Criminal Energy

Album: Surviving (2019)


  • "Criminal energy" is an expression Jimmy Eat World frontman Jim Adkins first heard while walking around in Germany. It is used to describe a moral sickness.
  • The song was inspired by the Donald Trump rallies during the run-up to the 2016 elections. It finds Jim Adkins reflecting on how Trump was able to tap into people's feelings of disenfranchisement.

    You captivated hearts
    Waiting for a spark
    No one you care to recognize
    Suddenly in control

    According to Adkins, many of Trump's supporters became the very thing they hate in other people. Said the singer to Kerrang: "Here's this guy who is pretty much the opposite on every major bullet-point that you guys have, but for some reason he just pushes the right buttons to get people to be fearful and angry. And so the idea of all these people who normally would rail against him kind of becoming that thing that they hate. And gleefully, out of fear and anger, basically."
  • Adkins further wrestles on Trump's manipulation of voters during an interview with NME. "People might become shocked at who they become, frothing at the mouth at Trump rallies," he said. "No one escapes the capacity to do wrong. That's what happens when your buttons are being pushed with fear and anger. That's a mainline that gives your lesser self fuel to thrive."


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

James Bond Theme Songs

James Bond Theme SongsMusic Quiz

How well do you know the 007 theme songs?

Zac Hanson

Zac HansonSongwriter Interviews

Zac tells the story of Hanson's massive hit "MMMbop," and talks about how brotherly bonds effect their music.

Women Who Rock

Women Who RockSong Writing

Evelyn McDonnell, editor of the book Women Who Rock, on why the Supremes are just as important as Bob Dylan.

Colbie Caillat

Colbie CaillatSongwriter Interviews

Since emerging from MySpace with her hit "Bubbly," Colbie has become a top songwriter, even crafting a hit with Taylor Swift.

When Rock Belonged To Michelob

When Rock Belonged To MichelobSong Writing

Michelob commercials generated hits for Eric Clapton, Genesis and Steve Winwood in the '80s, even as some of these rockers were fighting alcoholism.

Jesus In Pop Hits: The Gospel Songs That Went Mainstream

Jesus In Pop Hits: The Gospel Songs That Went MainstreamSong Writing

These overtly religious songs crossed over to the pop charts, despite resistance from fans, and in many cases, churches.