition to the album's singles, two EPs were released to support Bleed American. The first of these EPs, titled Good to Go EP, was released on February 22, 2002 exclusively in Japan.[5][nb 2] The second EP, titled The Middle/A Praise Chorus Tour EP, was a tour EP released in Australia in January 2003.[5][nb 3] On April 28, 2008, a deluxe edition of the album was released with a bonus disc containing several B-sides, acoustic versions, live versions, demo versions and previously unreleased tracks. The original album and track title Bleed American were restored for this release.[19] The band performed Bleed American and Clarity in their entireties for two UK shows in June 2011.[25]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[11]
Blender3/5 stars[26]
Entertainment WeeklyB[27]
Los Angeles Times2.5/4 stars[28]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[31]
Slant Magazine3.5/5 stars[32]
USA Today3.5/4 stars[33]
The Village VoiceC+[34]

Bleed American was a critical and commercial success, helping the band gain mainstream popularity. As well as its platinum certification in the United States[22] and Canada by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA).[35] The album was also certified Silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).[36]

Thomas Nassiff of AbsolutePunk stated that "praising this album is something that can't be done enough" and opined that the album contained "no bad songs", concluding: "Certainly one of the most memorable records of 2001, Bleed American might actually have the most lasting power of any album from that class."[14] Mike Stagno of Sputnikmusic praised Bleed American as "an enjoyable, catchy mainstream rock album" and noted its high replay value, particularly tracks such as "Sweetness" and "Get It Faster".[13] Aubin Paul of stated that unlike the band's prior albums, the second half of Bleed American was "quite strong, and really fleshes out the musical ideas from the record."[15] While noting that those who dislike "emo or 'poppier' music" would dislike the album, Paul ultimately concluded that "the punker-than-thou kids should stick with Static Prevails, but a catalog as impressive a J.E.W.'s can be appreciated by anyone without preconceptions."[15] Drowned in Sound's Terry Bezer called the album "eleven of the finest songs you’ll hear this, or any other, year".[37] AllMusic's Mark Vanderhoff praised its "compelling lyrics, driving guitar work, and insanely catchy melodies".[11]

Entertainment Weekly described the album as a "fine balancing act" of "emo-edged" tracks and "wallop-packed rockers."[27] Joe Warminsky III The Morning Call opined that the album was absent of emo elements, describing it instead as "an open-hearted, shiny-sounding rock disc".[38] Steve Hochman of the Los Angeles Times commented that "Those graduating from teen tastes could well turn to this album as a first step to adulthood."[28] Aaron Scott of Slant Magazine praised the maturity the band showed through the album, noting that it had the capability to attract a wide-ranging audience.[32] Rolling Stone reviewer Barry Walters stated that "Bleed American sports the tender turbulence that insular emo kids have been enjoying in private for years," with the album appealing to fans of Creed and Blink-182 as well as new wave music.[31] Blender gave the album a mixed review, saying that the album's mainstream potential was "undercut by guitars, which are neither as gleefully blaring as Weezer’s nor as cleanly melodic as the Knack’s."[26] Writing for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau stated "if this band can't be maturity's answer to 'N Sync, it can be patriotism's answer to Travis."[34] Pitchfork gave a much more negative and sarcastic review of the album. Reviewer Ryan Schreiber ended his review with "So do the best you can, listen to your favorite band, bury your head in the sand, before it all begins again. Hey, I just wrote a Jimmy Eat World song!"[30]

Q listed Bleed American as one of the best 50 albums of 2001.[39] The album was included in Rock Sound's 101 Modern Classics list at number 48.[40] In 2013, it was ranked at number 429 on NME's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.[41] NME listed the album as one of "20 Pop Punk Albums Which Will Make You Nostalgic",[42] as well as one of "20 Emo Albums That Have Resolutely Stood The Test Of Time".[43] The album was ranked at number 183 on Spin's "The 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years (1985–2014)" list.[44] In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked the album at number 25 on their list of the 50 Greatest Pop-Punk Albums.[45] "Sweetness" appeared on a best-of emo songs list by Vulture.[46]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Jimmy Eat World, except "A Praise Chorus", which contains lyrics from various songs.[note 1][5]

1."Bleed American" (listed as "Salt Sweat Sugar" on the self-titled version)3:02
2."A Praise Chorus"4:03
3."The Middle"2:46
4."Your House"4:46
6."Hear You Me"4:45
7."If You Don't, Don't"4:33
8."Get It Faster"4:22
10."The Authority Song"3:38
11."My Sundown"5:40

Bonus tracks

Japanese/vinyl bonus track[47]
12."(Splash) Turn Twist"4:09
Deluxe edition disc one[48]
12."The Most Beautiful Things" (from Good to Go / Jebediah split)3:51
13."No Sensitivity" (from German "The Middle" single / Jebediah split)3:41
14."(Splash) Turn Twist" (from The Middle EP / Firestarter EP)4:10
Deluxe edition disc two[48]
1."Cautioners" (demo, from Good to Go EP / Jebediah split)3:49
2."Firestarter" (The Prodigy cover, originally from Firestarter EP)6:24
3."Get It Faster" (AOL version, previously unreleased)3:44
4."Bleed American" (live, from the A Praise Chorus EP)3:02
5."A Praise Chorus" (live, from Good to Go)3:53
6."Softer" (live, from Good to Go)4:14
7."The Middle" (acoustic, from the A Praise Chorus EP)3:10
8."If You Don't, Don't" (XFM version, from British "The Middle" single)4:45
9."Game of Pricks" (Guided by Voices cover, from British "The Middle" single / Good to Go EP)1:55
10."The Authority Song" (demo, from German "The Middle" single)3:10
11."My Sundown" (from Believe in What You Want)5:23
12."Sweetness" (live, previously unreleased)4:05
13."Last Christmas" (Wham! cover, from Last Christmas EP)4:27
14."My Sundown" (demo, from German "The Middle" single)3:08
15."Spangle" (from Good to Go EP / Singles)4:36
16."Hear You Me" (from Believe in What You Want)4:48
17."The Middle" (demo, from German "The Middle" single)2:48
18."Your House 2007" (previously unreleased)4:00


Personnel per 2008 reissue booklet.[5]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2001–02) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[50] 54
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[51] 20
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[52] 43
UK Albums (OCC)[53] 62
US Billboard 200[54] 31


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[35] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[36] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[22] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Lyrics from "Crimson and Clover" (Thomas Gregory Jackson, Peter P. Lucia, Jr.), "Our House" (Chris Foreman, Cathal Smyth), "Why Did Ever We Meet" and "All of My Everythings" (The Promise Ring), "Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy" (Paul Rodgers), "Don't Let's Start" (John Flansburgh, John Linnell), and "Kickstart My Heart" (Nikki Sixx) appear in the bridge of "A Praise Chorus".



  1. ^ U.S. DreamWorks 50334[5]
  2. ^ Japan DreamWorks UICW-1021[5]
  3. ^ Australia DreamWorks 450 794-2[5]


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  3. ^ "Zach Lind of Jimmy Eat World". Modern Drummer. May 12, 2004. Archived from the original on August 6, 2016. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Jimmy Eat World". March 25, 2002. Archived from the original on September 18, 2016. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
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  6. ^ Static Prevails (Booklet). Jimmy Eat World. Capitol. 1996. 7243 5 39615 0 3.CS1 maint: others (link)
  7. ^ Clarity (liner notes). Capitol Records. 1999. 7243 5 39616 0 2.
  8. ^ Dude Ranch (liner notes). Blink-182. US: Cargo Music / MCA Records. 1997. CRGD-11624.CS1 maint: others (link)
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See also[edit]

External links[edit]