Pop punk is a genre often regarded as being bland, unimaginative, and boring. People often confuse pop-punk with emo due to the hyping by MTV, Rolling Stone, and other various hype centers. Now, it seems as if every pop punk band is using the same catchy hooks to draw in hordes of young listeners and make as much money as possible. Rarely does a pop punk band come along that is really true to their music. Of course, the revolutionizing Green Day comes to mind, as does Blink 182. Another band slowly climbing the ranks of pop-punk stardom, Jimmy Eat World, makes catchy, fun music while still maintaining their originality and heart-felt enjoyment of music.
Futures is the 4th studio album from Jimmy Eat World. The band made a big hit off their album Bleed American with singles The Middle and Sweetness. With a fan base rapidly growing, Jimmy Eat World could have gone like so many others and made a rehashed album of their successful songs. However, Jimmy Eat World took the road less traveled and expanded upon their sound. The band shows a mastery of catchy hooks that make the songs on this album infest the listener's brain only at first listen. Coming back to the album, hidden little nuances that other pop-punk bands never show appear all over. The anthemic vocal harmonies often used by the band are nothing short of masterful. Jim Adkins sings excellently, having a fairly versatile range. No matter where he sings, there is no sense of straining for any notes. Meanwhile, he plays guitar along with Tom Linton, who certainly makes an able and good guitarist, able to play a lead part or solo when needed. Zach Lind knows exactly what the drummer's place is for pop punk and makes a great effort to stick to that and never overplay. The real letdown is Chris Burch, who rarely, if ever, plays anything but the roots. Pop punk bassists never play enough, and its sad to see a band with such potential be letdown by his bass playing.
The album opener brings intensity to the table immediately. Linton and Adkins harmonize on a guitar line while the bass and drums play a seemingly simple rhythm, but upon breaking it down, one will notice that is a bit more complicated than it seems, yet not too out there. The verse showcases vocals while the guitar faintly plays two chords and the bass and drums remain the same as before. A tremolo guitar part comes along for the prechorus, adding a driving sense to head straight into the chorus with a big accent. The chorus seems to enter a half-time only because the bass and drums do not accent any sixteenth notes. The chorus is extremely catchy, full of echoed vocals. The intro riff transitions from the chorus to the second verse. The second verse adds a layer of guitar above the original chords with harmonics transitioning from the two chords. After the second chorus, everything drops out except for a keyboard melody and acoustic guitar, playing along with each other and creating a rush of different melodies. This section has a much lighter feel as the keyboard melody is playing along a major scale. Palm muted guitars bring intensity back and transition back into the reprise of the chorus. The intro riff also serves as the outro.
Another standout, Kill, opens with acoustic guitar. Drums and bass enter, sadly showing Burch's best playing on the album because he isn't playing the roots, he makes a countermelody with the acoustic guitar. Jim's lyrics speak of falling in love too easily, saying he has always been "the easy kill." The verse and chorus fit together flawlessly. More echoed vocals add catchiness to the already catchy chorus. To transition to the second verse, everything drops out except the acoustic guitar, playing just as the intro did. The song goes just as the first verse and chorus went. The song enters a dreamy feel with faint strings in the bridge. The acoustic guitar plays a variation on the original melody while Jim sings with ahhs and echoes in the background. Drums pick up intensity and the last chorus arrives with altered lyrics. Acoustic guitar works as the outro.
The catchiest song off the album, Pain, was also the lead single and became a huge hit. Instantly recognizable by the rim shots from the drums, the song immediately heads into the verse with no intro. Simple palm muted guitar is the only instrumental melody at first. A full drum beat enters with the 2 and 4 accents using a handclap sound instead of a snare. The chorus enters with tons of intensity and multiple tracks of Jim's voice singing the chorus. The anthemic shouts of "It takes my pain away!" are incredibly catchy. The song goes by extremely fast, and the song never loses intensity. Following the second verse and chorus, the guitar takes a solo. The solo is fairly simple, accompanied with ahhed choral sounds. The song enters a third chorus, with the shouted lyrics repeating themselves. The song ends on extenuated guitar feedback.
Jimmy Eat World's formula works well and is fairly simple. Make heart-felt music and make it catchy. Many bands try to imitate this sound but fail; most noticeably because the singer makes up stories he/she can't relate to and resorts to cliches. Jimmy Eat World is a band that shines brightly above all the bad pop-punk the mainstream deals with, and hopefully will continue to do so.
[quote=]I know it's an awesome album... that's why I rated it a 4.[/quote]I was just stating my opinion, not telling 'you' what I thought.[quote=]It's still pop-punk, just not the faux-emo crap pop-punk. The genre doesn't have to mean it sucks.[/quote]Whoa, 'the genre doesn't have to mean it sucks'? I love pop punk music and this is alt. rock and pop rock, not pop punk at all.[quote=]Seriously, you can't possibly deny the well executed pop hooks and the punk energy of the band.[/quote]Yeah, there's quite a bit of pop hooks, but not punk energy. It has it's rock moments and then it's pop moments. Pop rock and then alt. rock.
I agree with Storm in A Teacup, this isn't pop-punk. Bleed American was pop-punk, Futures is sort of pop rock, alt. rock, and their early stuff was indie rockish. Also the bass player's name is Rich Burch. Good review otherwise, i agree with your rating.