‘Just Watch the Fireworks’ by Jimmy Eat World
From the album Clarity (1999)
When I started this endeavour it was my idea that, at the mid-way point of proceedings (Week 26), I’d write about the song after which this blog is named. Of course, Glastonbury (I still wish I was there right now fyi) got in the way of this so I’ve had to settle with doing it a week later. So here we are, if you hadn’t figured it out already I half-inched the name of my blog directly from one of my favourite Jimmy Eat World songs.
I was sat on a train travelling (more than likely) from Oxford to Matlock and was trying to come up with names for my little idea (I almost settled on ‘Awkward Music Blog’ as an homage to Oxford Music Blog, for which I once wrote and wouldn’t be doing this right now if it weren’t for that – cheers Tom!) I was listening to Clarity a lot at the time, I’m not sure why, I guess that it is an autumn album for me, and a line from track 9, ‘Just Watch the Fireworks’, hit me, aurally and ideologically –
I said said said it out loud
over and over
I said said said it out loud
but what do I know?
That really sums up for me exactly what a lot of these ‘yah I keep a blog’ types (myself included, but at least I’m freely able to admit that I’m vacuous and slef-important) actually achieve with their particular brand of web-narcissism. I am, of course, genuinely thankful to anybody who ha taken time out of their lives to read any of my work; my ‘art’; my PAIN.
Anyway, after that rather convoluted introduction, let’s talk about Clarity. It’s a truly phenomenal album that turns and twists its way through alternative rock, pop punk (dare I?) and emo, and bridges completely the shift in sound from that heard on Static Prevails to Bleed American. Whilst Static is more one for the purists (see also the 7” splits with Christie Front Drive, Mineral and Jejune, amongst others), and Bleed is the one with all the hits and the one that saved the band from day jobs and being a footnote in musical history, Clarity is, for me and many others, simply their best work. I had the pleasure to see it performed live in its entirety (including a version of ‘Goodbye Sky Harbor’ that went on forever, in the best kind of way and followed by Bleed American in full too) a few years back and I can honestly say that it was one of the best, if not the best, shows I’ve ever been to.
‘Just Watch the Fireworks’ encapsulates everything that Clarity is all about; it is epic, emotional, quiet, loud, frantic, mournful, meaningful, heavy and clean. The lyrics, a comparative ode to someone in a difficult situation, the protagonist trying to help them out to no avail, are strikingly simple and fit brilliantly to Jim Adkins’ unmistakeable, unique vocals. This makes it even harder to believe that Clarity is the first JEW album to feature Adkins as lead vocalist; not to take away from Tom Linton as ‘Blister’ is another top track from the album. The way that the vocals are delivered in the refrain that eventually became the name of this blog is almost heart wrenching. Wait, in fact, it is heart wrenching. In saying that I suppose I’m trying to attach more meaning to the name of this blog, trying, in vain, to elevate it beyond what it is; a matter of convenience and an outlet for me to continue writing, but everything has to have some sort of meaning, right? I’ll let Jim Adkins finish this one –
Here in centre frame
here there’s only air
and just enough space to fit.