Review Summary: A great followup that expands upon everything that JEW did well on Bleed American.
Bleed American was a fantastic mainstream success for JEW and a follow-up to an album like that is often difficult to execute. Needless to say, JEW certainly released a worthy successor to Bleed American. Not only does it expand upon their newly adopted style at the time, they make it better. Songs like Pain, Drugs or Me, and 23 are the masterful songs on the record that truly make that album shine. Although this is an excellent album, it is not completely devoid of its flaws.
First of all, the flaws on the album pertain to some bland lyrics and some boring songs. The bland lyrics are apparent in Kill. This song sounds like it sound have been in every single teen drama show or at least the theme of one of them. The singer talks about a relationship that was built up too quickly. Not a bad song by any means, but it is the worst song on the album. The lyrics are extremely relatable, but the music does not move me to the point of actually feeling for what the person went through in the song. The same can be said for Night Drive. It talks about making love, but there seems to be drugs in the mix too. Work is not as weak as Kill or Night Drive, but it is not one of my favorites on this album. Although, there is no denying that the guitar work on Work is extremely catchy. All of that aside, this does not make the songs bad in any way. They just do not stand out to me.
Every other song on this album is fantastic and the best two songs on the album is 23 and Drugs Or Me. Drugs Or Me is an undeniably sad song and its title says it all. Fantastic vocals are accompanied by somber, but beautiful guitar and piano. It is one of the slowest songs on the album. The other song is 23. The music is what makes this song truly stand tall over the rest. It is my personal favorite on the album and it utilizes simple yet remarkably effective guitar work throughout and Jim Adkins vocals and appropriate lyrics about making your own ending to your life. "You'll sit alone forever if you want for the right time. What are you hoping for? I'm here and now I'm ready, holding on tight. Don't give away the end: the one thing that stays mine." Adkins sings with just the right amount of emotion on 23 just like every song on the album. His vocals are fantastic.
Futures and Just Tonight are some of the heaviest songs on Futures and Futures is an awesome choice for an opener. Just Tonight is great because the guitar is catchy as hell and the drumming is fantastic. Tom Linton on guitar and Zach Lind on drums shine on Just Tonight and Rick Burch on bass as well. Pain is easily the heaviest song and it is surprisingly the album's lead single. Considering its dark lyrics about drugs and heavy nature it is an odd choice. The song is still on of the best off the album nonetheless. NothingWrong is heavy, but does not have the same edge that Pain has. The World You Love is seemingly upbeat, but its lyrical themes are dark as well. The same goes for Polaris' lyrics.
After my first listen of Futures, I was very impressed. It is a surprisingly worthy followup to the great Bleed American. This album is not perfect, but the albums noticeable flaws are instantly forgivable. If you are interested in alternative rock with a little bit of emo thrown in there, this album is for you.
Tracks I recommend:
-Drugs Or Me