Guys, next time you dream that insecurity cliché about showing up for school in your underwear, fret not. Take a cue from Jimmy Eat World and roam the halls awhile you just might find the girl of your dreams looking equally confused and embarrassed her skivvies.
The video for "The Middle," the band's rocking self-assured single from their Bleed American LP, depicts a similar scenario, wherein a guy feels out of place carousing a party where all the attendees are clad only in their barest essentials until he meets a girl who's also fully dressed. The moral of the clip is in line with the song's overriding message to "just be yourself/ It doesn't matter if that's good enough for someone else" or even the old motherly adage "just because everyone else jumps off a bridge doesn't mean you have to, too."
"['The Middle'] is really about just being patient, having perseverance," drummer Zach Lind said. "And in the video, the main character is a young man who is put in a situation where he has to persevere in his surroundings. Even though he's clothed and people are in their underwear, he finds someone else, another girl, who has clothes on, and they feel a comfort level with each other. ... So, in a way, it's really like persevering through or just kind of waiting out a bad time for the better times."
"It's basically about sticking to your guns when everyone else is making fun of you," singer/guitarist Jim Adkins added.
Bleed American, the Mesa, Arizona, quartet's fourth album and the follow-up to 1999's Clarity, is their most successful to date, selling more than 173,000 copies, according to SoundScan, while spawning two mainstream singles, "The Middle" and "Bleed American." The numbers aren't bad for a band that developed its emo-core fanbase via relentless touring and equally unyielding rock nuggets. And success has not only equipped the band with a higher paycheck, but a perfect explanation to give the first underground detractor who cries, "sell out."
"Album sales are definitely a big deal to the band because it shows how the fanbase is growing," Lind said. "[If you're] doing anything creative, you want more and more people to enjoy what you do. And really, [sales] are just a black and white projection of how well you're doing. And [we notice] at live shows, it's not just one song people like, but they're liking the range of songs. So it's comforting as a band [to know that] when you record a record, and you put a lot of work into it, people enjoy it and tell their friends [about it], and they enjoy it and so on and so on."