For all of their underground bravado, Jimmy Eat World (arguably the worst band name ever) write exceedingly mainstream tunes dipped in just enough sincerity, mild feedback, and emo posturing to maintain a fanbase among the dejected, backpack wearing, bespectacled crowd. Flirtation with a major label resulted in the modest success of “Lucky Denver Mint,” a single from their second Capitol release, Clarity, which is now being used as the theme song to a nondescript teen-oriented FOX television show, and the appearance of these two records in bargain bins across the country.
Singles, is, as you might think, a collection of “rare” tracks culled from compilations, seven inches, and radio appearances, much of it less ably produced than their big-budgeted material. JEW (funny acronym, huh?) are one of those bands that actually sound better with the slick production of crisply plucked guitar strings and bland distortion. The appropriately titled opening track, “Opener,” taken from the hilariously named Emo Diaries, Volume One, forges the band’s template—big guitars playing sweet melodies, nicely sung/cried vocals, and a smattering of punk rock noise—whereas a song like “Speed Read,” showcases their wimpy, “woe-is-me-all-I-really- want-is-to-get-laid-and- that’s-why-I’m-emo” side…but wait! You also get the patented soft/loud thing that all the hip bands seem to dig these days on tracks like “New Religion.”
Any way you slice it, the music is accessible, all ages, and “I’m gonna make a mixtape for this girl I really like” worthy. However, since you can probably find the band’s major-label output at you local mom and pop rekkid store for about the same price as a cup of coffee, opt for that.