Future Teens captures the struggles and successes of entering adulthood in their new EP, Deliberatively Alive. The Boston-based band is composed of Amy Hoffman and Daniel Radin on guitar and vocals, Maya Mortman on bass, and Colby Blauvelt on drums. With two albums and several singles and EPs under their belt, the group shows off their refined emo-pop sound and unapologetically truthful storytelling in their latest five tracks.
Lead single, “Guest Rooms” demands attention from the start with energetic guitar, drums and piercing vocals from Amy Hoffman. Opening the song, Hoffman frankly questions, “I don’t even have a guest room yet / How can I expect to die like that?” The lyrics continue to depict feelings that fall somewhere between suicidal and “deliberately alive,” as the album’s title says. Following the energetic start, the song slows midway through as Hoffman sings the first chorus. They earnestly reveal that between “going young or getting old,” they still have mixed feelings about which they fear worse. But with a transition led by upbeat instrumentation and confident delivery, they ultimately celebrate the progress they’ve made, singing “at least I’m not convinced I deserve either one.”
Daniel Radin takes lead vocals in “Play Cool,” the second single released off of Deliberately Alive. The song’s lyrics reflect on falling out with someone. Radin sings, “Oh, I wish I didn’t say that” as he acknowledges the damage that has been done. He doesn’t want to go on pretending that things are fine between one another and hopes it can end when “someone says something / that they actually mean.” While the song starts with Radin’s vocals alone, drums, bass, background vocals from Hoffman and guitar complicate the sound as his feelings build.
“Separated Anxiety” is the opening song to the EP. Radin sings of his complicated relationship with himself. The fast, pulsing drumbeat builds tension along with the introspective lyrics. Radin sings, “So when I say I don’t hate myself, I guess / I’m just tired and overwhelmed,” lyrics that show he is on the road to self acceptance. By the end of the song, the instruments are louder and the combined vocals of Radin and Hoffman become more confident, mirroring his inner growth.
The drums shine on “Bizarre Affection,” a moving breakup song and the fourth track on Deliberately Alive. Amy Hoffman sings about their struggle to stop replaying details of their relationship and imaging how things could have gone differently. The anecdotal details written in the lyrics give the song an intimate feel. The instruments and vocals turn soft as they ultimately acknowledge how their mindset has changed since. Hoffman sings, “The next time around goddamn I’ll do better / I can’t be anybody else, why pretend to?” in the emotional last verse.
The EP closes with a heartfelt rendition of Cher’s “Believe,” sung by Hoffman and Radin as a duet. While several of the other tracks on Deliberately Alive feature their vocals backing one another, this cover shows just how well the two’s voices pair. While it still has Future Teen’s signature high-energy emo-pop sound, “Believe” stands out as a beautiful and emotional end to the EP. The self-empowering lyrics of the song also reflect a common theme throughout Deliberately Alive: growth. Future Teens does not sugarcoat the struggles of growing up, but they do highlight the growth that comes out of it. And perhaps that’s what makes their music so relatable and moving.