Jimmy Eat World’s Futures was released ten years ago last week, and PropertyOfZack is launching our next Decade feature in honor of the album today! We have commentary on the album from POZ team members Brittany Oblak, Adrienne Fisher, Zack Zarrillo, and Deanna Chapman, so enjoy and reblog to let us know your thoughts on Futures ten years later!
How Futures holds up in 2014
Futures, in a way, is a greatest hits album for Jimmy Eat World. While technically it doesn’t have all their actual singles on it, it is the best display of what this band has to offer over the span of their career (thus far). There is not a single song on this album that falters in any way, despite switching producers halfway through and having to follow up to 2001’s larger-than-life Bleed American.
Futures transitions seamlessly between the lighter radio singles “Work” and “Futures” (which are still also phenomenally written) and the lyrical, poignant tracks like “Kill” and “23”, which bare so much of Jim Adkins soul, it’s admirable. Half of this album composes much of the soundtrack for the hit show One Tree Hill (which may be good or bad, depending who you ask) but in any case, that effectively widened their fan base and allowed a whole new generation to fall in love with Futures and the band.
To date, this album continues to be my most played by Jimmy Eat World (yes, even more than Clarity) and I don’t see that changing. This album is still better than about 80 percent of albums that have been released in the last ten years, and this album blends their ostensible knack for writing damn good radio rock with lyrics that never sell out just to get a “memorable hook” –and you know why? Because it doesn’t have to. Jimmy Eat World are truly legendary. They have bridged that gap between the underground and mainstream with Futures, and there really are not many who have or are capable of doing such. I don’t think there will be another album quite like this anytime soon and this album proves itself time and time again, even with the new generation of pop-rock bands on the forefront of alternative music. -Brittany Oblak
Most important song on the album
I always really liked this record as a whole, but even though it’s been out, about, and fairly present in my life for the last ten years, I never developed an intimate relationship with it. I liked and jammed all the singles regularly; it was always my go-to Jimmy record when I didn’t want to delve into the 90s emo despondency of Clarity or radio-familiarity of Bleed American/self-titled. I could easily talk about how “Futures” is the most brilliant and powerful album opener of all time, or how cheesily awesome it was when JEW performed “Work” on an episode of One Tree Hill that one time, but when the Futures ten-year tour got announced, all of my friends had one song they zeroed in on needing to hear: “23.” And after spending a few, intimate listens with it - I have to agree. “23” is the slow-burning, introspective ballad that seems to be on the cusp of a new relationship while watching it disintegrate and slip away all at the same time. A reflection on a life juncture, written over a layered bed of piano, bleeding-heart rock n’ roll riffs and some strategically placed background “oohh’”s that just croon away, it’s the musical incarnation of stretching your arms wide and spinning in a slow circle - it seems custom-designed for a TV drama montage. And even though that might be a little tacky to liken a song’s importance to its seamless ability to fit into a TV montage, that universality is also what makes it so, so beautiful. – Adrienne Fisher