October 28, 2004

Jimmy Eat World: Futures

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Jimmy Eat World is absolutely one of the worst band names ever. That’s beside the point, people tend to focus on the music artists create rather than their lack of creativity in selecting a band name. The group is a mainstream rock band from Arizona that has been around since the mid-’90s, as if it were so long ago, but these guys have been in the business for a while. Before you start to create an impression of their sound, keep in mind that JEW is full of different styles heard on almost all of their albums, including their newest work of art, Futures. The album is their fifth full-length release — they broke through onto the scene with 1999’s Clarity and later confirmed their rock star status with 2001’s Bleed American, later titled Jimmy Eat World after September 11. Bleed American sold over 1.3 million copies and yielded a few singles, including the extremely catchy “A Praise Chorus,” “The Sweetness” and the MTV hit “The Middle.” If you’re looking for similar type of stuff, do not buy this album. Futures shows how this alternative emo-pop punk band has evolved, from being a predictable, punkish band to a mature sounding quartet that have proven themselves once again. The newfound maturity and style on Futures may be attributable to producer Gil Norton, who has worked with big names such as The Pixies, The Foo Fighters and Dashboard Confessional.

In the Clarity and Bleed American era JEW quickly gained an emo label that went hand-in-hand with their lovey-dovey lyrics. Although the lyrics on the new album would be, by definition, emo; the sound of Futures is purely pop. However, there are occasional hints of the older, riff-happy alternative material heard on “Just Tonight” and “Nothing Wrong.” Most of the tracks delve into lead singer Jim Adkins’ swinging moods. The sincere piano driven ballad “Drugs or Me” is evidence of why they were once plastered with the “heart on my sleeve” emo badge. Adkins sings, “Stay with me / You’re the one I need / You make the hardest things seem easy.” The emotional mood carries over into the next track, “Polaris,” as Adkins whispers to a thunderous bass line bouncing along with U2-like guitars. The title track is purely political and takes a jab at the Bush administration, as Adkins sings, “I hope for better in November.” The first single, “Pain,” is currently slamming the airwaves but doesn’t belong with the other masterpieces on the album. “Work” would have been a much better single as Liz Phair’s background vocals make a nice addition to the precision of Adkins croon and guitarist Tom Linton’s creative tempos. The album closer, “23,” is damn near perfect in every way. So, the big lesson for the day, listen to Futures, you won’t regret it.

4 Stars

Archived article by Adrian Prieto
Sun Staff Writer