|Studio album by Jimmy Eat World|
|Released||July 24, 2001|
|Recorded||Cherokee, Los Angeles
Harddrive, North Hollywood
|Producer||Mark Trombino, Jimmy Eat World|
|Jimmy Eat World chronology|
|Singles from Bleed American|
Bleed American is the fourth studio album by the American alternative rock band Jimmy Eat World. It was released on July 24, 2001 by DreamWorks Records. It was the first recording launched after signing the band a few months prior. The album was re-released as Jimmy Eat World after the September 11 attacks in New York that took place a month 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"; and they all managed to enter the top twenty of the US charts. The most successful was "The Middle", which reached the number-one spot on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. 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.
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 unreleased songs. The album's title and first track were restored to Bleed American.
In February 1999, Jimmy Eat World released their third studio album, Clarity, through Capitol Records. However, despite critical acclaim and the success of its lead single, "Lucky Denver Mint", the album failed to appeal to the label's management. After the label had shelved the following recordings, As a result, the band decided to leave the label. At that time, Jimmy Eat World distributed their albums independently while on tour in Europe. 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."
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. Later that year, they returned to Europe on tour, where Clarity was enjoying some success, especially in Germany. After this tour, they launched a new split, this time with Jebediah.
Recording sessions began shortly after the release of Singles in August 2000 and took place in Los Angeles, California. The sales from Singles and the proceeds from Jimmy Eat World's European tour helped fund the album's recording sessions. Bleed American was produced by Mark Trombino, who had already produced two of the band's previous studio albums: Static Prevails (1996) and Clarity (1999). However, the budgeted amount was still not enough. Trombino offered to work for free during the recording sessions, confident he would be reimbursed by the album's predicted commercial success. Some of the songs included in Bleed American had already been written and recorded during the Clarity sessions, but the band felt it was too late to include them in that album.
The band collaborated with guest vocalists in several of the album's songs. Davey von Bohlen (The Promise Ring) contributed vocals in "A Praise Chorus", and Rachel Haden (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.
Lyrical themes and musical style
The material on Bleed American was more accessible and aggressive than its predecessor, rather than the "layered, sprawling sound" of Clarity. Frontman Jim Adkins said of the stylistic approach of the album: “Things still got pretty gnarly in the studio as far as experimentation, but it was always to an end that was complimentary 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.” In terms of genres, critics have described the album as alternative rock, emo, emo pop, pop punk, and power pop. Some of the songs included in Bleed American had already been written and recorded during the Clarity sessions, but the band felt it was too late to include them in that album.
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."
Jimmy Eat World makes references to several bands, albums and songs in the lyrical compositions of Bleed American. "A Praise Chorus", the final single from the album, contains various 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, among others.
"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". Its lyrics speak about "fitting in" and self-acceptance of oneself. 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.’"
Soon after starting the recording sessions of Bleed American, the band met the head of DreamWorks Records A & R division, who offered to help the band. The band considered it, but it was not until a year later when they returned to contact him. The band presented the material they had recorded and the label decided to sign them. Bleed American was released on July 24, 2001.[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. In addition, the title track was renamed "Salt Sweat Sugar." The album artwork is taken from William Eggleston's photograph "Memphis".
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. 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." The album was certified Gold in the United States in March 2002, and it had reached Platinum status by August. It peaked number 54 on the Billboard 200 on August 11, 2001. The album's most successful single was "The Middle", the second of its four singles. It managed to reach the number-one spot on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and number five on the Billboard Hot 100.
In addition to the album's singles, two EPs were released to support Bleed American. The first of these EPs was titled Good to Go EP. A Japan-only release, it was released on February 22, 2002.[nb 2] A tour EP, The Middle/A Praise Chorus Tour EP was released in Australia in January 2003.[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.
|Drowned in Sound||10/10|
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The Village Voice||C+|
Bleed American was a critical and commercial success, helping the band gain mainstream popularity. As well as its Platinum certification in the United States, the album was certified Platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) and Silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
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.". 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". Aubin Paul of Punknews.org 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." 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." Drowned in Sound's Terry Bezer called the album "eleven of the finest songs you’ll hear this, or any other, year". AllMusic's Mark Vanderhoff praised its "compelling lyrics, driving guitar work, and insanely catchy melodies".
Entertainment Weekly described the album as a "fine balancing act" of "emo-edged" tracks "wallop-packed rockers." 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." 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. 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. 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." 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." Pitchfork, however, 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!"
Q listed Bleed American as one of the best 50 albums of 2001. The album was included in Rock Sound's 101 Modern Classics list at number 48. In 2013, it was ranked at number 429 on NME's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. BuzzFeed included the album at number 17 on their "36 Pop Punk Albums You Need To Hear Before You F——ing Die" list. NME listed the album as one of "20 Pop Punk Albums Which Will Make You Nostalgic", as well as one of "20 Emo Albums That Have Resolutely Stood The Test Of Time". The album was ranked at number 183 on Spin's "The 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years (1985–2014)" list.
- "Bleed American" (listed as "Salt Sweat Sugar" on the self-titled version) – 3:02
- "A Praise Chorus" – 4:03
- "The Middle" – 2:46
- "Your House" – 4:46
- "Sweetness" – 3:40
- "Hear You Me" – 4:45
- "If You Don't, Don't" – 4:33
- "Get It Faster" – 4:22
- "Cautioners" – 5:21
- "The Authority Song" – 3:38
- "My Sundown" – 5:40
- Bonus tracks
|Japanese/vinyl bonus track|
|12.||"(Splash) Turn Twist"||4:09|
|Deluxe edition disc one bonus tracks|
|12.||"The Most Beautiful Things" (from Good to Go / Jebediah split)|
|13.||"No Sensitivity" (from German "The Middle" single / Jebediah split)|
|14.||"(Splash) Turn Twist" (from The Middle EP / Firestarter EP)|
|Deluxe edition disc two|
|1.||"Cautioners" (demo, from Good to Go EP / Jebediah split)|
|2.||"Firestarter" (from Firestarter EP)|
|3.||"Get It Faster" (AOL version, previously unreleased)|
|4.||"Bleed American" (live, from the Australian EP)|
|5.||"A Praise Chorus" (live, from Good to Go)|
|6.||"Softer" (live, from Good to Go)|
|7.||"The Middle" (acoustic, from the Australian EP)|
|8.||"If You Don't, Don't" (XFM version, from British "The Middle" single)|
|9.||"Game of Pricks" (from British "The Middle" single / Good to Go EP)|
|10.||"The Authority Song" (demo, from German "The Middle" single)|
|11.||"My Sundown" (from Believe in What You Want)|
|12.||"Sweetness" (live, previously unreleased)|
|13.||"Last Christmas" (from Last Christmas)|
|14.||"My Sundown" (demo, from German "The Middle" single)|
|15.||"Spangle" (from Good to Go EP / Singles)|
|16.||"Hear You Me" (from Believe in What You Want)|
|17.||"The Middle" (demo, from German "The Middle" single)|
|18.||"Your House 2007" (previously unreleased)|
Personnel per 2008 reissue booklet.
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||54|
|German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)||20|
|New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)||43|
|UK Albums (OCC)||62|
|US Billboard 200||31|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||100,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||60,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
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