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“Challengers” releases in theaters on April 26.
Review: “Challengers”
Published April 13, 2024

Attack of the 50-foot rockers

“Try, try, try and try again” is the motto for this group

To hell with the third time. This time, the fourth time’s the charm.

Jimmy Eat World’s first album didn’t even crack the Top 200, and the band was dropped by Capitol Records for poor sales. But the fourth album, “Futures,” debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard charts and has sold almost 100,000 copies since its release in late October

The four-man band from Arizona released its first album in 1995, but it was the single “The Middle” from 2001’s “Bleed American” that garnered the group respect in the punk-pop circle.

While the sound of “Futures” is slightly softer than Jimmy Eat World’s previous albums, the lyrics are sharper and edgier. They delve into more sensitive subjects.

In the slow, piano-based “Drugs or Me,” the singers croon, “If only you could see/ the stranger next to me/ You promised, you promised that you’re done/ but I can’t tell you from the drugs.” The angst in their voices is heart-wrenching, and the helplessness of the lyrics is disheartening.

“Futures” covers a wide variety of styles and subjects, from the start of a relationship and a sound reminiscent of early pop music to politically charged lyrics and a hard-rock feel.

“Kill” is yet another tale of the inability to leave a relationship, but this one is different. The character knows he’s trapped, but the attempts to break free are all in vain. It’s hard to tell whether he’s angrier at her or at himself. The powerful, driving guitar in the background propels the lyrics to a level at which his anger is almost uncontrollable.

The album is like a soundtrack to a love story. It starts with a first encounter, moves to a first time, then pauses when the problems start and the once-perfect love affair starts to sour.

“Futures” is a marvelous fourth album because the band hasn’t tried to ride on the successes of its previous albums.

Jimmy Eat World

album: “Futures”

label: Universal Music Group

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