ALBUM REVIEW: Bowling For Soup – Pop Drunk Snot Bread
Having older siblings has its perks…sometimes. Like being able to get away with murder because, after their rebellious rampages, you’re the angel in the family. Or in our case, they helped kickstart our punk-rock addiction. After all, because of them, at age five we were insistent on singing The Offspring’s Pretty Fly instead of nursery rhymes. So, whilst Bowling For Soup wasn’t the first band we heard cuss, like Greatest of All Time simulates (sorry!), they were the first band to teach us not to take life too seriously. And their eleventh studio record, Pop Drunk Snot Bread, is no exception.
We must admit we were a bit dubious about the LP, as the last single I Wanna Be Brad Pitt left us underwhelmed. It felt more like a list of facts than a cleverly penned bio, like gritter Alexa Bliss. But the disappointment was short-lived. From cocky opener Greatest of All Time’s sweet refrain of “only want[ing] to make you smile,” to toasting “all the stupid things we’ve done” in beautifully crafted closer, All These Beers, we were reminded of why we initially fell for the goofballs.
Crammed with endless earworms and crystal harmonies, the quartet proves “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” as the record sounds exactly how you’d expect. With its ‘too old for this’ quips, ‘why so serious’ jibes and ‘we’re motherf*cking Bowling For Soup’ attitude, it is bursting with boisterous hits. No wonder the Texan Kings of comedy and catchy hooks have maintained a 28-year regime, as this familiarity feels like we’re reminiscing with old friends over one too many beers. Even the title upholds their traditional booze-themed discography, by parodying a drunken slurred Pop Punk’s Not Dead.
But Getting Old Sucks (But Everybody’s Doing It) is BFS mockery at its finest. Instead of desperately, and tragically, attempting to remain ‘hip’, they comically navigate through the tribulations of getting older. It’s honestly refreshing. From questioning “what the fuck is TikTok?” to getting “to bed by 9pm.” And we don’t know about you, but we’re happily bundled up at that hour too if we can help it.
Another favourite has to be Hello Anxiety, with its verses bringing Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start The Fire into the 21st century and insanely infectious melodies, we were singing along on first listen. But this is also a perfect example of how BFS write real songs about real situations. Though a straight-up pop-punk track, the narrative reveals a bittersweet relationship with mental health.
With their renowned jester status, it’s easy to forget Jaret Reddick is also a master of ballads, although this may be more prominent on his solo country album, Just Woke Up. As much as BFS can be your hype-man, like in angstier Burnt Out, where they pop you on a pedestal to roast marshmallows over your toxic ex’s burning world, they manage to perfectly encapsulate what it means to be human. No fantasy fabrications. No Hollywood love affairs. It’s enchanting at times, like in the amorous Best We Can, and heartbreaking at others, like The Greatest Burrito’s When We Die. Even Wouldn’t Change a Thing had us choking up at “I sang about 1985, 19 years after 1985.” Probably because it was the first song we heard back in 2004 when our nine-year-old starry eyes were glued to Kerrang! TV. Now here we are, “36 years after 1985” edging towards our 30s with this band remaining a prevalent part of our DNA (sorry mum, we guess it’s not a phase).
Don’t get us wrong, this record will have you moshing in your bedroom, repledging your allegiance to the punk-rock Gods. But these moments of sobriety stole us. And truth be told, we wanted to hear more, as the album does feel linear at times. But like we said, this band has its system nailed, and it is that homeliness that had the record playing on repeat.
With a solid stock of hits already under their belts, you wouldn’t think Bowling For Soup had room for more. Yet here they are, releasing the summer record every emo, punk and misfitted youth can’t help but beam for. Now, screw ‘hot girl summer’, who’s ready for ‘pop-punk summer’?!
Standout Tracks: Hello Anxiety, Burn Out, Wouldn’t Change A Thing
For Fans Of: Simple Plan, The Dolly Rats, Blink-182
Written by: Corey Plant