Jim Adkins is my generation’s Tom Petty. In the same way that, whether or not you actively listen to “Won’t Back Down” or “Free Falling,” you know them. The exact same holds true for Jimmy Eat World songs like “The Middle” and “Sweetness.” The songwriting is so good that it’s culturally inescapable– irrevocably part of the American rock lexicon.
JEW put out their ninth studio album this year, and I was fortunate to see them perform it (and all their other songs from the past eight albums) at Webster Hall.The quality of their songwriting is matched only by the quality of their performance. Adkins may look the same (that haircut’s as much a part of JEW’s legacy as his solo in “The Middle”), but the band have been active since 1993– plenty of time to hone their craft.
This is apparent throughout their set.Not only do they just sound amazing (I’ve seen dozens of shows at Webster and nobody has come close to the balance, tone and character of what came out of the speakers for JEW) but they have nine albums of cult favorites to choose from and still manage to choose perfectly. It’s a kind of professionalism that eclipses the show-offy antics or faux-virtuosism of the countless artists who have spent the past 15 years trying to write something half as good as Bleed American.