Jimmy Eat World announce Clarity tour. Why, exactly?

They don't even look different now than they did ten years ago!

Recently mainstream emo-punkers Jimmy Eat World announced a tour to honor the tenth anniversary of Clarity, in which they will play the album in its entirety. My immediate reaction: "seriously, guys?"

I'm not knocking Clarity. I used to listen to it quite a bit back when it first came out - particularly during my first two years of college - and I'll still revisit it every now and again for a pleasant nostalgia trip. It gets a little overwrought at times, a little too syrupy and corny at others, but there are some really good songs on there, particularly if you're measuring within its genre - "Crush," "10," the title track, and "Believe in What You Want" come to mind. Certainly Jimmy Eat World will likely not record an album to equal it; they haven't been able to so far.

But this still feels like a stretch. Leaving aside the hubris necessary to suggest that Clarity is somehow by association now on the level with other albums that have gotten the top-to-bottom treatment, like Daydream Nation, Vs., or Spiderland, I'm just not sure who is clamoring for this. If the idea is that Clarity somehow inspired the generation of inferior, drippy, schmoopy mall punk that we've suffered through for the last ten years, then I guess that's fine. If Jimmy Eat World wants to take credit for, say, Plain White Ts or Say Anything then I guess I shouldn't want to stop them. But the connection seems dubious - coincidental as much as anything. Yes, Clarity came out ten years ago and these bands starting sprouting up shortly thereafter. But Jimmy Eat World were one of, like, fifty bands doing something similar at the time. I'm not sure how anyone can separate out their influence from anyone else's. Are the Promise Ring and Braid going to tour together and play, respectively, Nothing Feels Good and Frame and Canvas in their entireties now, too?

What's even weirder is that Jimmy Eat World never went away or anything; they didn't break up or go on hiatus. They released an album in 2006 and toured behind it. And on that tour, they played songs from Clarity. So why are they doing this again?

Of course, all that said, I'm still interested in checking it out. So maybe there's less to this than you think: maybe they're just trying to get people talking about them again. Whatever works, I guess.

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