On Oct.11 pop-rock band Waterparks released their third studio album “Fandom.” This is the first album released under their new label Hopeless Records and the follow up to their 2018 album “Entertainment.” I have been a fan of this band since 2016 so needless to say, I was excited to see what they had in store for us. I think it may be my favorite album they have released so far, which is saying a lot, considering I was in love with their first release “Double Dare.”
So, let me break this album down track-by-track for you:
1. “Cherry Red”
This intro track grabs the listener’s attention from the twinkling intro right into the explosion of a beat that leads into Awsten Knights vocals. This song intro track is only 1:26 and does a great job at getting the listener excited for what is to come with the rest of the album. It goes full-steam the whole time and sets up the rest of the album. This track ends with a fade out, transitioning into a build-up, right into the second track.
2. “Watch What Happens Next”
This is the second track that was released for this album. It has a killer guitar intro that grabs your ear from the start. Knight comes in on the verse first and just goes for it with that same guitar underneath and a rocking drum beat to compliment it. My favorite part of this track is the explosive chorus. Knight’s vocals, Otto Wood’s drumming and Geoff Wigington’s guitar skills all combine to explode right into the chorus that you will find yourself singing along with by the end. Knight does not hold back with the lyrics on this track. This track discusses how artists in the pop punk/alternative world of music are frowned upon if they talk about wanting nice houses, clothes, cars, etc., but musicians in the pop/hip hop world are not criticized for talking about those things in music or in the media. At the same time, Knight discusses the unfair payment of artists by some music labels. With Knight’s almost rap-like vocals at points, mixed with the explosive chorus and the killer drumming and guitar by Wood and Wigington, this track is definitely one of my favorites.
3. “Dream Boy”
“Dream Boy” is one of the more pop-sounding tracks on the album. This is the third track that was released prior to the album being released. The track is full of electronic beats and effects that move this track along. The lyrics are simple and the chorus is repeated over and over again, so it will surely get stuck in your head. On this track Knight talks about how people, especially fans, create this perfect idea of who she is and what she is expected to be. This track will have you singing along by the end and is the perfect song to play while you dance around in your room or drive with your windows down.
4. “Easy To Hate”
This track has a nice guitar and drum intro and has more of a chill vibe than previous tracks that were full steam from the start. That vibe continues throughout the track with a slight build-up in into the chorus that has that same sing-along energy vibe. This song talks about a girl that Knight knows is bad but struggled to leave for the longest time, singing “who’s apparently not made enough to get up and leave.” The chorus sings, “It’s easy to hate you, and hard to love,” describing the state of this relationship. One of my favorite moments on the track is the guitar solo towards the end. It fits into the song so well and I love it every time. This is a track that is slowly growing on me and will for sure continue to come back to.
5. “High Definition”
If you were waiting for the song to cry to on this album, here is the first one.
This song will have you crying from the start. You can hear the emotion behind Knight’s vocals right from the start and that does not change as the song goes on. The lyrics describe how the relationship is draining him and he has lost all love for the person. Knight’s sadness, frustration and anger drive this song and you will be feeling all the emotions.
Okay, after the previous sad song, you get the more upbeat song on “Telephone.” On this track Knight describes how he just met a girl who now he is obsessed with and wants to get to know everything about. He knows it’s crazy but he feels a connection to this girl and can’t stop thinking about her. This song has repetitive piano playing and clapping during the verses that grab your attention. Once the track hits the chorus, you will be singing along again and smiling. This is a track you will be singing and dancing to for sure.
7. “Group Chat”
This is just Waterparks being Waterparks. Listen and you will understand.
If you are looking for a screw-you, I-don’t-need-you breakup song, this is it. This is the first song the band released prior to the album being released and this song goes off. The guitar and drums compliment Knight’s angry vocals, creating a perfect storm. Knight sings about how his ex had the perfect guy but still messed up their relationship. He sings about how he would “unlove you if I could” among other things. Knight does not hold back on this track at all and it definitely pays off. The intense drumming and effects like dogs barking and helicopter blades spinning add to the effect to create the perfect angry break-up song.
9. “Never Bloom Again”
Here is the acoustic break-up song to cry to that every album needs. Knight sings about how the break-up has messed with him. He sings, “every girl in Los Angeles looks like you from a distance,” describing how every girl he meets reminds him of her and he thinks, “I’ll never bloom again” because he cannot get over his past relationship. He feels alone and he doesn’t know where to go from there. If you do not feel even a little teary-eyed after listening to this song with the acoustic guitar, the sad lyrics and Knight’s voice full of pain, I am concerned.
10. “I Miss Having Sex But At Least I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore”
I will say this song has been stuck in my head the most since the album has been released. The title alone grabs your attention and the song does the same. This track has a simple repetitive beat that builds slightly in the chorus and will have your head bobbing along. The opening verse hints at everyone online asking him for things like follow backs and social media and for him to sing something for them. That theme continues into the chorus. The overall song talks about the effects of being in the spotlight. It is short, to-the-point, and will get stuck in your head. I can vouch for that.
11. “War Crimes”
If you are familiar with the work of Waterparks then you know at least one song on their albums will just go off about something that is being unfair or that they are angry about. On “Fandom,” “War Crimes” is that track. It starts with the clapping beat and some cool electronic effects in the background. What drives this song for me personally is the drum beat in the background. The constant pounding drums with Knight’s quick vocals keep the song moving. My favorite part of the track is the electronic breakdown that leads into the bridge where Knight does not hold back and goes off. His vocals have an angry screaming effect that adds to the emotion and it fits the song perfectly. If you need an angry song to scream and headbang to, this is the one.
This track has a chill vibe to it, but still one you can jam to. Knight’s vocals are more played down and relaxed on this track, what stands out on this track are the electronic effects on the track mixed with the drums and guitar. These all build throughout the song and at times it feels as if it is going to drown out the lyrics. It creates a unique atmosphere and emotion to the track that helps tell the story. The lyrics on this track are very repetitive and tells the story of the after-effect of a relationship and coming to realize that you do not need the other person. It still has a hint of anger in the lyrics. At points Knight talks about how he did not give his full heart to the other person and “I never promised you your dream boy,” once again repeating the “dream boy” reference that is throughout the album.
If you are someone who follows Waterparks closely, then you are most likely already familiar with this track from the Awsten Knight demo that circulated around last year. When I saw this track was going on the album, I was so excited because I loved the demo. This is another angry break-up track. Knight sings, “I think you are the worst of them all” as the main line on this track is in reference to an ex. During this song, the instrumentation comes in during the chorus to build the tension and anger. It starts with simple acoustic guitar strumming with some clap/snap like sounds that then transition into the more electronic sounding chorus. Knight’s rap-like verses add to the anger building of this track that lead right into the chorus once again. This is definitely one of my favorites on the album.
14. “Zone Out”
This is a transition track that repeats the “Dream Boy” chorus that leads right into the final track with some electronic snap effects mixed with electronic piano sounds. Not much to say here.
15. “I Felt Younger When We Met”
This track goes right from the start with “I said I loved you to death so I must be dead.” The opening lines are complemented with an intense bass that then transitions into the first verse. The more I listen to this track the more I grow to love it, especially the chorus. Not only is it another catchy chorus, but the instrumentation is also killer. It has everything: killer guitar lines, pounding drums, and Knights vocals on top. It all comes together so perfectly to create a great ending track. To make it even better, the end connects with the beginning of “Cherry Red.” As the last track fades out, it has the same sound as the first song, connecting the two and allowing you to start the album all over again.
Overall, I was very pleased with this album. I was pleased with the continuing references to “dream boy” and the storyline that was told between many of the songs on the album. I thought all the songs were connected well, and none felt like they didn’t belong. I also did not feel like all the songs sounded too similar, allowing for a diverse listening experience.
I would say my top songs are “Easy to Hate,” “Worst,” “War Crimes” and “Watch What Happens Next.”
You can stream “Fandom” on Spotify and Apple Music.