The Back Story
Bowling For Soup recently released the album “Fishin’ For Woos” shortly after the release of “Sorry For Partyin” and very soon after their label, Jive, parted ways with them (and therefore didn’t promote that album correctly). From my understanding Jaret locked himself in a room and knocked out this album about a month after the separation. Being a Bowling For Soup fan for a while now I decided to sit down and take a listen to how this independent release would sound.
My First Thoughts
What I have liked about Bowling For Soup in the past is that it seems that they have found a formula that works for them and they for the most part stuck with it. The formula combines less than serious lyrics with the drive of pop-punk rhythms and what seems like a good group of friends having fun making an album. I was hoping to hear more of that, but still see some progression (after all I’m no longer in high school and neither are they).
My First Listen
Let’s Pretend We’re Not In Love - This is a great way to kick off the album. It features lyrics like “Let’s make this interesting and start all over” which made me wonder if this song is about the Jive departures. This song doesn’t feature the typical Bowling For Soup structure so I was hoping that they were letting me test the water before diving right in.
Girls’s in America – We go from getting out feet wet to diving right into the deep end. This song brings in the typical Bowling For Soup lyrics with the sexual undertones that we have come to love (“Girls in America, I love the way you blow me, away” and we pick up the pace. Let’s hope they keep this going.
S-S-S-Saturday – Here we are with more, typical Bowling For Soup, but this time it’s a song about just hanging out having a good time with your friends on the weekend.
What About Us – A much slower song without the typical running pop-punk guitar rhythm driving the song. The hook to the song is: ” I’ve been sitting feeling sorry for me. I can’t explain how this feels. What about the promises and plans we made, it just feels like we’re giving up. What about me, what about you, what about us?” Again, I could be over-thinking this situation but to me this could be another song written about the Jive situation.
Here’s Your Freaking Song – Back to the Bowling For Soup sound I’m use to…The concept is the girl you have been with for a while keeps asking why you don’t write a song about her. The lyrics have the sarcastic undertone and point out all her problems. The song also does something we have seen before from the band…the “fourth wall” is broken and Jaret talks to the subject and about the song at points to further show that he doesn’t know why he really wrote a song about her.
This Ain’t My Day - This song sounds very familiar to another Bowling For Soup song: On And On (About You) with the phrasing of the lyrics “I didn’t wear a smile today” (“I would buy you flowers every day” in On and On). That’s not a bad thing, Tom Delonge has made a living playing the same 3 chords over and over, just something I noticed.
Smiley Face – To me this is where the album hits a lull. Coming out of the last track I was expecting something with a little more drive behind it. It’s not all bad, as you do get your old-school Bowling For Soup lyrics such as “Why don’t we just get naked” and a bridge explains several different places to get naked.
Turbulence – I was very surprised when I heard this song. It’s a slow acoustic song that seems to have some meaning behind it. I had to double-check to make sure I was still listening to the album. I like this song, but can see how some of their fans won’t because people don’t like change. Again, I could be thinking too much in to this but with lyrics like “If you keep on fighting there’s no where you can’t go,” it could be about the Jive departure.
I’ve Never Done Anything Like This – After I got past the opening lyrics sounding like Smoothing King I really got into this song. It was the much-needed gear change to get the album back to speed. Also, it gets right back into the old-school Bowling For Soup story lines of meeting a girl and getting her naked. Also the female vocals from Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo sounded really good on this track.
Friends Chicks Guitars – Keeping the tempo up we continue the classic Bowling For Soup lyrics about hanging out with your friends, only this time there is no beer.
Guard My Heart – A little gear change here as to me this song has a slight country feel to it. True fans may notice this song as a lesser quality version of it leaked several years ago. Now you get to hear what it sounds like fully recorded and produced.
Graduation Trip – Another acoustic song on the album, but this one is a little different from the others. I want to say that this one sounds like something I expect from the band, since the others sound like something from another band…there’s just something about it between the rhythm and vocals and lyrics that make it fit to me. If Something Corporate did this song it would sound emo, but it works for Bowling For Soup.
My Final Thoughts:
One thing Bowling For Soup does well is write a good hook that can get stuck in your head for days. This album has much of that with songs like “Girls In America, S-S-S-Saturday and I Haven’t Done This Before.” The band also shows that they are moving forward with songs like Turbulence. All in all, I’m very impressed with this independent release and am glad that they can still put out material that we know works for them without interference. There is some musical progression, which should happen when you have been a band for so long (after all you do have to continue to push yourself) but, they didn’t try to reinvent the wheel. It sounds like they took what they know works for them and added to it which for the most part still works.
Spend $10. 00 and buy this album.
Buy Fishin’ For Woos from Amazon