On their catchy 2007 single “Big Casino,” the Arizona-based band Jimmy Eat World takes a look at a small-time guy with larger-than-life dreams: “I’m the one who gets away/I’m a New Jersey success story/And they’ll say ‘Lord, give me a chance to shake that hand,’ ” sings frontman Jim Adkins in the song’s chorus.
Adkins isn’t talking about Bruce Springsteen or Jack Nicholson. The hero of “Big Casino” is an over-the-hill musician, talking to a younger musician — and trying to put a positive spin on things — while taking a break from his job at an Atlantic City casino. That success story stuff is the dream he still clings to. He’s not ready to give up (“There’s still some living left when your prime comes and goes”) and he earnestly tells his friend, “Rock on, young savior, don’t give up your hopes.”
“It’s kind of a loser anthem,” Adkins told Billboard in 2007. “It’s about a guy with unearned confidence whose assumption of worth is a protective front for total failure.”
“Big Casino” was the lead single from Jimmy Eat World’s 2007 Top 10 album, Chase This Light.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.
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