Pop-punk is alive and well in my eyes, and it’s all thanks to artists like jxdn and other Travis Barker-backed hitmakers; Machine Gun Kelly, ModSun, KennyHoopla, and many more on the horizon. The aforementioned TikTok star jxdn is up to bat with his debut album Tell Me About Tomorrow.
An 18-track roller coaster filled with relatable lyrics, heart-pounding melodies, and an overall emotionally charged package. But, is Travis Barker’s first signee to his record label, DTA Records, up to the task to take center stage for a complete pop-punk resurgence that kicked off with Machine Gun Kelly’s Tickets To My Downfall?
That’s certainly the question, and I might have an answer. So, let’s find out in a full-blown track-by-track review of jxdn’s Tell Me About Tomorrow.
Kicking things off is a 10-second voice mail featuring the King of Drums himself, Travis Barker. When it comes to voice mail tracks, jxdn put his all into this one, and it shows. Everything from Travis’ way of speaking to his announcement of wanting to sign jxdn to DTA Records is perfection.
Seriously, I don’t think any other voice mail track can top this. 10/10 experience.
All jokes aside, Travis’ voice mail is actually a nice nod to how much this release means to jxdn, and to have Travis Barker backing you up is certainly pretty damn cool. A pretty cool way to open things up.
Tell Me About Tomorrow’s true opening number kicks things off with a bang. “PILLS” is bound to become an instant ear-worm, from a catchy chorus to fun fast-paced instrumentals and jxdn’s vocal delivery. Everything about this one is on point to make for a classic 2-minute pop-punk classic for this generation of pop-punk fans.
I can admit that I was singing, “I don’t like taking pills, but I took ’em anyway,” over and over again. “PILLS” is a fun time that sets the tone for what’s to come and just how energetic this album is as a whole. If you’re looking for a fun track to add to your gym playlist, this is it.
THINK ABOUT ME:
“I’ve wasted so much time on you,” certainly a sentiment everyone has felt at some point in their lives, myself included. “THINK ABOUT ME” wastes zero time jumping into pure teen angst and heartbreak—an unfortunate combination for success. Lyrically, “THINK ABOUT ME” is one of my favorite tracks on Tell Me About Tomorrow. I still have “you got control, I got no hope” embedded deep into my psyche at this point.
Instrumentally, “THINK ABOUT ME” follows the traditional recipe for success in newer emo/pop-punk songs. Riffs match the track’s vocal backbone, melodies that fuel the experience, with a dash of radio-friendly persona. All while not compromising the integrity and storyline the track is attempting to tell.
It’s not completely my favorite song off jxdn’s debut album. But, if I think this is only “great,” that’s saying a lot considering I do like the track as a whole.
WANNA BE (feat. Machine Gun Kelly):
Alright, looking past the obvious radio-friendly play when it comes to “WANNA BE,” it’s actually my favorite track on Tell Me About Tomorrow. It might be my love for MGK’s Tickets To My Downfall, but this track I had on repeat for over 2 hours. Seriously, like back-to-back plays nonstop, I haven’t done that since blink-182’s California album.
“WANNA BE” is everything I want from this new age of pop-punk. Straightforward instrumentals dancing around relatable, sing-along style choruses, and just tons of energy and big themes. “WANNA BE” has it all. If you only listen to one song off this album, make sure it’s this one.
I can’t wait to catch jxdn in a live show setting, performing this exact song with others that relate to the presented themes.
A WASTED YEAR:
Let’s get it out in plain view from the get-go. “A WASTED YEAR” is, in fact, inspired in part by blink-182’s “Feeling This,” something I saw that quite a few had issues with? Something I don’t understand with Travis Barker being the producer and blink getting writing credit, and jxdn simply wanting to pay tribute to one of pop-punk’s greatest sing-along tracks of all time.
I honestly think the use of “Feeling This” for this track’s chorus is perfectly handled, and it honestly had me smiling from ear to ear. Aside from the blink-182 tribute, “A WASTED YEAR” stands on its own two feet perfectly fine.
A relatable tale of heartbreak, breakups, and feeling like time was wasted. Seriously, jxdn does a phenomenal job at understanding what’s going on in one’s mind when it comes to wasteful relationships. I’m personally looking forward to a whole new generation of fun breakup songs. Now, I’m going to go back and sing, “I don’t wanna pretend we’re still friends in the summer.”
ANGELS & DEMONS:
Alright, let’s jump right into it. “ANGELS & DEMONS” is Tell Me About Tomorrow’s biggest track. It showcases big themes, sensational anthems, and a larger-than-life character. It’s certainly not my favorite track on the album. But I can certainly appreciate what jxdn was going for.
Sharing a simple instrumental structure, mellow vibes, and toned-down vocal melodies makes for a warm experience that’s sure to capture listeners with ease. Exploring lyrics such as, “and all these angels and demons. Keep shoutin’ and screamin’. I’m fallin’ from Eden,” is sure to implore a reaction.
The 6th track featured on jxdn’s debut album isn’t my favorite, as I mentioned. But, it’s a stand-out that tries to show off the vocalist’s other skills in the musical realm, not just within the pop-punk genre. And jxdn does this all with ease.
“INTERLUDE” is a cute little piece that acts as a jump pad back to the album’s full-blown explosion of high-energy antics in “ONE MINUTE.” A track many will be able to relate to as they get older and realize why did we waste so much time on useless things and not on the bigger picture. “I wish I didn’t waste so much time being angry” and “I would say, “I love you, in my life and death” are some of the best combinations of themes I’ve seen in a song in recent memory.
“ONE MINUTE” hits for the stars and heads for the heavens. Encompassing pure pop-punk goodness and tearful lyrical quality. Something that isn’t seen much anymore in the genre, so I’m glad to see a true flood of emotion taking over once again. “ONE MINUTE” is a true bi-polar experience. In one instance, you could be having the time of your life, dancing off the walls, and in the other, you could be crying your eyes out.
A fun experience nonetheless, just an emotional one as well. I’d love to hear an acoustic rendition of this one.
“Braindead, I got issues. Can’t sleep ’cause I miss you.” Seriously, jxdn and his writers really know how to make a hook pop more than usual. Honestly, “Braindead” has massive amounts of potential to be one of jxdn’s best songs. It’s certainly within this album’s top 5, and I can see it being a huge radio hit if it manages to find its way onto the airwaves.
Instrumentally, “BRAINDEAD” is both full of energy and mellow overtures. A great mixture of the two worlds swirling around jxdn’s larger-than-life vocal personality. The track’s riffs are simple, yet complex feeding into the exposed beats finding their path alongside jxdn’s home run range.
A memorable experience that I’m sure will find its way onto my repeat list very quickly.
TONIGHT (feat. iann dior):
iann dior is way too good. Over exposing “TONIGHT” in good light, iann dior graces Tell Me About Tomorrow with his presence as a killer experience. Lyrically, “TONIGHT” doesn’t break the storyline this album is telling; confusion, heartbreak, and finding oneself in a world filled with pain on every street corner.
“TONIGHT” is a chilling musical experience. It doesn’t break any boundaries and doesn’t drift too far out of its lane. But, the vocal showcase between iann dior and jxdn is certainly a climactic feeling for the ears—a warm tune for suffocating summer nights.
“Maybe I’m fucked up,” isn’t that all of us at this point? I know Tell Me About Tomorrow had me on an emotional roller coaster ride inside of my own head, and “FUCKED UP” is partially to blame. Instrumentally, “FUCKED UP” brings back jxdn’s somber tones, a relaxing experience giving you enough time to explore your own personal inner feelings.
On the vocal side, jxdn continues to crush it. Showcasing not every singer in the world has to have a golden voice to provide a message. Which is saying something since jxdn has a killer voice that can hit some insane ranges. Lyrically, “FUCKED UP” is stripped to the root. A tonal shift that exposes jxdn’s more intimate side. A vulnerable musical experience, to say the least.
Funnily enough, when I was looking up the lyrics for “SO WHAT!” I noticed it’s the track that had the most views on the site I was using. I’m wondering why, as I wouldn’t put “SO WHAT!” on the album’s top 5 list at all. But, everyone has a different experience. The main reason why I love the pop-punk genre so much. There are so many different experiences when it comes to the genre.
“SO WHAT!” for the most part, is a somber yet energetic tune, helping to bring back the energy the first half of the album showcased effortlessly. Instrumentally, it’s nothing to write home about. But, I will say that ending chorus rush had me pumped. jxdn and his musical team knew what they were doing with that ending, and it had me wishing we had that a bit sooner within the track.
I live for those second-half rug burns.
ANGELS & DEMONS PT. 2:
A part 2 on the same album? That’s pretty ballsy. Funnily enough, I did prefer “ANGELS & DEMONS PT. 2” quite a bit more than I did the first. The overall rush of sound had me hooked the moment the guitars came blaring in. it also helps that I’m a sucker for anything acoustic, which this track features quite a bit of.
“Surrounded by a million. But lonely at heart,” lyrically, this track tugs all the right heartstrings. jxdn is a fucking rockstar, and “ANGELS & DEMONS PT. 2” displays that fact with little to no effort as he transitions from a sad boy to a cynical adult who shows small fractions of believing in himself.
BETTER OFF DEAD:
The only track on Tell Me About Tomorrow to challenge my undying love for “WANNA BE” is hands down “BETTER OFF DEAD.” This track has everything; a fully encompassing vocal arrangement, sing-along lyrics, and just the correct amount of relatability to keep listeners intrigued coming back for more.
Seriously, for the better part of a day, I couldn’t get “it’s been cloudy with a chance of depression” out of my head and would sing it a loud wherever I was. A tale about a toxic relationship and manipulative motives is the perfect spark for a classic, radio-friendly pop-rock masterpiece. I can certainly see this one being a big hit in a live setting, and just like “WANNA BE,” I can’t wait to hear it being sung back to jxdn.
Instrumentally, “BETTER OFF DEAD” brings the tone back to earth while not losing any momentum setup from previous tracks, setting the stage for the album’s finale in a striking fashion.
Now this one I can relate to oh so well. Having been in a relationship where all I can remember is bad memories came front and center while listening to “DTA.” Instrumentally, “DTA” brings us back to form in regards to being a new era pop-punk album while capitalizing on the themes and sound structure presented within “BETTER OFF DEAD.” A true companion piece that continues the tale of a disgraced relationship you want to escape from.
There’s not much when it comes to experimentation on “DTA,” and for the most part, I believe this track out of them all could have reached greater heights if it didn’t play it so safe throughout its 2 minutes and 35 seconds runtime.
It’s a fun piece, but at times comes off as a forgettable track that might get lost among the others when it comes to repeat listens. As I said, it’s fun. Just a little too safe for my tastes.
“This is the last time we’ll say that it’s over,” the trend of young love in today’s world. Is the “last time” ever actually the “last time” nowadays?
Not my favorite piece on the album, but I can appreciate its position on the album. Instrumentally, its clearcut goodness to the ears and, when fused with jxdn’s intoxicating vocals, creates a wonderful dreamscape atmosphere to escape from drama and the never-ending dread that is love.
I don’t think I’ll ever have “LAST TIME” on repeat like some of the other songs found on Tell Me About Tomorrow, but I also most likely wouldn’t intentionally skip over it if it happens to come on.
I’ve had this one on repeat for a hot minute. An emotional painting of sound, a wall of noise while your heart breaks, and an unforgettable gut feeling that you’ve fucked up. “NO VANITY” is jxdn naked and exposed, and I love it. Showcasing the emo side of pop-punk, “NO VANITY” is the secret hit of Tell Me About Tomorrow, coming in right before curtain call and the show is over.
There’s just something about this track’s lyrics that immediately had me hooked, and the simple yet tearful vocal performance from jxdn was the icing on the cake. I want more of this from jxdn in the future. Artists don’t let themselves be this vulnerable anymore, and it’s a damn shame. Top 5 for sure. Instrumentally, “NO VANITY” is big on thematics and shines brighter than the rest.
TELL ME ABOUT TOMORROW:
Acoustic shill reporting for duty. A bit reminiscent of Machine Gun Kelly’s “Play This When I’m Gone,” “TELL ME ABOUT TOMORROW” is gut-wrenching and even got a few tears out of my dried-up tear ducts. An emotional masterpiece of sadness and hopefulness wrapped together like a nice Christmas morning present.
“Tell me the things that I don’t know. I’ll tell you about tomorrow” is quite possibly my favorite line from the whole album. It’s raw, it’s emotionally charged, and the build-up at the end was perfection to my ears. Overall, a top-quality closing piece that will have you instantly hitting that replay button.
I’m pretty certain I’ll have Tell Me About Tomorrow on repeat throughout the hot summer days ahead. It’s a great pop-punk album for a whole new generation of listeners that doesn’t try to shun away long-time listeners. It’s fresh without being too different from the genre’s earlier 2007 soundscape, with hints of the late-’90s thrown around for good measure.
I’m certainly going to keep jxdn on my radar as he continues to climb new heights. Especially since Tell Me About Tomorrow is already making summertime waves in the genre space. It’s been a long time since I’ve had an album I’ve wanted to bug my friends about, and it’s nice to have that feeling once again. I can’t wait to hear some of these songs live when I catch jxdn with Machine Gun Kelly later this October.
If you’d like to keep tabs on everything jxdn has coming up next, you can do so by heading over to his official website and connecting with him via his social channels.