It just takes some time: Jimmy Eat World frontman reflects on 20 years of “The Middle”

Credit: Oliver Halfin

This Saturday, Jimmy Eat World‘s 2001 album Bleed American celebrates its 20th anniversary. The record spawned what would become the Arizona band’s signature song: “The Middle,” now a staple of the early 2000s pop-punk scene, and a favorite of the one-and-only Taylor Swift.

Reflecting on two decades of “The Middle,” frontman Jim Adkins tells ABC Audio that the song’s continued success and relevance feels “pretty nuts.”

“The fact that so long after that initially was released that people are still finding and connecting with it, I mean, it’s the biggest compliment ever, for a musician,” Adkins says. “It’s the highest compliment you can have. I just hope I’m doing right by appreciating it.”

The success of “The Middle” was especially surprising to Jimmy Eat World at that time, especially since it was such a no-hassle song to record.

“That song happened really quickly, without a lot of artistic suffering,” Adkins laughs. “It just seemed, like, ‘OK, yeah, what do we do here? Oh, we do this. Cool, that works. Great! Song’s done!’ Like, ‘It doesn’t need anymore. This is exactly what it should do. Here it is.'”

Twenty years later, Adkins says he’s still “always excited” to play “The Middle” in concert. In fact, the idea of getting sick of “The Middle” has never even crossed his mind.

“Let me break this down for you: Am I bummed out that something I wrote is connecting with thousands of people who are freaking out ’cause we’re playing it?” Adkins says.

“Tell me to stop if that ever happens,” he adds. “What are you doing with your life that you’re bummed out that so many people are freaking out over something you did? I don’t know. I love playing it.”

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