For all Jimmy Eat World fans patiently awaiting the band’s follow-up to 2001’s Bleed American, the stagnant years were well worth it. Futures, which the band calls “a sequel to Clarity,” its 1999 album, is comprised of 11 listen-worthy emo tracks that drip with the band’s angst-y charm.
The first single, “Pain,” races with a fast tempo courtesy of bassist Rick Burch and drummer Zach Lind’s staccato beats, much like their wildly popular Bleed American hit, “The Middle.” The subject matter, though, is darker than the band’s happy-go-lucky hit of yesteryear; lead singer Jim Adkins wails as if plagued by turmoil, “Anyone can see my every flaw / It isn’t hard / Anyone can say they’re above this all / It takes my pain away.”
“Work,” Jimmy Eat World’s latest single, includes the subtle cooing of Liz Phair, whose vocals perfectly complement Adkins’s desperate chorus. The lines “Can we take a ride? / Get out of this place while we still have time” make any listener yearn to escape the ho-hum frustration of everyday life.
Futures possesses depth beyond its crowd-pleasing singles; other outstanding tracks include the heart-wrenching “Kill,” which alludes to the emo-core Heatmiser song, “Half Right;” the upbeat “The World You Love,” as well as the optimistic disc-opener and namesake of the album, “Futures.”
The disc’s energy slows down at track eight with the depressed ballad “Drugs or Me,” which could use a little more subtlety in its title and lyrics. Nevertheless, the song’s gorgeous instrumental backing redeems its few shaky lines.
Futures is a testament to Jimmy Eat World’s emo-rock genius that has led it through a decade of quality music making. As the album’s title hints, if the band continues to follow its upward trend, Jimmy Eat World has quite a future ahead.
Hannah Bae can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.