Produced by Mark Trombino (who’s also produced everyone from Drive Like Jehu to The Wonder Years in his career), Jimmy Eat World’s 2001 coming-out party Bleed American remains an important cornerstone in alternative rock-leaning pop-punk. Buoyed by massive singles like “The Middle” and “Sweetness” that were near inescapable on rock radio in the early 2000s (and even longer), Bleed American was a commercial and critical success that eventually went platinum.
Unlike 1999’s Clarity, which was considered a commercial flop but ultimately later considered a groundbreaking album in its own right, Bleed American was much more immediate. It’s a rare pop-punk album where every song has a purpose, and there’s very little to complain about. You have your requisite massive songs like “The Middle” and “A Praise Chorus”, which stun the listener with irresistible power pop melodies, and plenty of guitar.
Of particular note are the non-singles, which elevate Bleed American from merely good, to borderline classic status. Album closer “My Sundown” is a key track here, ending the album on an acoustic-led song that would become one of their most anthemic and beloved tracks – setting the stage for Futures‘ “23”.
Bleed American still manages to sound anthemic and huge two decades later. It’s an essential album for anyone who considers themselves fans of power pop, alt-rock, and pop-punk with huge choruses.