Most people met Jimmy Eat World in 2001, when their single "The Middle"--off the album Bleed American, which was renamed after 9/11--peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The track's sweat-glistened, make-out-panty-party music video garnered frequent squeals on MTV's Total Request Live. But before the band broke into the mainstream, they were a mainstay in the second-wave emo scene.
While Jimmy Eat World's punk-tinged second album, Static Prevails, garnered the group a faithful following, it was 1999's layered, expansive Clarity that solidified its spot on the tear-stained cheeks of emo kids everywhere. From the twinkling refrain of "Can you still feel the butterflies" on "For Me This is Heaven" to the 16-minute deconstructed fade-out of "Goodbye Sky Harbor," Clarity became a cult classic, prompting Blender to say it "established a foundation for 21st century emo."