Jimmy Eat World
Futures


5.0
classic

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
November 26th, 2009 | 105 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: You'll sit alone forever, if you wait for the right time...

If you can pull yourself out from under the weight of your shock for just a second, there's an explanation for all this madness. You're blinded by the word 'classic' beside this 5 rating; you're blinded by how The Middle conquered high-school radio stations for half a decade; you're blinded by something. But that's sort of to be expected - I mean, pop-punk is a vilified genre at the best of time, but by 2004 the pretense that Jimmy Eat World were anything other than pop-rock was a shallow one. The riffs occasionally tend towards the heavier end of the spectrum; edges of their sound touch on a gritty or raw perspective, but there's no doubt where these songs are headed: the radio. Have you ever listened closely enough to Kill to pick up on the piano that accompanies its acoustic-guitar intro passage? On Futures, Jimmy Eat World aren't even trying to be punk. Or edgy. Or alternative. And that's why it's incredible.

Every second that Futures plays for is direct in its accessible, spirited approach and brilliantly executed. Vocalist Jim Adkins might possess the most recognisable tone in whole of rock music; sincere, always reflective, he swings between angry and broken like a teenager. Hey, look; there's your audience: overly romantic teenagers with a love for melody and one-liners. Even if you're not one any more, you used to be, and parts of Futures hit home whoever they're talking to: Work's "Don't think we're not serious / When's it ever not?" will leave a hollow sentiment in the stomach of anybody that's ever been a bit scared of love. Polaris, meanwhile, tells the story of lovers torn apart at the seams by distance and long-distance journeys. And the record's closer, the frankly sublime 23, is heartbreaking in the way it narrates every facet of growing up, from regret to risk-taking.

But the lyricism's only a small part of it; every face that Futures shows is just as effective and touching. Drugs Or Me fades out amid static and a light, high-pitched piano that totally evokes the hopelessness that the song describes; oftentimes, electric guitars sit alongside acoustic ones, pristinely produced with a soft, atmospheric finish that renders every second a little bit more epic than it would otherwise be. Rick Burch's bass and Zach Lind's drums are basically the reason why Futures as a whole transcends the usual limits of pop-rock. Mid-tempo tracks like Polaris would drag tediously were it not for Lind's creativity and the bridge's audible bassline, and on the louder tracks like Pain and Nothingwrong they fuse with the upbeat, slightly dark guitars to drive momentum through every single passage. There's not a moment here that passes by lazily; whether it's the stomping politics of the title-track, the heartfelt balladry of Kill, or the insane climax-construction that is 23, there isn't a moment without something to keep you hooked.

Ah - 23. Perfectly placed and irreplacable, it suffices in qualitative analysis to say that if the closing track to Futures fails to affect you then there's something very wrong with your soul. Standing proud at over 7 minutes, it's a song which takes its time, building through numerous transitions before the vocals kick in after over a minute and a half. Swirling guitars and tension-packed basslines guide Adkins on his honest self-reflection, which borders on self-loathing and hits home incredibly hard. With an unpredictable structure which drops where you'd expect it to peak and maintains its suspense right through to a powerful crescendo, 23 is the most blatant proof available that Jimmy Eat World are masters of pop-rock songwriting, evoking a genuine emotional response and at the same time penning unforgettable hooks and melodies with every tool available.

Honesty and passion are the cornerstones of Futures, a record which takes everything a maligned genre has to offer and maxes it out with astounding results. Gut-wrenching guitar lines, rhythmic releases and poignant songwriting are not even consistent; they're constant. Every corner has something to smile about. As Adkins says in the sublime Kill, "You kill me; you always know the perfect thing to say." Musically, vocally, structurally, that just about sums it up; Futures is an album that simply gets it right once, then twice, then non-stop for 50 whole minutes. If you like pop-rock, and you haven't heard this album, you have absolutely no idea what you're missing.



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user ratings (1139)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
November 26th 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

easiest review to write ever

not liking this album makes you a douche about music

Romulus
November 26th 2009


8447 Comments


Great review I want this now

Roach
November 26th 2009


2148 Comments


I love The Middle not gonna lie but I've never checked anything out by this band apart from one listen to one of their albums a long time ago which I can remember nothing of

jingledeath
November 26th 2009


7104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is probably my favorite from these guys

qwe3
November 26th 2009


21369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah this rules. JEW rules in general. love their take on pop-punk

Kiran
Emeritus
November 26th 2009


6002 Comments


from what i've heard of jimmy eat world they've been alright but to be fair i've only got bleed american and the latest one and it seems like their earlier ones are the best



Digging: Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson

qwe3
November 26th 2009


21369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nah man this is their best i'd say. have you heard this?

Kiran
Emeritus
November 26th 2009


6002 Comments


no sir but i might go about illegally acquiring it if i can drag myself off my recent hipster glo-fi kick

qwe3
November 26th 2009


21369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

glo-fi? haven't even heard of that haha youre too indie for me kir.

i highly recommend this

PanasonicYouth
November 26th 2009


7412 Comments


as do i
it's great

Masochist
November 26th 2009


8083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this, definitely my favorite from this band. Hearing this the entire way through for the first time was an experience. Excellent review, Strikey!

Kiran
Emeritus
November 26th 2009


6002 Comments


lol qwe, its just a new 'trendy' genre that artists like memory tapes, washed out, neon indian, toro y moi, small black, etc have emerged with. most of it sucks but occasionally you get some really good stuff. ill shoutbox you a song!

and yeah, i reckon ill give this a go.

qwe3
November 26th 2009


21369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

alright man thanks, i'll look into it!

rasputin
November 26th 2009


14555 Comments


not liking this album makes you a douche about music

thinking this is a classic makes you a strikey

(that's not a good thing)

Knott-
Emeritus
November 26th 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

the fact you managed to take your elitist head out of your own ass and give a pop-rock album a positive rating is all the evidence i need that this is a fucking excellent record

KILL
November 26th 2009


72131 Comments


remember these guys man back in the day

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

EVedder27
November 26th 2009


6088 Comments


This review makes me want to listen to my Bleed American cd that I haven't touched in over 5 years.

qwe3
November 26th 2009


21369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

SALT SWEAT

VicariousIntent
November 26th 2009


1597 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've been on a real Jimmy Eat World binge lately, so seeing this review made me grin.
It's really an incredible record, filled so many good songs it's almost absurd. The album's first and last tracks are what really sell it for me. They're both among my favorite songs, but 23 is so good you could practically write an entire review on it alone.

qwe3
November 26th 2009


21369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^ should actually read

SUGAR ON THE ASPHALT



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