album of the week: Breakup Season - Future Teens
words: Aaron Eisenreich
Breakup Season, the second album from Boston’s Future Teens, packs an array of emotions into just over thirty minutes of sugary pop hooks, wrapped up in distorted guitars and undercut by gut-wrenching lyrics that will likely make you cry at some point. The band has solidified its lineup since its first record, 2017’s Hard Feelings, and it really sounds like the group has hit their stride on Breakup Season. While Hard Feelings is still great, this album sounds like a huge step forward and a group confidently coming into their own.
Co-vocalists Amy Hoffman and Daniel Radin sound fantastic on these songs, whether singing alone or together. The lead single, “Emotional Bachelor,” “Swiped Out,” and “Something Nice” all make the most out of combining Hoffman and Radin’s strong and unique voices.
Every musical choice comes off seamlessly, too. The guitars sound precise as the band jumps between quiet, intimate moments and the huge rock-out sections that are sure to elicit head-banging as the band takes these songs on tour. All of it is held together by the rhythm section, anchoring the songs when needed and driving the band forward when they’re ready to let loose.
The album starts with “Happy New Year,” a slow build of a song that works perfectly as an introduction to the album and the group’s signature “bummer pop” sound in general. The lyrics are equally clever and devastating. Told through the lens of a phone call from the airport, the song grows as Hoffman’s voice goes from vulnerable to assured. As the instruments slowly seep in, Hoffman hits you with lyrics playing on double meanings like “I don’t have the resolution to change a thing” and “I’ve been carrying more baggage each time I board the plane.” It all leads to the devastating last line, “I’m just calling to tell you that I am not OK.”
There isn’t a bad song on Breakup Season. “Happy New Year” is followed by “Born to Stay,” a song with a killer chorus, then the three singles that were rolled out before the album release. “Emotional Bachelor” again works with double meanings lyrically while finding beauty and depth in the every day. “Frequent Crier” is an instant hit, overflowing with lines that cut to your core, none more so than at the end with “crying when you told me I would still be your best friend.” Ending songs with tearjerker lyrics is definitely a running theme on Breakup Season. “So What” is another slow build, featuring Radin on lead vocals, his voice sounding perhaps as strong as it has over the band’s catalog.
The second half of the album kicks off with “Alone at the Party,” which features a fun, heavy guitar riff and Hoffman perfectly landing a line about an “awkward hug.” After an extended intro, “Passed Tense” takes on a more open, spacy sound, punctuated by an off-kilter groove from the bass and drums.
On an album of great songs, “Swiped Out” stands out as particularly strong. It hooks you from the start with the driving snare drum and the attention-grabbing lyric, “I swiped myself to sleep last night.” The song doesn’t let up and is full of too many wonderful lyrical nuggets to quote. Once again, though, it’s the last line that sticks with you: “sometimes I still miss someone to be lonely with.”
The first listen through Breakup Season absolutely floored me. There are tons of lyrics that would be scattered across AIM away messages if this were the early 2000s. The band works with a range of dynamics and tempos, but the transitions all work and the album sounds like a cohesive whole. It can be difficult sometimes for bands with two singers to not sound like two slightly different bands, but Future Teens avoid that trap here, creating a unique and individual sound. It’s a wonderful album that will make you cry, laugh, reminisce, and rock out, sometimes all at once.