Jimmy Eat World - Stay on My Side Tonight (Cover Artwork)

Jimmy Eat World

Stay on My Side Tonight (2005)


Jimmy Eat World is one of my favorite bands ever. The infamous Clarity is my favorite record. While I was fine with the releases of Bleed American and Futures, I always secretly just wanted more Clarity. So, when I heard this EP was coming out and had more of a feel of their older days, I got pretty excited. Plus, covering Heatmiser's "Half Right" could really be amazing. Unfortunately, this EP only partially delivers.

"Disintigration" starts off the disc, and is easily one of my favorite Jimmy songs ever. I had the demo of this -- originally called "Coming Home" from the Futures sessions -- and was always hoping it would be properly recorded and released. I think it's their best song recorded since "Goodbye Sky Harbor," and keeps in touch with the repetitive harmonies and looped melodies that this band somehow manages to make interesting and involving. So far, so good.

"Over" is an outtake from Clarity, as it should have been. It's got the poppy elements that the band is great at, but something about the vocals is just awkward and confusing. The lyrics are incredibly simple, even for Jim Adkins, and usually his lyrical 'whoaaa' is much better than his hums he seemingly half-asses in this song. The layering of the vocals at the end of this track don't work nearly as well as they did in "Disintigration," probably because the bridge offers more of a punch than the final chorus. It's a good song, but good at best.

"Closer" is a song that is really hard to grade. It starts off sort of boring, easy, and again, disconnected from the full and harmonious sound Jimmy usually produces. However, as it nears halfway through the 5:50 it takes up, the song basically explodes into one of those tunes you imagine a car commercial for a Volkswagen would feature: A few teenagers driving with the top down on a sunny day on some cliffs overlooking the Pacific coast. It suddenly goes from mediocre pop riff to really entertaining, fun driving music. Everything about the song improves halfway through, and it's a shame this energy wasn't put into the first part. Unfortunately, the song ends in the style it began, sort of iffy and left off of a full-length for a reason.

"Half Right" was supposed to be better. Jimmy Eat World is one of those bands that I think just does phenomenal covers. "Firestarter" and "New Religion" are just incredible and I was hoping to see the band take a whole new look at Elliott Smith's beautiful track. But they don't. They stay the course, providing a simple cover song with some ambient sounds in the background. And I must say, it's always weird listening to Jim say "motherfucker," just because I've gotten accustomed to the band never swearing.

I won't comment on the last song because, as remixes usually are, it's bad. It's disconnected, loses meaning of the original, and seems thrown together for the release.

If you liked Clarity as much as I did, you'll probably enjoy this EP. It's not a huge success, and I'd recommend just picking and choosing a track or two to get from iTunes (or whatever means you have of getting music) and forget the rest. The Heatmiser cover is worth a listen, just don't expect a radical new direction. This does, however, leave me hoping that the band hasn't closed all their doors to creating another masterpiece like Clarity, perhaps leaving the pressures of a major label and radio demands behind.