Waterparks
Entertainment


2.5
average

Review

by Divaman USER (157 Reviews)
January 28th, 2018 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I don't love this album, even though I really wanted to.

In 2016, I was a big Waterparks defender. While some maligned the Houston pop-punk band's debut album Double Dare as unsophisticated and depthless, I argued that music doesn't always have to be complex to be worth something. There's something to be said for the simple enjoyment of a good pop hook, and "fun" shouldn't be a dirty word for music. But here I am in 2018 reviewing the band's newest release Entertainment, and I'm finding this one harder to defend. I know that Waterparks has had a hectic performing schedule over the last two years, and I read an interview with lead singer Awsten Knight where he explained that the recording process for this LP had to be jammed into a single month. However, the trouble here seems to me to be more than just a case of a band being too rushed. Some critics have argued that what's different from the last album to this one is simply a matter of a pop punk band going in more of a "pop" than a "punk" direction for one album. Maybe, but it feels like more than that. To me, the problem is that Entertainment feels dumbed down, almost like the band made a deliberate decision to shoot for a younger demographic.

Mind you, I'm not saying that the album is terrible. I still like Waterparks' basic sound. Yes, Awsten Knight is vaguely helium-voiced, but I think that works for this genre -- it never hurt Blink-182. And I enjoy the way he constantly tries to cram ten pounds worth of words into a five-pound lyric line. As for the instrumentation, there's a lot of use of synths, and I'm good with that -- particularly since so many pop punk bands tend to go with all guitars.

I think the problem here is twofold. First, in comparison to Double Dare or the 2016 Cluster EP, I find the songs themselves just a tad less interesting musically. In too many cases, the hooks aren't grabbing me as much. What's really hitting me in the face, though, is how trite some of the lyrics are. It might seem strange, since I quote lyrics so often in my reviews, but I'm not really a lyrics guy. I tend to let them blow past me, unless they're either particularly clever, or jarringly bad. And some of the lyrics here made me wince.

For example, in the opening track "11/11" we find this line: "My favorite set of stairs is the one up to your room". Really? You have a favorite set of stairs? What's your favorite ceiling fan? Then there are the cliched rhymes, like this little gem from "Rare": "'Cause we're not seventeen/But you're my teenage dream". Didn't ABBA kind of pull the cord on that one about forty years ago? If it sounds like I'm nitpicking, I'm not trying to. It's just that lyrics like this forced themselves to my attention the first time I listened to this album, and once I started to notice them, I couldn't not hear them.

There are definitely some things I like about this LP. I enjoyed songs like "Peach (Lobotomy)", a nice mid-tempo number with some pleasantly strummed guitar and interesting use of whistling, and "Not Warriors", with its catchy chorus. And "TANTRUM", which is the musical equivalent of a nervous breakdown, isn't just the liveliest song here, it also has the best and most sincere-feeling lyrics on the album (for example: "I'm getting texts from idols I've looked up to since 15/But now people use my friends to try to get to me, *** you.") Even a few of the songs where the lyrics make me cringe have some good things going on instrumentally. I love the synth pattern underlying "11/11", and the guitar chords on "Lucky People" might not be unique, but they make me nod along and smile. And as I mentioned, I like the vocals throughout.

It's just the little pet peeves that keep me from fully enjoying this album. Like the too-often joltingly bad lyrics. Or the boring album art. Or the way the opening chords on the song "Rare" are just a little too reminiscent of the opening chords on the Gwen Stefani song of the same name(!) from her 2016 This Is What the Truth Feels Like LP. These are the things that make me want to go all Lewis Black and throw a "TANTRUM" of my own.

I still like Waterparks. I'd happily see them live again if given the opportunity. And I don't hate this album. It's just that I don't love it either, and I really wanted to.



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user ratings (40)
Chart.
2.7
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
Divaman
January 28th 2018


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

OK, the Sputnik curse of the missing question marks is officially driving me crazy, especially in reviews like this one, where I seem to have more questions than answers.

Digging: Kakkmaddafakka - Diplomacy

Divaman
January 28th 2018


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Btw, yes, I know that the ABBA rhyme is actually "queen" and "teen". I'm using literary license. (Its an official one -- I paid good money for it on the dark web).

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 28th 2018


15531 Comments


"What is your favourite ceiling fan?"

That one was great Diva hahaha. Pos'd!

Digging: Otoboke Beaver - Itekoma Hits

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
January 28th 2018


2846 Comments


Really interesting perspective taken for this review, nice work. Pop punk's not my thing, maybe I'll give this a cursory glance, though.

zakalwe
January 28th 2018


27073 Comments


Band and review is anathema to everything I believe in. Pos’d

Divaman
January 28th 2018


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks, Dewinged, Blushful and Zak.



Zak, you were one of those I had in mind when I argued about "fun" in music. We have a lot of overlap in taste, but that's one point we disagree on. Have to admit, though, that your shout out for this album before it was even released was brilliant -- made me laugh out loud.

zakalwe
January 30th 2018


27073 Comments


Album makes me laugh out loud. Fucking abysmal. Truly fucking abysmal.

DoofusWainwright
January 30th 2018


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Classic lol

zakalwe
January 30th 2018


27073 Comments


Have you heard this yet Doof dude? It’s an event I can tell ya.

DoofusWainwright
January 30th 2018


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

You know I won’t be able to resist

IfYouRun
February 1st 2018


311 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

My girlfriend played their first album and I thought it had two or three okay songs.



This one, however, has nothing redeemable about it. Lucky People makes me envy the deaf.

CuddlyCaucasian
February 6th 2018


111 Comments


I randomly heard TANTRUM and liked it a lot but I guess I probably won't listen to the rest of this now

sempiturtle
February 14th 2018


1531 Comments


Yeah I just randomly heard Not Warriors cause they released a new video and that chorus was great, but I'm not sure I'd like this whole thing.



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