Fandom has been highly anticipated since the first small teases of new music from Waterparks many months ago. With backing from the Madden brothers, famously of Good Charlotte, Waterparks have been rapidly rising since their debut full-length release Double Dare. It’s been all uphill since, with the catchiest of songs, it’s no surprise that they have an ever-growing fan base. Though with 2018’s Entertainment, FANDOM has a lot to live up to – can it?
Kicking off the album is Cherry Red and it’s all punch from the get go. However, at just 1:26, it feels anti-climactic. There’s a sense that there should be more, that it could be 3 minute long song; with another verse and a bridge. Instead what we get is a song that is short and snappy which, though it truly is great, leaves you wanting more.
Easy To Hate came close to being the lead single, as vocalist Awsten Knight admitted in a recent interview and it probably would have done fantastically well. It’s ladened in pop, with a catchy repetitive chorus and upbeat sound that mirrors their previous two releases. It feels quintessentially like something Waterparks would put out with a little extra sugar in it’s sound. Knight has made it no secret that he wants Waterparks to break out into pop radio and Easy To Hate may just be the perfect recipe for it.
FANDOM introduces the first uses of interludes for the band, which seems very 2000’s, harking back to the likes of Panic! At The Disco with Fever You Can’t Sweat out but doesn’t seem to do it quite as well. Group Chat feels like it doesn’t fit and is definitely something that could have been left off of the album as a whole. Though it would be a great intro on tour, something that fans can scream out as the band take to the stage. Zoned Out is another short interlude, that comes a little too late in the album. It’s the penultimate track on the album and is simply a repeat of the chorus to Dream Boy against a dreamy almost video-game-like soundtrack.
Never Bloom Again is this albums acoustic offering, not in the same way High Definition, which was previously released, is. Never Bloom Again is stripped back as it comes, guitar and vocals, much like 21 Questions and Lucky People had done before it. It’s soft, yes but still has kind of an upbeat feel, despite backing some rather sombre lyrics, as has always been Waterparks’ signature. It’s entirely on brand and proves that there is a reoccurring theme throughout each album. There’s always a brilliant acoustic track, always at least one huge pop song and always one song that is much heavier, angry even.
I Miss Having Sex But At Least I Don’t Wanna Die is unexpected, the title is entirely misleading when you press play. Rather than a song about a break up, or getting back on your feet after one, Knight sings of his own downfalls and how he’s perceived by other people online. The chorus does mention the title of course but it doesn’t match the rest of the song by any means but that is what makes it stand out, it’s what you least expect.
War Crimes and Telephone could be the biggest stand outs of the album. War Crimes is a mix of sugary sweet and a frustration toward the end that gives the song a little bit of a bite. Telephone is a love song, though it’s true meaning is less sweet than the song sounds. It’s still one of the most upbeat and a true pop banger.
Not long after Entertainment was released, Knight put a song onto YouTube that was choppy and angst-ridden, following a breakup. This song was called Worst. Almost 2 years later and that song has found it’s way onto the bands 3rd full-length but it’s not as remembered. There has been so much production value added to the song as a whole, with synth, backing vocals, neat little tricks that make the song more cohesive entirely rather than something that had been thrown together in a moment of madness.
I Felt Younger When We Met closes out the album spectacularly. The song feels as though it’s been pulled right from one of the previous two releases, reminding fans that while Waterparks made a lot of new artistic choices on this album, they haven’t strayed too far from what makes them Waterparks. They can grow and change while also producing tracks that are quintessentially Waterparks. The track does end abruptly, moving into the sounds of a ticking clock. This falls into the beginning notes of Cherry Red, tying the album together perfectly.
FANDOM is an album that works cohesively when played through from start to finish, the kind of album that when you end it makes you want to start it all over again. While there are some tracks that perhaps could have been left off, overall the album as a whole is another truly stellar release from Waterparks.