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Album Review

The massive success of Jimmy Eat World's 2001 Bleed American propelled the band into the mass-culture spotlight, with the hit single "The Middle" seemingly popping up in every third movie released and the group turning in an energized performance on Saturday Night Live. Many, many groups followed in their wake, crafting a similar blend of melodic, anguished punk-pop and leaving Jimmy Eat World in the position of crafting a follow-up that set them apart from their acolytes. Futures gets around this dilemma in two ways. First, with the help of producer Gil Norton, the band polishes its sound until it shines like a slick '70s arena rock record. The guitars are stacked like thick diamonds, the vocals are way out front and buttressed by sweet harmonies in the choruses, the drums sound large, and the mix is loaded with sweetening from acoustic guitars, keyboards, and female vocals. In the process, they sacrificed the immediacy of the previous record, but they gained an epic and weighty feel. Secondly, the lyrics are much darker and more mature, including themes that revolve around politics, drugs, and despair. The piano-and-feedback ballad "Drugs or Me" and the bittersweet love song "Night Drive" are the products of age and experience the band lacked until now. The best song on the record, the very Disintegration-era Cure-sounding "23," seems like it was recorded by a different group entirely. Some things have remained the same, however. Jim Adkins' vocals are as intense and heart-tugging as ever, and the band still writes hooks that will have you singing along before the song is half over. "Just Tonight," "Futures," and the AC/DC-sampling "Pain" are all trademark Jimmy Eat World punky pop/rockers with anthemic choruses, while "The World You Love" and "Work" display the sweetly melodic side of the band. There are a couple of stumbles (the decision to replace Petra Haden's charming vocals with Liz Phair's, the generic "Nothingwrong"), but they don't detract from the overall power of the record. Futures will most likely not be the sensation that Bleed American was — it is too dark and inwardly focused for that — but it shows a progression of sound and emotion that fans of the band should embrace.

Customer Reviews


1. Futures: The title track but not much beyond that. 7/10 2. Just Tonight: Sets up the rest of the album. The first great song on here. 10/10 3. Work: We've all seen the video on MTV. Great pop hit. 9/10 4. Kill: Starts out poorly but recovers, however gradually. 8/10 5. The World You Love: Long song about "a story that's almost finished." Starts off with the first synthesizers heard on the album. Decent but a little lengthy. 8/10 6. Pain: The first single and among their biggest hits. First highlight on the album but not the biggest (in my opinion). 10/10 7. Drugs or Me: Yes, that's a real string arrangement. Six and a half minutes of MASSIVE mediocrity. There's a reason nobody plays this on the radio. 6.5/10 8. Polaris: Hard to believe that this song was recorded in 2004. Sounds much older. Not particularly good. 7/10 9. Nothingwrong: Loudest song on album. Pretty good but still not it. 9/10 10. Night Drive: A song about *wink wink* Acoustic guitar and airy synthesizers fill out the better part of the song and near the end has a few well-placed "NA NA NA NA"'s. 9/10 11. 23: This is the big highlight. Very underrated and excluded from radio because of song length and the fact that a radio edit would ruin the core of the sad "it's all over and I'm sorry" epic. But some people know about it--my brother claims his roommate played it for him once. Unforgettable guitar riff and faux-strings. The absolute best part is the end where the rest of the band comes in (vocally). The only flaw: The track drags out at the end for almost 20 seconds so it can have a length of exactly 7:23 (emphasis on the "23"). One could almost buy the whole album for this song. BUY THIS CD NOW!!!!!

The Best $10 I Have Ever Spent.

The title really says it all, especially since 8 balls cost $10. The only song I really have a problem with is Futures. For a title track, it really is weak. Luckily, it's at the begining, and doesn't distract us from the rest of the album. From song "Just Tonight" to "23" you see an obvious relationship. While in other albums, the songs sounding the same might be a minus, in this album it's a plus. They all blend together, and tell a story almost. You will find it hard to pick out one favourite, but instead, love the album as a whole, which more musicians should be doing. Two words can describe what you need to do with this album: Buy it.

One of the Best

Futures is quite possibly the best album Jimmy Eat World has released since Clarity (given there was only one in between, but Bleed American was a bit of a let down). This album has one of those features that you can listen to it no matter what kind of mood you're in. Futures: 7/10. Meh. I never really liked it that much. It seems overdone to me. Still, it's a great song to sing to while driving. Just Tonight: 8/10. Another song that's great to sing while driving. One of the faster, more energetic songs on the album. Probably could have been a single, but whatever. Work: 9/10. One of the singles off the new album, with an excellent music video being played all over MTV. One of the better songs on the album. Kill: 9/10. Some people don't like this song, for whatever reason. I always felt that the raw emotion that goes into this song (especially the end) makes it absolutely fantastic. The World You Love: 7/10. A little long, for what is actually said in this song, still though, it seems like the kind of song that should be played during the slideshow of my life. Pain: 6/10. Ugh. This has thusfar been the most popular single off the album. I have no idea why, it's absolutely horrid. Seems like Jim just wanted a song that he could scream a whole lot in. Drugs or Me. 9/10. One of the best songs on the album. Heartfelt and potent, it really shows how drugs can ruin everyone's lives. Polaris: 8/10. Perhaps one of the more forgetable songs on the album, this is another one of those songs that's so great to either drive to (at night) or fall asleep to. Nothing Wrong: 7/10. This song is 100% mediocre. Nothing more to say. Night Drive: 9/10. Leading into the grand finale, 23, this song is absolutely brilliant. Needless to say, this is indeed another great song to drive to. As a matter of fact, this whole album is really good to drive to. 23: 23/10. Yes, I did that on purpose. This song is quite possibly the most beautiful piece of music ever to grace my ears. It's right up there with masterpieces like Weezer's Only in Dreams and Something Corporate's Konstantine (which saddly isn't on iTunes). If you buy one song off this album, let it be this one. It completes it. An excellent closer.


Formed: 1994 in Mesa, AZ

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Once a trailblazing name in the mid-'90s emocore scene, Jimmy Eat World eventually found a larger audience by embracing a blend of alternative rock and power pop that targeted the heart as well as the head. The band's influence widened considerably with 1999's Clarity -- an album that has since emerged as a landmark of the emo genre -- it was the band's follow-up (specifically the infectious single "The Middle") that crowned them as major figures in commercial rock. The emo label proved difficult...
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