With ‘Breakup Season’, Future Teens focus on the small things that ruin your life after a breakup.
Stream: ‘Breakup Season’ – Future Teens
Something tells me breakups were easier before social media, specifically dating apps. Before the prevalence of Facebook, your ex would become but a shadow of what your relationship once was. Someone you’d remember, but easy to ignore and avoid. As we continue to follow our ex’s on Instagram or keep them as Facebook friends, the “getting over” process is vastly different. Sometimes, something as simple as a Venmo transaction can be as upsetting about a changed relationship status. With their sophomore album Breakup Season, Future Teens deliver a record that’s as devastating and lively as a romantic comedy. If you listen to it while things are going well, you’ll probably just enjoy the bops, but if you’re in a tough spot, the true-to-life lyricism and emotional deliveries may need to be washed down with a pint of ice cream and a bottle of whiskey.
Going through any breakup has a wide range of emotions, and the Boston quartet takes the listener through every aspect, and it opens bleakly on January 1st. Vocalist Amy Hoffman laments
This flight keeps getting longer
But the distance stays the same
I’m just calling to tell you that I am not okay.
It’s an atmospheric emo track with just a touch of country-two genres that at their best shove you into sadness. While there are more moments of realism to come, the initial-numb shock ends. The band measures somber, sad moments like “So What” and “Emotional Bachelor” with peppier uptempo songs like “Born to Stay” and “Frequent Crier.” In a breakup, you don’t sit around frozen catatonic in a depression forever. For every moment you pretend your ex isn’t sleeping with someone else, there’s a night where you recap all your Tinder matches to your friends and giggle. Each track has moments that the average listener should be able to point to and see themselves, whether they’re getting attached easily (as vocalist Daniel Radin notes in “Passed Tense”), see everyone from their hometown on dating apps, or are just trying to get over someone. Despite the pop-punk and emo nature of Breakup Season, Future Teens are just as influenced by the 2000’s pop music, as their songs sound like they could narrate a difficult episode of Boy Meets World or most ABC Family sitcoms. It’s like Sheryl Crow meets Japandroids meets Kelly Clarkson.
Some of the hardest moments throughout the record come in the joyful tracks. The groovy power pop of “Heavy Petting” is one of the more accurate depiction of a relationship slowly falling to pieces. In “Alone at the Party’s” bridge, Hoffman and Radin harmonize:
We joked that this would be easier
For whoever cared less
I guess that makes me the loser.
“Heavy Petting” narrates the events that lead to this, despite knowing she’d get hurt in the long run. The most gut-wrenching part is still loving a partner that you know doesn’t reciprocate: “It still makes my day to come home to you.” These questionings of what to do after a breakup are the most true-to-life moments throughout the record. “Heavy Petting” features the classic: “Two beers deep, wanna call you,” but some of the more awkward and questionable moments often can really paralyze you based on Hoffman or Radin’s delivery. The bridge to “Emotional Bachelor” gives gravitas to running into an awkward hookup the next day and finding out they have a boyfriend. “Frequent Crier” is riddled with guilt “Cause you won’t let me pay you back for a vacation I didn’t take.” The album’s best track, “Swiped Out” is the best description of how exhausting dating apps can be, while still mulling over a breakup.
The bridge to “Swiped Out” distills the album’s mission statement down to a verse.
I can’t fall asleep most nights
I loved your voice when you’re tired
The way we’d high-five every time we remembered
That all of our last firsts would happen together
The photo of us still pressed inside my wallet
The pile of your stuff growing tall inside my closet
If I ever knew what went wrong, I think that I forgot it
I told you things are better now, I wasn’t being honest
No matter how smart you are, breakups hurt. While Future Teens seem like they’re constructive people that understand the reasons for breakups and communication in relationships, this record gives weight to the simple truth that breaking up will fuck us up for a little bit. You may not be able to think straight or won’t be able to commit to getting breakfast with a Bumble match. No matter how big of a front you may put on, you’re just not going to be okay for a time, and Future Teens want you to know that that’s okay.
While we enter what’s been dubbed cuffing season, Breakup Season offers to be your friend that takes you to the bar to complain about your feelings, while also trying to get you back out there. Future Teens take versatile songwriting and hone in on the most simple human emotion that sometimes life and relationships just suck. While you may think you’re the only person that’s ever felt this lonely, the specificity of this record shows that this confusion and pain is just as true to the human condition as the want to meet a partner.
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