Future Teens | Hard Feelings
Family Average: 5/7
Could you believe those smiling Boston-based sweethearts pictured above could be slinging out an album of the emerging genre of bummer pop? Well, believe it! Cause that’s just what they did here with Hard Feelings.
The album transported a lot of our reviewers to back when they were teenagers; just like the unabashed album title the lyrics throughout really hit home.
Listen along on the Future Teens bandcamp and read on to see what we mean:
The term “bummer pop” seems to be a contradiction, but hey, let’s roll with it. I picked up on their emo influence, but truth be told I got zero “bummer” vibes from this crew. It’s all a little too bouncy to get down about anything, especially with the catchy hooks, bobbing melodies, and big choruses. The mixed vocals are energetic and skew pretty pop, but the tracks just feel one-dimensional.
Lyrically, they deal with the general struggles of navigating your 20s—so I can relate—but it all feels a bit too surface. My biggest gripe is that I feel like I’ve heard it before—five years ago. Regardless, they’re a talented bunch, and I imagine their energy would yield a solid singalong/mini-mosh situation at a show.
Overall I was underwhelmed, but would be interested to see if and how they could push their sound further.
Three beers deep at a Tuesday night show, and these guys have got my number. I have a fascination with bummer pop. I did since I was a wee. Jamming hard to bands like Elvis Depressedly, and Colma Cinema. It never failed to help make me sad on a day when I was feeling sad. This practice may sound counter intuitive but hey we all have our methods. Let me say though these guys for sure do not hit the levels of despair of the aforementioned ensembles, but it may be a due to the high angst levels. That's the edge they got that makes them come off like they got some fight left in them. Yeah they are sad but they are screaming about it. I love the vocals on this album. Between the singers, they do a nice job trotting along balancing that winding complaining sound with poignant complaints about life in general. The tunes will no doubt strike a chord with anybody listening to it from the ages of 16-30. I still got that feeling that may mean that I am incredibly immature or just an emotional guy. Either way I had a hoot.
Now this is what I’m talking about. I’ve never heard of Future Teens until this review, but man, this was a good album. What can I say? I liked this music but definitely did not think it was “bummer pop”. It is full of some good tunes that are easy to listen to and are also full of energy (most songs). It really reminded me of easier times, you know, like when your only worry was about your crush and what they were doing. I also very much related to Expiration Dating. In one verse he’s mad at his ex for not texting back then in the next verse he realizes it was actually him that never responded. This really hits home. I get pissed at people all the time for not texting back for me to only realize it was me. All of the songs are very catchy and you’ll love listening to this album many times. Not gonna lie, I listened to this album about 15 times on repeat during my recent flight.
I was trying to figure out how to describe the sound of this album. While their description of “bummer bop” matches somewhat, there’s more depth to it than that. Each song had a distinctive sound to it but were strung together by this theme of resigned observation. It’s got a comfortable feel to it. Nothing angry or upset, no extreme emotions, as the mood is too passive to be able to feel too strongly. It’s a chill listen. The singers are great too, they’ve got their sound down and matched it to the music. The lyrics are slightly quirky, but not in your face about it. They’re pretty clever and have humor or relatable feelings to them. “What’s My Sign Again?” right off the bat establishes this with amusing lines like “can I ask you when you were born to try and find out more bad reasons for my overthinking.” It was strangely nostalgic also? Like, it reminds me of songs I used to listen to when I was younger. But they’re less in-your-face about it like “hey listen to me” and more like “hey this is how I’m feeling stay a while and listen if you want”. They all have that full sound of your usual guitar and drum ensemble, but some get quieter like “Kissing Chemistry”, which almost had a rainfall-like beat to it. “Expiration Dating” was another quiet one, and probably best encapsulates the feeling of “bummer bop.”
So yeah I dig this album. Probably will give it another listen.