Single Review: Jimmy Eat World “The Middle”

The Middle
Album: Jimmy Eat World (aka Bleed American)
Year: 2001

Lead singer Jim Adkins restores an adolescent girl’s confidence in the bubbly and sincere “The Middle.”

He tells her that’s it the end of the world she doesn’t fit in and that she’s being self-concienous. He encourages to join a club, talk to someone while in the lunch line, or sit with someone new at lunch. She has to not to pay attention to what people think about themselves or her. (“Hey, don’t write yourself off yet/It’s only in your head you feel left out or/looked down on/Just try your best, try everything you can/And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away”).

In the chorus, he continues to say that she’s in a transitional phase right now in her life. Eventually, everything will work itself out and she will be comfortable inside her own skin soon enough. (“it just takes some time, little girl you’re in the middle, it’ll up the ride/Everything will be just fine, everything will be alright”).

He tells her that the people in her class are going through the same emotions she is. He doesn’t want her to try to be popular or buy the latest fashions to become friends with her classmates. She needs to learn about herself and discover what she likes on her own. If other people don’t like it, it’s their loss. (“Hey, you know they’re all the same/You know you’re doing better on your own, so don’t buy in/Live right now/Yeah, just be yourself/It doesn’t matter if it’s good enough for someone else”).

The third verse repeats it most of the first part of the single (“Hey, don’t write yourself off yet….Just do your best, do everything you can”). Only the last lyric is different. He tells her not to care what her already jaded classmates think. (“And don’t you worry what the bitter hearts are gonna say”). However, the repetition of the lyrics works extremely well. It serves as a bookend the song and not a reason to drag it longer. The chorus then ends the song.

Some of the best songs are the shortest. “The Middle”clocks in at only 2:48. The single is tightly paced — from the guitar intro to the final “it’s all right.” There isn’t any unnecessary feedback, the bridge is nonexistent (and not even needed), and the chorus is brief. It’s the perfect pop song.

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