Funny how Jimmy Eat World's most famous song is called "The Middle," given it was released in 2001, landing almost exactly smack dab in the middle of the Mesa, Arizona band's 20 year career.
At first listen, with its impossibly cheery lyrics, "The Middle" seemed like the work of either an inspirational Christian evangelist or that of a cynical postmodern ironist, but the song with its fuzzy guitars and upbeat hook is a perfect poppy confection that with its positive message could appeal to both the earnest and the mocking.
According to singer Jim Adkins in an interview with Alternative Press The Middle was written in response to an email a high school girl sent to the band despondent about not being punk enough to fit in at her high school. That explanation makes sense, but with lyrics like "Live right now/Yeah, just be yourself/It doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else," "The Middle" could also be the mantra for veteran musicians that had seen both the top of the charts and also experienced the lows of being dropped by a record label, knowing that the surest way to failure is by giving up.
Eight albums into their two decade journey, Jimmy Eat World's latest work, Damage, got up to number 14 on Billboard's 200 list earlier this year, showing there's still a place for angsty emo no matter how many of their songs might be about the glass being half full.
Jimmy Eat World with Flashlights. 7:30, Monday, December 9, at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $28.50. Visit cultureroom.net.