Jimmy Eat World reexamines old album with new Clarity with 25th anniversary vinyl release

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Jimmy Eat World‘s 1999 album Clarity turned 25 in February. Considered a classic of the ’90s emo scene, Clarity set the table for the band’s mainstream breakout with 2001’s Bleed American. It also marked the first Jimmy Eat World album to feature Jim Adkins as the full-time lead vocalist.

Speaking with ABC Audio, Adkins recalls his transition to his now longtime role “just happened that way.”

“It happened just ’cause I was writing more songs with melodies and lyrics kind of on my own, and then bringing them to the group,” Adkins says.

“It wasn’t like a power move, and it wasn’t some need to be the ‘frontman,"” he laughs. “It just sort of happened.”

Jimmy Eat World is marking the Clarity anniversary with the vinyl release of their performance of the record during their 2021 Phoenix Sessions livestream concert. Adkins feels that the set illustrates how the songs off Clarity have evolved in the live setting over the past two decades.

“Sometimes when you’re playing out material that’s older, it morphs over time,” Adkins says. “One person will do, like, an inflection or an accent or some kind of embellishment, and it’s cool, and then the next night maybe another person picks up on that and does the same thing, too. And now, you’re both stoked on it, and it’s more or less part of the song now.”

Playing Clarity for the Phoenix Sessions stream allowed Jimmy Eat World to examine how far they’ve drifted from the original recording while also revisiting some of the aspects they may have left behind.

“It was cool,” Adkins says. “We got to keep the things that, over the years, we’ve add that we liked, and we got to bring back the things that we might’ve forgotten about.”

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