If there’s one band that continue to go from strength-to-strength in the pop-punk world, it’s Waterparks. Spending 2020 in quarantine allowed the band to focus solely on writing new music as they now embark on their fourth full-length album, ‘Greatest Hits’.
The titular introduction perfectly paves the way for the album, with the repetitive “Last night I had the strangest dream of all” eluding this theme of entering dreams and nightmares which stretches its way throughout the album’s 17 tracks.
Transitioning into ‘Fuzzy’, an eccentric pop-punk infused track which couldn’t grasp your attention anymore if it tried. Its intense rhythms and the band’s trademark raps make you instantly want to be a part of this high-octane world that they’re painting, and will no doubt be a hit with fans live when they take the album on tour.
Tracks from here on in just get better and better, ranging from lead single, ‘Lowkey As Hell’, to the frenzied ‘Numb’, which showcases frontman Awsten Knight‘s lyrical ability perfectly. It’s full of niche easter eggs, including shoutouts to previous works, such 2019’s ‘Fandom’ and the song ‘Tantrum’.
Offered up as the only real romantic track is the delicately written ‘Fruit Roll Ups’, a song which could easily have held its own as a pop-punk ballad to stand the test of time. Yet, true to Waterparks‘ style, they’ve instead added some humour to the situation by pouring their heart out with lyrics like “I’m a little bitch for you now”.
Leading into ‘Like It’, the atmosphere quickly shifts into a 2 minute outburst of the band’s feelings towards the control that lies within the music industry, and acts as a very blunt and to-the-point middle finger to anyone who’s tried to change their sound over the years.
This quick turnaround of emotions crops up numerous times throughout the record, mirroring this idea of various stages of sleep. ‘Just Kidding’ is a surprisingly dark track lyrically juxtaposed against a relatively upbeat instrumental. Once again, this shifts almost instantaneously into ‘The Secret Life Of Me’, with an introduction resembling an 80s video game, flipping 180° as Knight‘s contagiously catchy chorus will have you smiling and singing along in no time.
As a band who spend a lot of time online communicating with their fanbase, both ‘Violet!’ and ‘You’d Be Paranoid Too (If Everyone Was Out To Get You)’ are interesting insights into life in Waterparks; the former depicting a stalker situation that Knight experienced with invasive fans, whilst the latter explores the idea of cancel culture and how easily fans will go for you if you put a toe out of line in the public eye. Both melodic pop offerings are easily two of the standout moments of this album.
‘Crying Over It All’ acts as a beautifully written sentimental record written for someone who they’re yet to meet once this lifestyle is over. The track hones in on this exquisite vintage sound, which surprisingly sounds like the style of fragility that’s making its way throughout Taylor Swift‘s recent output, blending nostalgia with a touch of class.
Penultimate track, ‘Ice Bath’, depicts this idea of waking up from the night before, faced with the stresses of daily reality until you go to sleep the next night summed up neatly by closer, ‘See You The Future’, although there’s no doubt that this track will be the ideal way to end their live shows.
With a fourth album title as presumptuous as ‘Greatest Hits’, there was always going to be some level of pressure to succeed, and these seventeen tracks completely deliver. Not one of them feels like a filler track, and there’s never any denying that armed with the talent that Waterparks possess they have an extremely long and bright career ahead of them.