Criminal Energy

Album: Surviving (2019)

Songfacts®:

  • "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."

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