Disclaimer: I love Jimmy Eat World. Seriously. Whenever I make a list of all-time favorite bands, they're very close to the top, and whenever I make a list of all-time favorite albums, Clarity usually ranks No. 2, right behind Weezer's Pinkerton. However, I think the best fans are critical ones. Adulation breeds complacency. So with that, I gotta call bullshit on JEW's new single, "My Best Theory."
It's not that bad of a song at first glance; certainly not their best single (and it's nowhere near the best song off Invented, either—yes, I have it, and no, you can't have it until Sept. 28), but it's a solid modern-rock track that I wouldn't complain about if it came on the radio (of course, that would require me still listening to the radio). But then my brain started racing—I knew I had heard this melody somewhere before. I had to dig deep into the recesses of this ol' noggin, but then it came to me: The motherfucking Offspring's goddamned "Gone Away."
For the younger readers, the Offspring were once a relevant punk band. And in the mid-'90s, they were damn near inescapable when it came to radioplay, this single (from 1997's high-water mark Ixnay On The Hombre) especially. Hell, I'm sure this track still gets decent radio spins now, 13 years after its release. It's one of those songs that even if you haven't heard it in years, it still lives in your brain as an earworm, waiting to be risen from dormancy. And Jimmy Eat World's "My Best Theory" did just that. Seriously, listen to those two songs: You can practically sing the chorus of "Gone Away" over the chorus of "My Best Theory." The basslines are identical!
Maybe I'm being too nit-picky. There's a part of me, though, that likes finding otherwise unmade comparisons between songs. For example, I always thought the following two songs sounded remarkably alike, but I've never seen anyone point out the similarities:
Even funnier is that there was an Arcade Fire Live At MSG ad directly below this video on its YouTube page
Did Chris Carrabba bite his chorus from Win Butler? Probably not, but in my brain, the connection is rock-solid.
You want another? I'll give you another. How about when a band rips themselves off? Again, disclaimer: I love Alkaline Trio. Also always in my all-time favorite bands, also Goddamnit is usually No. 3 in my all-time favorite albums list. But there's really only so many things you can do with three chords, as evidenced by these two songs which sound awfully alike:
You can't really fault Matt Skiba for copying that riff from "Cooking Wine," considering it's one of the best songs he's ever written. I'll take 10 copies of that song over one "Draculina" any day, frankly.
So what obvious comparisons am I forgetting? Lemme hear 'em!