First off, a disclaimer: when Future Teens were squirrelled away working on their second album, they almost certainly didn’t envisage I’d be their audience. The other side of 30 (heck, I’m only this side of 40) and in the same relationship for nearly 13 years – modern-day dating is a story for other people.

Yet here I am, enamoured with an album that talks about dating apps and breakups, messy relationships and self-discovery – all of which I have either no experience or they are dim and distant memories left to gather dust.

The beauty of Breakup Season is that Future Teens make all these challenges relatable, and they’re delivered with such charm that it’s impossible not to root for the Boston-based quartet right from the off. Sure, Breakup Season is a sad album – the group themselves play a brand of emo and pop-punk they’ve christened ‘bummer pop’ – but every song contains razor-sharp hooks that dig deeper with every listen.

I’m a sucker for an album that lives in a particular time and place. Breakup Season has both of these, making every anecdote feel more personal and real, rather than if they were conjured from air. It’s also a winter album – the best type – containing a sense of reflection about a challenging year and a hint that next year might be better,even if such hope is ultimately futile. The Weakerthans’ Left and Leaving forever feels like a winter album due to ‘Exiles Among You’ and ‘Watermark’, as does Counting Crows’ Recovering The Satellites, thanks to the poignant ‘A Long December’. Better still, consider Death Cab For Cutie, where both Transatlanticism and The Photo Album find Ben Gibbard asking big questions in the winter months. 

It’s no surprise Breakup Season’s gorgeous opener ‘Happy New Year’ won me over instantly. “Happy New Year, you get the same old me / I don’t have the resolution to change a thing,” sings Amy Hoffman defiantly. It’s hugely emotional and powerful – and yes, it feels melodramatic – but it’s also a call-to-arms for all those who find the winter months a struggle.

Another nod to winter can be found in the outstanding ‘Frequent Crier’. “You made my mom a scarf, just like the one you made for me,” sings Hoffman, before detailing all the places they’ve broken down and cried recently. It’s a song that lives in the same world as Radiator Hospital’s ‘Our Song’ – the most exceptional indie-pop song of the last decade – and runs it a close second thanks to its devilishly breezy delivery and outrageously fun guitar solo.

It’s this juxtaposition that makes Breakup Season such a winner. If you were just to read the lyrics alone, it would probably be a bleak experience. But, thanks to vocalists Hoffman and Daniel Radin, there’s so much to hook onto that makes Breakup Season celebratory, as if to say ‘I’ve dealt with all this shit, I’ve come out the other side, and I’m still here’.

It’s worth emphasising this point after seeing Future Teens live, too. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so much singing along to such sad songs – and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many other people having the same experience at the same time. To make an album that can resonate with such strength speaks volumes about the quality of songwriting and the emotional connection Future Teens have managed to foster. Rarely has heartbreak sounded so triumphant.

  1. Future Teens – Breakup Season 
  2. Great Grandpa – Four of Arrows
  3. Holding Patterns – Endless 
  4. Big Nothing – Chris 
  5. Telethon – Hard Pop 
  6. Oso Oso – basking in the glow 
  7. Lakes – Constance 
  8. Problem Daughter – Grow Up Trash 
  9. Dead Bars – Regulars  
  10. I Love Your Lifestyle – The Movie