Jimmy Eat World – Surviving: Do you want the work more than the reward?

Artist: Jimmy Eat World
Album: Surviving
Year: 2019
Grade: B

In Brief: The sound of this album may be straightforward and reinvent zero wheels for Jimmy Eat World, but I can’t argue with the results. They’ve recommitted themselves to being loud, passionate, and unapologetically catchy, with a little room on the side for the occasional ballad or experimental track, and a handful of songs near the end that definitely go the extra mile in terms of delivering the rawk. It’s a strong album in a day and age where solid, straight-ahead rock records are getting harder and harder to come by.

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Calexico – The Thread that Keeps Us: Love in the Age of the Extremes

2018_Calexico_TheThreadThatKeepsUs

Artist: Calexico
Album: The Thread that Keeps Us
Year: 2018
Grade: B+

In Brief: What this album lacks in special guests, it makes up for with its slightly more aggressive and exploratory sound. Calexico still balances their dusky desert folk, indie rock, Latin, and jazz influences pretty well, with this album coming out a little stronger on the “rock” side of the spectrum, but not alarmingly so. It’s a welcome change after the sleepier vibe of their last few records.

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Jimmy Eat World – Integrity Blues: It’s what you do when no one cares.

2016_jimmyeatworld_integrityblues

Artist: Jimmy Eat World
Album: Integrity Blues
Year: 2016
Grade: B+

In Brief: Put quite simply, a strong pop/rock record with confident hooks and melodies, and intriguing, often heartfelt lyrics. Unlike their last few albums, it doesn’t need to prove that it’s in any way raw, experimental, or revolutionary. It’s simply Jimmy Eat World doing what they do best, and it’s the best they’ve done since Futures.

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Calexico – Edge of the Sun: I’m not from here, I’m not from there.

2015_Calexico_EdgeoftheSun

Artist: Calexico
Album: Edge of the Sun
Year: 2015
Grade: B

In Brief: As always, I enjoy the Latin music influence and the “desert noir” style. The numerous guest appearances make this one feel like a real community effort. But there’s still the pesky problem of too many “just OK” songs in the track listing, compounded by the presence of easily superior material among the bonus tracks.

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Calexico – Algiers: Somewhere between Havana and New Orleans… and Tucson, and Cozumel, and Mexico City…

2012_Calexico_Algiers

Artist: Calexico
Album: Algiers
Year: 2012
Grade: B+

In Brief: Like an exotic city with an inherent distrust of foreigners, Algiers takes its time to let you in, but it’s an enchanting place once you get to know it.

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Calexico – Carried to Dust: Somewhere north of “South of the Border”

2008_Calexico_CarriedtoDust

Artist: Calexico
Album: Carried to Dust
Year: 2008
Grade: B

In Brief: It’s good “mellow road trip” music, if you’re not prone to falling asleep at the wheel. Unfortunately, the band seems to fall asleep at the wheel on a few tracks.

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