Waterparks’ FANDOM – Track by Track Album Review
Waterparks’ long-awaited third album “FANDOM” was finally released earlier this month on Friday, October 11.
If you haven’t heard about this band, their music is a mix between pop-punk, rock, and upbeat pop genres. The trio consists of Awsten Knight (Vocalist/Guitarist), Geoff Wigington (Guitarist), and Otto Wood (Drummer). Some of the things the band is known for is their incredibly loyal fanbase, Awsten Knight’s Twitter presence, and branding themselves as “God’s Favorite Boyband.”
The band likes to brand themselves uniquely, and sometimes unconventionally, as a way to gain support from fan’s and differentiate themselves from other artists, which they’ve definitely succeeded in doing. This unique branding can be found in the naming of their album and EP titles, as each album follows the next alphabetically: Airplane Conversations, Black Light, Cluster, Double Dare, Entertainment, and now, Fandom.
Fans took to Twitter to express their support for the new album with the hashtag “FANDOMNUMBER1,” which was trending in the top ten hashtags worldwide. This album has nothing but positive reviews, from both the fans and well-known rock music media like Rocksound and Alternative Press. Here is my track-by-track review of the album.
1. Cherry Red
“Cherry red, you know I’d die for you”
The song begins with electronic sounds, giving it an ethereal tone. The song is very short with a quick verse that leads into the chorus and then fades into silence. Although I wish the song was longer because of the colorful lyrics and unique musicality, I feel that it provides the perfect introductory song to the album.
2.Watch What Happens Next
“You wanna hear my art, but only on your terms”
This is one of the singles released before the full album came out, and Waterparks fanbase instantly fell in love with it. Lyrically, the band admits their frustrations with the fans’ criticism of the sound of their new music, as well as ridiculing their past label. This track provides clever guitar riffs and impassioned lyrics. It’s one of the more “punk” songs on the album, stemming back to their older music.
3. Dream Boy
“Do you believe in love? And is it because of me?”
This is another one of the songs that was released before the album came out, and it is one of the more popular tracks. This song definitely screams more “pop” than the rest. The band dipped into multiple music genres. The catchy lyrics and lively, upbeat guitar sounds make the song a favorite for a lot of fans. However, despite its happy and light-hearted sound, the song encapsulates Awsten feeling as if he has to live up to certain expectations people have of him, and Awsten needing to be the “perfect” person for someone regardless of his feelings.
4. Easy To Hate
“All that I can do is fall in blame with you”
Incorporating more electronic sounds and a playful, pop melody, it definitely differs from Waterparks’ usual sound. However, I still feel like they are staying close to their roots and not straying too far away from who they are. I feel that this song pleases both their old fanbase and the new fans I assume they’ll get from this album. I can only imagine how this song will sound when they play it live, as it’s just one of those feel-good songs that you dance and scream the lyrics to.
5. High Definition
“I’ll just stay alone because alone is safer than with you”
This is a break from the upbeat and punk-y sounds of their usual music. Basically, this song is a confessional about Awsten’s struggles with getting too close with a love interest. The song has a unique bassline and a slow, electronic drumbeat, which relates to the vulnerable lyrics it is surrounded by. I would say that this is one of the best-written tracks on the album.
“I know we only just met so why do I feel invested? Do you feel it too?”
I want to start off by saying that this is hands-down my favorite song on the album!!! It is a nice refresher from the rather depressing and heart-breaking lyrics in the previous songs like “High Definition.” The song is about falling in love with someone who you have only known for a short period of time. The upbeat and catchy lyrics make this such a feel-good song and I just can’t stop listening to it.
7. Group Chat
“My name’s Otto and my name’s Geoff and my name’s Awsten and we’re all friends”
The lyrics I included above are literally the only lyrics of the song. I have been thinking about the purpose of this sound-bite (it’s definitely not even a song) and I honestly can’t think of any reason why they included it. My only idea is that it provides a refreshing intermission that serves as a reminder of the fun and silly band members.
“My anxiety was turbulent and permanent. You gave me hell on Earth and said to “work with it”
This was the first single they released from the album, and fans instantly connected it with previous songs like “Little Violence” and “TANTRUM.” The angry lyrics and fast-paced guitar sounds epitomize the non-conformity in music production today. This is definitely the angry break-up song of the album, and with the brutal lyrics, I would not want to be at the receiving end of this song’s message.
9. Never Bloom Again
“I’m wishing I was home again alone was never easy after you”
Acoustic guitar played along heart-breaking lyrics is the central theme of this song. It talks about never being able to find someone better than who you had been with previously. The relatable and intimate lyrics make this an easy song for fans to connect with which explains why it is one of the more popular songs on the album. This acoustic ballad is easily one of my favorites on the album.
10. I Miss Having Sex But At Least I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore
“So when are you gonna sing for me? Ruining me completely”
The scandalous title of this song instantly sent fans into a frenzy wondering what it could sound like. However, I think the lyrics are more a train of Awsten’s random thoughts. Returning to the more happy and colorful songs of the album, the lyrics are much more light-hearted and I don’t think they’re meant to be taken too seriously. This is definitely a common fan-favorite that I have seen circulating.
11. War Crimes
“I’m forgetting how to hate myself, I saved my own life”
Including multiple different sounds, it goes from a heavy, angry tone in the beginning, to a moody, electronic sound with falsetto vocals, and then a pop-oriented chorus to follow. This song is a bit of everything. It feels like the meaning of this song is just a rant about Awsten’s tendency to overthink, as typically seen in his songwriting.
“I never promised you your dream boy, I’m better as your chew toy”
Waterparks tests the waters of a new genre with a more emo-rap production for this song. The sharp edges of Awsten’s vocals when he incorporates “dream boy” into the lyrics cleverly connects back to the album’s concept. This is definitely one of the more dark and moody songs of the album, again dealing with the heartbreak he has faced recently seen in most of the songs on this album.
“Am I dealing with a break up or a breakdown? Nights never been so loud without your voice’s sound”
Lyrically, this is a continuation of Awsten’s thoughts pertaining to the break-up he went through. He talks about how his mental health is affected by this break-up and how he can move on from it. Again, the band branches out with different electronic instruments on top of their usual guitar and drumbeats. Clearly, the message of this song is for his ex to know that he thinks they’re the worst, which is something both personal to him and something fans can relate to.
14. Zone Out
“Am I the boy you dreamed of living in your subconscious?”
This is a more “zoned out” sound from the “Dream Boy” chorus. Again, along with [reboot], this connects back to the album’s central theme. In my opinion, I think a more effective placement of this song would be to place it at the very end, but it’s a good place to take a refresher to prepare for the final song of the album. It allows us to really take in the meaning of the album, which I appreciate.
15. I Felt Younger When We Met
“I said I love you to death so I must be dead”
The opening line, which I placed above, signifies that the final song of the album will also be a song about heartbreak. The chorus is definitely one that fans can sing along to because of its pop sound. Additionally, the lyrics are catchy and well-written, like a lot of these tracks. The instrumentals at the end lead us right back to the first song “Cherry Red,” a clever conclusion to the album.
My overall ranking of the album: 9.5/10
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