Review Summary: Catchy pop punk at its finest. Well worth a listen.
Bowling For Soup have always for me been the epitome of a good modern pop punk band, they don’t talk themselves too seriously, but have a string of honest, catchy pop punk albums, with this being their second finest achievement behind Let’s Do It For Johnny. Mainly coming to prominence in the pop punk lull around 2002 when Blink 182 and Green Day were of doing other projects and there opened up a space for some new kids on the scene, step up Bowling For Soup armed with one of the catchiest singles in the whole genre and a solid album in support. In terms of sound the band would struggle to be any simpler, pretty much the whole album consists of power chords and palm muting with the odd riff thrown in. It’s all pretty generic stuff, but as far as generic pop punk goes no-one does it better. I’m not really sure why but I've always had a soft spot for this band, where as I’ve grown tired of Fenix TX, Allister and Midtown, BFS have great staying power and I can always go back to them once in a while and still remember every hook. Which I guess is the mark of a great pop punk band.
Nowadays ever pop punk tries to right something intelligent and ironic, see Panic at the Disco and The Academy Is but for the benefit of anyone who doesn’t remember there was a time when pop punk was actually great fun. Case in point being opener I Don’t Wanna Rock
, the whole song is, possibly the whole album is, hilarious. It sounds like the Backstreet Boys covering Blink 182 songs, I imagine many of you will stop reading after that comment but in practice it’s great. Lyrics like, “She makes me want to be a homosexual, maybe ill be your best friend, see you naked once in a while,” wont exactly inspire anyone to write poetry but it never fails to entertain. Followed up by what if I remember correctly was the second single Emily
, which is equally a great tune. The hook is bigger than their rhythm guitarists, check out a picture of these guys, he’s huge. I challenge anyone to listen to Girl All the Bad Guys Want
and not sing along. It won a Grammy award for some bizarre reason but it is a pretty impressive track, in terms of catchiness not musicianmanship. The song is fast, upbeat and actually features a lead riff during the chorus, how novel I know you must be thinking. The lyrics are good for what they do, there not too simple as to be annoying but neither are they even moderately complex, “I’m watching wrestling, trying to be a tough guy, listening to Rap Metal, turntables in your eyes.” If anyone remembers the video it features the band making fun of so called “Mad at your Dad” or “Adiddas Rock.” Put simply its BFS pretending to be members of Slipknot, Limp Bizkit and Korn. From there album gets slightly slower and slightly more melodic. Yet the standards barely drops, both On and On and On
and Surf Colorado
remind me slightly of the Blue Album Era Weezer if Rivers decided to drop the self hate in favour a game of Frisbee.
Life After Lisa
starts of with the classic palm muted verse before a full on chorus with the lyrics, “You stole my heart when Eddie Veder was king, I gave you a foot massage I gave you my ring, You left me for a drummer cause you said I couldn't sing, But, That's ok.” I would say it is probably my favorite song on the whole album, it doesn’t in any major way differ from any of the formula throughout the rest of the album it just seems to be my favorite. Where To Begin
is pretty slow for a BFS song, sounding something like the slower songs on New Found Glory’s Catalyst but not nearly as boring and without Jordan’s infamous nasal singing. The album drifts of a little towards the end although Cold Shower Tuesdays
and Running From Your Dad
are worthy of a mention, as is Self Centered
which contains the funniest lyrics in any Bowling For Soup, “She sent a postcard again, She said she had a new friend, I hope that by the end, He throws her heart to the floor, She says he's really ok, I really hope that he's gay, It's not a nice thing to say, But I don't care anymore.”
In you were to visit Bowling For Soup’s myspace you would see that they consider themselves to be part of the genre “Comedy” and while they might not truly be a joke band, they represent the same ideal. It’s about having a good time and playing fun songs. At 18-20 in length depending which version you have downloaded or purchased legally it is excellent value for money. They might not be reinventing the wheel sometimes all you want is four chords and a chorus. Just in case you cant find your Bon Jovi album then BFS will do just fine. I’m hesitant to give this a 4.5 based on its blatant lack of originaility but if you haven’t heard them they are well worth a listen.