CD Reviews

Oct 192004
Authors: Nicholas LoFaro

Jimmy Eat World, “Futures”

Band Shines Bright on “Futures”

(Three out of four stars)

After spending the last two years on the road in support of the

band’s last record, “Bleed American,” Jimmy Eat World has hooked up

with the Foo Fighters/Pixies producer and have created a heavy, yet

quiet rock epic. The dark mood on “Futures” prevails over the

band’s past pop-hook formula, making for a great fall album and one

of the best hard rock acts of 2004. The ambitious hard rock songs

“Futures,” “Pain” and “Just Tonight,” easily stand out as the

album’s energy. On the title track “Futures,” politically charged

lyrics state, “I always believed in futures/I hope for better in

November/the past is told by those who win/what matters is what

hasn’t been/we’re wide awake and we’re thinking/believe your voice

can mean something.” “Pain,” a radio-friendly punk screamer, is a

cool/creepy addiction song where pain is “a lie/a kiss with open

eyes.” Nearly every lyric wrestles with pivotal life choices and

their repercussions. Jim Adkins’s melancholy vocals at times sound

like somewhat of a whine but have become more intricate over years

with added harmonies; there are chant-screams and moments when

Adkins sounds a lot like A.F.I.’s Davey Havok. Pop/rock formations

boast the song “The World You Love” and the song “Work” has the

benefit of Liz Phair on backing vocals. The sarcastic lyrics on

“Kill” say “you kill me/you always know the perfect thing to say.”

The ballads “Drugs or Me” and “23” are emotional and erotic. “Night

Drive,” describes a girl with “cherry lipstick” and a “parked car.”

Ooh! There is also a surprising number of guitar solos. Maybe

“Futures” is the title of the album because the members of Jimmy

Eat World see themselves as a huge part of it.

Mos Def, “The New Danger”

One of New York’s Finest Returns

(Three out of four stars)

Mos Def, one half of Black Star, has succeeded in 2004 by

following Black Star buddy Talib Kweli by pushing out a

long-anticipated solo album after a hiatus. OK, maybe it hasn’t

been a complete hiatus, the last couple of years have allowed for

Mos Def to establish credibility as a talented actor, so it is only

natural that his return to the hip-hop scene would sound redefined.

“The New Danger” is an eclectic mix of Mos Def’s love for the art

of music. He grabs at and captures every sound that he can. “Sex,

Love & Money” is a mysterious, “secret-agent” hip-hop gem, and

on the other side of the coin, “Zimzallabim” is a heavy-as-hell

metal head-banger. Dr. Know, the guitarist from the classic

Southern California punk band the Bad Brains, supplies Mos Def’s

fuel for heavy metal intensity. Def’s band Black Jack Johnson adds

craziness to “Freaky Black Greetings” and “Zimzallabim.” On “Ghetto

Rock,” Mos Def chants “yes we are so ghetto, yes we are rock n’

roll,” and on “Bedstuy Parade & Funeral March” he shows his

soul/Cody Chesnutt-esque side when he sings about a pretty gangster

woman. “Blue Black Jack” is a cool hip-hop/blues porch song, and

“Sunshine” is a throwback jam produced by the infamous Kanye West,

sure to be one of Def’s finest songs to date. “The Panties” and the

Marvin Gaye tribute “Modern Marvel” are slow and seductive jams,

and the politically charged “War” claims that current times are

“global economic phenomenons/ from Columbia to Columbine.” Def

doesn’t sell out his core beliefs, his attitude, or his ideals on

“Danger,” either. Now that Mos Def has proven himself alongside

Talib Kweli as a great soloist, there can only be hope for a future

Black Star reunion.

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