I remember "getting" the album this track was on, and I guess I should say "Thanks Napster" or LimeWire or whatever was being used back in 2001. I remember it was a time when I made an effort with acquired albums, printing out artwork and everything. That fact sticks in my mind mainly because the album was called "Bleed American" and was renamed to "Jimmy Eat World" after 9/11, but I stuck with the Bleed American title.
The tracks on here were typical of an era, straight up, simple, new modern punk. The highest points of Greenday's early career were passed (though further commercial success beckoned) and the likes of Sum 41 were hot on the heels of the popular success of bands like The Offspring and blink 182, or at least that's how it seems. I could well consult a timeline and find my memory woefully inaccurate!
Jimmy Eat World were not too far away from all this in musical styling but given that the band are one of the forerunners for being described as emo then you can imagine they weren't quite as fun lyrically as some of the others.
The album burst forth with a big hit for the band with "the middle" and I can't be sure if that was the track that prompted me to give the album a listen but it most likely was.
I'm also not sure why "if you don't, don't" jumped out at me so much either, I guess partly because it always formed such vivid imaginings in my head that stick with me,
"We once walked out on the beachAnd once I almost touched your hand
Oh how I dreamed to finally say such things
Then only to pretend"
Set across a swirling guitar that was a typical sound on the album the track just clicked with me, like many others on the album. As with any great album I can still listen to it now with the memories of the time and yet still listen to it and enjoy in the here and now as well.