The Middle

Album: Bleed American (2001)
Charted: 26 5


  • This is about fitting in, and how you don't have to be the same as other people to be popular. In an interview with NME, Jim Adkins remembered reading an email from a young fan who wrote that she didn't fit in with the punk crowd at school because she "wasn't punk enough for them." He explained: "The tenet of the punk ideal - or, you know, the alternative, outside-the-mainstream, kind of ideal - is that you think yourself being more accepting ... I guess that tune was kind of a reaction to that, like you don't want to be friends with them anyway."
  • This was the breakout hit for Jimmy Eat World, who released their first album in 1994. The song climbed to #1 on the Modern Rock chart in 2001 and made #5 on the Hot 100 in the summer of 2002. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • The song's music video was a three-minute coming-of-age flick directed by Paul Fedor. It features a fresh-faced, fully clothed teenage boy played by Josh Keleher, who attends a cool house party at which Jimmy Eat World are playing. The shindig is "clothing optional" and everyone, except the band, are in their underwear.

    The clip received plenty of play on MTV, especially on Total Request Live. Frontman Jim Adkins recalled to Billboard magazine in 2013 that the clip's concept was pretty much Fedor's. "It was a leap of trust to work with him," he added, "because it could've ended up... He tastefully told the story a little bit on the edge. But it could've gone really bad. We just had to trust him and it worked out."
  • For a long time, frontman Jim Adkins thought this song was too simple to take seriously. He told NME: "There's definitely a stigma, I think, when you're working that if something is too easy, it's not earned, you know... you develop your idea quickly, it's not earned. So I thought 'Middle' was kind of not as good as some of the other songs because I hadn't like sweat over it so much. But I mean you gotta - sometimes you gotta let that go and be cool with it."
  • Everyone had a good time making this song, including one guy who was enjoying himself a little too much. Adkins laughed: "He was having a hard time in the heat hanging out with a bunch of scantily clad ladies."
  • Drummer Zach Lind credits the album's producer, Mark Trombino, for honoring the simplicity of the song while finding ways to make it interesting. He told NME: "He was really great at like finding these cool, little sort of sonic textures to put in different places. It might not have the same kind of movement from one part to the next if you don't have those subtle things in there."
  • This was one of Taylor Swift's favorite songs when she was growing up. "I felt comforted by it, because I never felt like I really fit perfectly into any clique at school," she told Rolling Stone.

    Swift finally got a chance to rock out the tune for a 2016 "Every Song for Every Moment" Apple Music commercial promoting their playlists feature. Using a lip gloss brush as her mic, the songstress brings out her inner rock star.
  • In a 2017 Songfacts interview, Jim Adkins said that he still heard from people who connect with this song. "I think the number one compliment for a musician is when anybody bothers to take the time to sit with your work and really make the emotional investment to make it theirs," he said. "And the fact that a song like 'The Middle,' something that's over 15 years old now, is still connecting with people and still finding an audience, it's a mind-blowing compliment."

Comments: 27

  • Ryan from Anahola, HiThis song is on Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero: World Tour.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnThe band's most successful song but it's my least favorite. The rest of their songs are electrifying.
  • Shannon from Kalkaka, MiThis song was Jimmy Eat World's way of telling a record company that they didn't need them and telling themselves that they were better off on their own I do belive. I love this song, it's great!
  • Logan from Stephenville,What I get from the song is the life of a teen and how much of a struggle it can be sometimes. As many others have agreed on, I do think that "be yourself" is represented by this song. The lyrics are basically about a girl who is having trouble being a teen and trying to fit in, while Jimmy Eat World is telling her it's all okay. I especially like "Your in the middle of the ride" because it represents that it won't last forever.
  • Mary from Phoenix, AzI have this song on my cellphone as the ringtone for my teenage daughter. I dedicated this to her when she was going through a rough time with peer pressure. She's really starting to figure out who she is and what she wants to do. She's still "In the Middle of the ride", but it's starting to get a lot better.
  • Zach from Buckeye, AzCasie... i feel your pain. Ive been new in school a total of 9 times and im only 15. All nine were in the period of 4 years and it sucked. the worst was when i was in italy and nobody liked me just because i was different. Now im going through it again and im in the states just to close to mexico for my own good. Also, long ago, i fell in love with a girl named Elizabeth and she was my dream woman, right when i finnaly built up the guts to ask her out (i was 11 btw), i had to move. And then the day i left i hugged her and she wispered in my ear that she loved me and was ready to break down about me leaving and that just made me sadder than anyone because the woman i rly liked, liked me back and i had to move out of california (thats where it was btw) and to italy. :( I feel your pain and i think ur totally right. And on top of that my dad hates me so it sucks even more!

    I absolutely love this song cause when i moved here to buckeye i heard that song and i said, thats the story of my life in short.
  • Sarah from La, Caokay song. I loved it when I was 12...16 now
  • Susan from Tampa, Flgrunge = dead is a poser, I bet they are wrong about music A LOT!!!!!
  • Kevin from Blenheim, CanadaHey Grunge=Dead, try being a little less stuck up and cocky next time. "for all those stupid people out there" mabey know what your talking about before chirping.-->Eye of the Tiger is done by and band called Survivor. Not Journey.
  • Luke from Manchester, Englandlabel
  • Luke from Manchester, England"punker" and "rebel" aren't things you can lebel yourself as like you can put a jacket on... a rebel is someone who breaks rules because he/se believes they need to be broken and believes they know WHY... not just because they want to smash a window.;..
  • Josh from TorontoJEW rocks ;p and I'm Jewish :D (not only Jewish but Jimmy Eat Worldish)
    I always used to think

    It just takes some time.
    Little girl, you're in the middle of the ride.
    Everything, everything will be just fine.
    Everything, everything will be alright, alright.


    It just takes some time
    In the middle, out the middle, through the right
    Whatever, Whatever
    It'sa gonna be all right, all right
  • Declan from Liverpoollol at grunge=dead
    Don't talk down to people when your not even right yourself.
    Jimmy eat world hardcore......??? we listening to the same band here

    hmm I saw the song about when you first start meeting people n stuff and the pressure around gettin to grips with it all.
    The video kinda implied that as well.
    Still I probably just saw it that way as it was more relative at the time to me :D
  • Nate from Pwgrunge=dead guy just so you know the band your talking about is called "Journey" not "The Journey" and while you got "Don't stop believin" right they dont sing "eye of the tiger" that is a song by Survivor
  • Stacey from Someplace, Australiai had to really listen to understand them esspecially little girl in the middle but im glad i did also whose chloe??? and jimmy eat world rox my sox
  • Amber from Birmingham, Althis song can make me know that even the worst times of my life will get better. that no matter what everything will be ok.
  • Michelle from Anaheim, CaTo the person below-grunge=dead, nowhereville, CA-Journey sings "Don't stop believing," but it's Survivor that sings "Eye of the Tiger."
    I like this song, it makes me smile & helps motivate/cheer me up.
  • Grunge=dead from Nowhereville, CaKind of cool, for the stereotypical wannabe punks out there, lol. Well I saw Jimmy Eat World open for Green Day they're a pretty good band. I don't know about u, but I get an anxious/sad vibe about this song. Sometimes Jimmy Eat World can have weird positive messages like, for this song, basically the meaning is to be yourself dispite what everyone else says, but they kind of sound like a hard core journey. (for any of you idiots out there the journey is the band that sings weird self-motivating songs like, "don't stop believing," and eye of the tiger,) Whatever, I like some songs but i am not serious about this band, like I am with The Beatles, The Clash, or Nirvana. Love Killed Cobain, (just in case you wanted to know.)
  • Sara from Quinton, OkFirst, I love the video, I remember almost rolling on the floor laughing so hard. Second, this song appears on the album I'm working on for my gradating class; the lyrics really work for a senior class, v. relatable: "Just try your best/Try eveyrthing you can/And don't worry what they tell themselves/When you're away" your life for you...that kind of thing. WHS SR 06!!! GO DIGGERS!!!
  • Todd from Denver, CoMy daughter was three when this song came out & she loved it, she actually knew most of the words. Pretty simple music, but catchy riff and a good song.
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InThis song introduced me to these guys, but I heard it before it was getting heavy radio rotation & I bought the CD and before long everyone was listening to them. I really despise that in a way. I discover new bands before they hit big and then I usually stop listening to them. This is a killer tune though.
  • Charlotte from Kansas City, Mothis song is amazing. it's ture because no matter what people will talk and i used to care but not anymore i'm me and if they don't like it i don't care at all.
  • Casie from Denver, CoIt really helped me. I just moved to the Philippines. I use to be this girl that was a punker ,rebel whatever. I got what I want. I had so many friends,i was the girl that was different to all and the only one that everyone actually lied to hang with because I was adventurist. Weird thing to be a punker is that I got good grades. I fell in love,i felt it so much,it hurt. We started to be bfs and in the middle i had to move. Now im here sacrifising the new enviorment and different language. I got good grades that now i dont,i get the worst grades. Ppl are saying things behind my back cause im the new girl,i had tons of friends and now i dont even have one. Im trying my best to get good grades in this new place and i cry everyday about my sucky life. Well this song makes me feel like it doesnt matter who i am or where am i because i can do it. With or without friends i can be myself and learn. I heard this song and i was like,ok woaw,this is freaking my out because it totally describes me,its like someone made it for me cause everyone keeps on telling me it just takes time little girl to get use to the enviorment. I was so happy when i heard it. It inspired me so im thankful and im really still in the middle of the ride. My fav quot It just takes some time, little girl you're in the middle of the
    ride. If u are interested in my life add me or email me at or
  • Useless from Berlin, GermanyIt helped me through my dark bits through my life.
    just like chloe i was alone i had no friends but the song cheered me up.
  • Michael from Chichester, EnglandThe bit where it says "Live right now, and just be yourself. It doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else." Sort of says for me be who you want to be and not something someone else wants you to be. Chloe is right about fitting in and stuff, i didnt when i started secondary school. No one like because of who i was, a boy who like Blink 182 and Jimmy Eat World. Then i heard this song and my life pulled its way around and i met someone who i really, really, really like, like in the video, made new friends who i have stuck with. Cheers
  • Chloe from Hampshire, EnglandThis song helped alot when I was going through a rough patch in my life. I felt alone and like I wasn't being accepted because I wasn't exactly the same as everyone. It was like the person I was and what I wore, liked and did wasn't good enough for others, even my friends. The line "Live right now, and just be yourself. It doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else" is my lifeline. Thanks alot.
  • Katie from Prince George, CanadaI like the music video, becuase it completely works with the lyrics (unlike some songs) because the 2 teenagers realized at the same time that the whole idea of an underwear party was stupid, and end up leaving together - fully clothed of course, because they didnt care if they didn't 'fit in'
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