A band that kicks off its album with the lines "I always believed in futures/ I hope for better in November" is obviously making a political statement. And while it's not uncommon for a band to take a stand, it is something of note when that band is Jimmy Eat World, four unassuming dudes from Arizona.
And that's exactly how their new album, Futures, begins. The record hits stores Tuesday (October 19), and it's a big departure — both lyrically and sonically — from the band's last, self-titled release, which was loaded with short, hook-heavy pop songs. On Futures, they're writing darker songs like the title track, which is about voting the president out of office on November 2.
"The song is about George W. Bush, yeah. It's about being dissatisfied with how things are going and about greed taking over," frontman Jim Adkins said. "The speakers [in the song] are coming from a place where they've done everything right — a successful career, financial stability — but they're still getting squashed by the larger greed. They're taking it to the man."
"We're all political," drummer Zach Lind added. "And ['Futures'] definitely references the idea that it would be great to have a change in the White House in November. It would be irresponsible not to look into what's going on and not do things that counteract any sort of injustice you feel is going on."
A newfound political edge isn't the only thing different about Jimmy Eat World. When 2001's Jimmy Eat World produced three hit singles, "Bleed American," "Sweetness" and "The Middle," they became a platinum-selling sensation. So while the group wanted to write more complex music and makes no qualms about Futures' challenging tunes (see "Jimmy Eat World Say If You Don’t Like Futures Right Away, Don't Bother" ), it does know that the pressure is on to replicate its past success.
"In a way, Futures is our first major-label release," Adkins said. "We've flown under the radar for so long. And now it's like we're the bacteria looking up and we know the microscope is there."
So who is Futures for? Will fans of the band's earlier recordings be turned off by the new album's layered, detailed sound? And will record buyers who snapped up their last album be turned off by the darker material? In the end, Jimmy Eat World don't really care. Because they made Futures for themselves.
"The album is for us. It's music that excites us. If you listen to it with headphones on, there are a lot of places you can go," Adkins said. "There are so many elements in playing music that you have no control over: How will the record be critically received? Will fans like the record? Will it get on the radio? We don't even try to play that game."
"If we didn't feel like this album was good, we wouldn't put it out," Lind said. "And if people want to give us crap because it's different, then we're comfortable with that. You can drive yourself crazy worrying about other people. And at the end of the day, we have to be ourselves. We're really happy with it, and if someone doesn't like it, then it's OK."