Old Favourites: Jimmy Eat World – “Work”

“All the best DJs are saving the slowest song for last…”

DISCLAIMER: Please forgive the length on this, but this is probably the most personal thing I have done on Y,WGAV!

I’m writing this ahead of schedule. At this moment, I am nineteen years old, but by the time you read this (hi if you’re reading this!) I will be twenty years old. I will have finally left my teenage years. My god, they were some rough times. I don’t think I could have not fit in more if I tried where I grew up. The boys were heterosexual. They drank alcohol with their mates on the weekend. They went surfing. They listened to skate punk. They could walk around without their shirts on.

Needless to say, that wasn’t me. I “came out” as a bisexual around the tenth grade, I never drank alcohol (still don’t), I hated sport, I listened to Death Cab for Cutie and R.E.M. I was an outsider, with only a few friends – in a way, I still feel like that. People know who I am, but only a few really know me. My teenage years were spent drowning myself in music, trying to understand who I am as a person, trying to understand everyone around me and wondering what might happen next.

This is why the video for Work, from Jimmy Eat World‘s 2004 album Futures, was so important to me. I remember watching this over and over after I recorded it, simply because it showed me one thing: I’m not alone. Even kids on the other side of the world in Madison West High School, where this was filmed, were going through the exact same problems as me. Love, hate, confusion, identity, truth, lies…this is just on a daily basis.Some kids know exactly where they’re going, but a lot are riddled with uncertainty. They don’t want to be the same person anymore, though, that much is clear from all of their stories – they want to progress and change as humans. Staying up all night and trashing things for the hell of it will always be fond in memory, but as school ends you need to start looking at the bigger picture.

People who think teenagers have it easy miss the point entirely. It’s not about wealth, it’s not about social status, it’s not about materialism. It’s about something much bigger than you or I – being a teenager is about decoding the human condition. Sometimes, you don’t realise it when you’re a teenager, but those years will unlock some of the greatest mysteries. I finish this blog entry as a nineteen year old writer, but who knows what will happen in my twenties? Whatever happens, I know I will have bands like Jimmy Eat World to remind me that I am not alone.


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