1, or as it’s fully affectionately titled, 1 ‘(A COLLECTION OF UNRELEASED HOME DEMOS, THIS IS NOT G, OR EVEN AN ALBUM, SHUT UP ENJOY)’ is an offering that Waterparks never expected to release. It began with a joke from frontman Awsten Knight, that if a particular tweet gained 20k retweets they would drop an album. This is what fans ran with and they did so for miles, until just a few hours later they had surpassed Knight’s original goal and were waiting expectantly for new music.
What they got was a selection of home demos, never before heard except for in tiny snippets on an Instagram live stream. This collection of demos harness that fundamental Waterparks sound while, at the same time, gives fans a never before seen look into the first stages of how Waterparks songs come together.
What’s important to note from the initial listen through is that Knight seems to be a perfectionist. When you consider demo’s, you would expect to hear something a little more gritty than what you hear on 1. There’s a precision to some of the songs, where they could be placed as they are on Fandom and they would fit right in. Each song title is named with a year from the 1990’s and while they are quintessentially Waterparks pop, there seems to be a lot of heavy influence from the 90’s in a lot of the songs.
Noise kicks it off strong with that theme, something ironic considering the opening words; “It’s 2018”. It almost feels like some of the bands earlier work, just much more refined. Perfect Posture, possibly the biggest stand out of all the tracks also feels every much like this. It’s repetitive nature makes it perfectly radio worthy, with a catchy chorus and upbeat sound that follows Waterparks’ signature ‘happy songs with not so happy lyrics’.
Teenage Jealousy follows that signature perfectly. It’s quintessentially pop, despite how upfront the lyrics are when reflecting on a bad relationship. There’s nothing to hide. “I was stupid for you, stupid me,” references one of the bands older songs with an apt name. Later retracting previous statements made in songs seems to be a reoccurring theme for Waterparks, pushing the narrative that there’s a continuing story that we’re hearing with every era.
Read My Mind is much quieter than the other songs; perhaps purposely, though likely due to it being a demo. Regardless its repetitive nature echoes that it could get incredibly loud if ever played in a live setting. Glitter times feels familiar and not just because it had been teased a few times before. It’s as if it were pulled right from Entertainment with it’s heavy synth and production at the beginning, though the pre-chorus does follow the melody of Dream Boy. “Obsession works around the clock, it never gets sick or takes days off,” feels like it holds a double meaning – to not only the obsession you feel in a relationship but also the obsession fans hold for the band.
Lemonade seems to be the only one that doesn’t fit but that’s the point. Screams glaze over synth that seems pulled right from a video game. “I had a bad day…. I want to drink your blood like it’s lemonade,” feels like a meltdown. An accurate portrayal of how it feels to be in that bad place and it’s not a place we want to see Knight ever go to again.
The last two tracks on the album feel the most fine tuned of all the others. Sorry As I’ll Ever Be is the most up beat of the two but Last Heaven feels more like Waterparks as they are, fully progressed. It’s falling in love, or falling into obsession – following that earlier theme – with a soft sweet synth backing. “You could be my last, last heaven. I’ll fly and board, then a hotel check-in. And I’ll watch you dance, until I’m your plans.”
In a lot of the songs there are hints of others, you can find what they progressed into, leaving the demo’s behind. Despite it, as a stand-alone EP, 1 is a stellar offering. It’s a wonder how many more demo’s Knight has locked up that may never see the light of day, though if nothing else 1 proves that it’s near impossible for Waterparks to produce a bad song. They are a powerhouse of talent that is unparalleled right now, honing in on their own niche.