Pop punk band Waterparks has been gaining traction in the genre ever since their first full length album, “Double Dare” was released in 2016. On Oct. 11, they released their newest album, “Fandom” and the album has already reached 32 on the Billboard charts.
First of all, as a person who doesn’t often listen to pop punk music anymore, much less contemporary pop punk, listening to this gave me extreme cognitive dissonance. On one hand, the songs were just traditional enough that I enjoyed them and they gave me nostalgia for a genre I no longer actively listen to. On the other hand, the songs have a modern quality about them that’s so unfamiliar and innovative that it’s as if you took all my favorite songs from high school and threw them in a blender. It’s not bad, just something I’m not used to but I’m very interested in it.
I wouldn’t call this your classic pop punk album. There’s certain songs that definitely follow that sort of genre, but often times, they’re just playing alternative rock music with the classic higher pitched, nasal, pop punk vocal stylings. There’s a thin line between rock and pop punk and Waterparks rides right down that line.
One of the best songs on the album is “Easy to Hate.” It’s one of the most pop punk songs on the album with sounds similar to Walk the Moon’s popular “Shut Up and Dance.” It’s fun, toe-tapping music, and I find it nearly impossible to be upset while listening to it. The mix between the strong high-hat from the drums and the reverberated guitar riffs is downright addictive. “Easy to Hate” is an earworm you won’t be mad about singing all day long.
“I Miss Having Sex But At Least I Don’t Want To Die Anymore” may have the most emo title you’ve ever seen, but it’s actually one of the songs on the album that pushes the genre in a new direction the most. It’s unbelievably bouncy and energetic. It sheds a new light on what pop punk can be if not forced to stay stagnant in one stop. The lyrics on this one, although seemingly dramatic and ridiculous, are incredibly introspective and thought-provoking. The song talks about the pressure of romantic relationships and insecurity and it’s veiled behind an attempt to keep it light.
“Turbulent” follows the footsteps of Ghost Town’s older music. They use a lot of electronically-made music and voice alterations to give the music an eerie quality. There’s a naturalistic quality to the music from the frank and vulgar lyrics and fun guitar arpeggios. It’s a completely different take to the genre that I absolutely adore.
All in all, I think “Fandom” is definitely worth a listen for pop punk fans and even those who don’t gravitate towards that type of music. I think the genre has expanded over the past few years, and Waterparks has created a sound that is far less divisive than the pop punk of just a few years ago.