Three years doesn't seem like a long time between records, but kids today--sorry, that's who buys Jimmy Eat World albums--don't have that much patience. The high-school sophomore who fell for Jimmy Eat World's 2001 breakthrough, Bleed American, is now a college freshman falling for, I don't know, the Shins. The current crop of high school sophomores are breathlessly instant-messaging about Taking Back Sunday. So while Futures finds Jimmy Eat World playing to the same strengths that sold a few million copies of Bleed American--snappy guitars, sappy lyrics--it probably won't be enough. The title track--with its subtle, "I hope for better in November" pro-Kerry endorsement--is a bid to break out of the teen ghetto they were stuck in after the pants-optional video for "The Middle," and it may even get a poli-sci major to rock out awkwardly. But the back half of the disc drags them back to sixth-period study hall. With so much teen-guy angst and thwarted sexuality, you'd expect to find it locked in the bathroom; it could, unfortunately, serve as the score for ABC's My So Called-lite melodrama life as we know it. Which is fine if you're actually in Taking Back Sunday, and high school is still an open wound. Not so much if you're pushing 30.
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