Published in The Music (NSW, QLD, VIC) and on theMusic.com.au, Oct 2016
Jimmy Eat World’s Jim Adkins: “Everything’s Fucked. That’s Okay.”
“Everything’s fucked. That’s okay.” Jimmy Eat World frontman Jim Adkins tells Daniel Cribb about the dark path to Integrity Blues.
The depth of Jimmy Eat World’s sound and lyrical content goes well beyond the early-2000s pop punk/emo boom they found themselves embroiled in, and it could be because of the intriguing nature in which frontman Jim Adkins processes what’s going on around him. “I’m just listening to police sirens, watching clouds go by,” Adkins begins in a calculated tone that suggests he’s trying to unravel the meaning of life.
The Arizona-native has shifted his mindset since the release of 2013’s Damage. “Damage covers the problem really well, let’s write about the solution,” he says on the initial stages of their new album; the sounds of which weren’t any easy path to get to. “When beginning to work on Integrity Blues, I found myself kinda stuck… I would instantly find myself shooting holes through everything, becoming instantly non-empathetic with the adversity in the song.”
Any time Adkins would hone in on a subject and try critique it through his own personal struggles, he would hit a roadblock and feel like the direction was “wasted energy” and the argument or issue wasn’t quite on point. “There’s this low-hanging fruit that you’re kind of quick to cite as the source of your troubles,” he explains. “But really, what’s behind that? If you dig a little bit deeper, a lot of it is your own making.
“A lot of it is your unwillingness to just accept reality. And that reality could be uncomfortable, because it means that you’d have to confront your ego somewhat, knocking down delusions to a degree. For whatever reason, our ego fights really hard to protect itself, and it keeps us from being comfortable and being at peace with ourselves.”
The term ‘ego’ is often thrown around when it comes to musicians, and it’s something that Adkins had to look more closely at in order to figure out the true direction ofIntegrity Blues. “That’s just fascinating to me, like what is that? What sort of evolutionary pulse is this inner voice telling you to work against your own betterment? And for what? To save pride? What is this, really? This inner voice would be tantrum behaviour, in order to get your way. Which, in reality, is making you like five times less attractive. From whatever kind of angle you may be pursuing. Like why is that? It’s just fascinating to me.”
It’s a method of songwriting that took him into a dark mindset from time-to-time, but ultimately gave him a better perspective on life and Jimmy Eat World. “If you’re looking for a reason that everything is lost, you’re gonna find it. If you’re looking at the place you’re in, it’s really just a greater opportunity for growth. You can look at these things as opportunities, or you can look at it like, ‘This is fucked,’ but really, that’s an option.
“Everything’s fucked. That’s okay. Sometimes it’s sort of healthy just to go there and really get into a negative place, and think, ‘What’s the most extreme version of this that could play out here; the most unrealistic end that this thinking can lead to,’ and it just kind of seems ridiculous to hang on to.”