ALBUM REVIEW: Bowling for Soup - Pop Drunk Snot Bread

8/10

ALBUM REVIEW: Bowling for Soup - Pop Drunk Snot Bread

How did Bowling for Soup come up with the title Pop Drunk Snot Bread for their latest eleventh LP? The Texas-based quartet wanted to base the title around the “Pop Punk’s Not Dead” theme. When drummer Gary Wiseman came up with the title Pop Drunk Snot Bread, this was their eureka moment where they also connected with the roots and essence of the band itself.

After all, the word “Drunk” features on many of Bowling for Soup's previous album titles, including 2002’s Drunk Enough to Dance, 2004’s A Hangover You Don’t Deserve, and 2013’s Lunch. Drunk. Love and their last 2016 LP, Drunk Dynasty. Whilst Bowling for Soup seldom offers evolution to their pop-punk musical template, Pop Drunk Snot Bread is, in many places, an intellectual effort with profound philosophy addressing mental health, how to be comfortable with yourself and how to avoid and remove toxic people from your life.

Opening with “Greatest of All Time”, this powerful, confident, authentic anthem with a youthful essence showed how Bowling for Soup evolved “from revolution (and) became an institution” to celebrating being the “first band you listened to that cussed” to helping “forget about the bad stuff”. The Queen-like anthem melody two minutes in will undoubtedly help make this a modern Bowling for Soup live staple.

The energy continues with the band's latest single, "I Wanna Be Brad Pitt." The song's video features the band dressing up as the actor, as well as Pitt's regular stand-in, Cyrus Hobbi. The album's first single, "Alexa Bliss", was released in 2020 and its video features the WWE Wrestler of the same name and Jaret Reddick's son. The song explores how one can compliment a female's talent and attractiveness without awkwardness. Furthermore, Bowling for Soup gets a bonus point for not mentioning the Amazon device which shares Bliss’ forename.

Frontman Jaret Reddick has been a fantastic ambassador for speaking up about his mental health challenges and the coping mechanisms he uses to stay focused whilst offering advice to others. Without being verbose and dropping in elongated medical terminology. Bowling for Soup, through an upbeat melody, explains the challenges lyrically with “Hello, Hello Anxiety. It really sucks to see you” whilst showing how one can face anxiety with “Let’s try again today. Surprisingly I feel ok. Soaking up the sunshine. I guess the meds are working fine”.

Through an almost New Found Glory pop-punk backdrop, Bowling for Soup addresses their mortality and maturing with “Getting Old Sucks (But Everybody’s Doing It”) from physical changes, social media platforms including TikTok (which the band has embraced) and how “All the movies are cartoons and remakes of shit…”. “Burn Out” stresses the importance of cutting ties with phonies and toxic negative people, whilst “Killin’ ‘Em With Kindness” addresses how traditional media formats have become more negative whilst heeding warnings against how hate spreads virally through social media along with how Bowling for Soup sees how religion poses societal challenges. From singing about negativity, Bowling for Soup celebrate themselves through the All American Rejects sounding “After All The Beers,” where they acknowledge how blessed they are that, for the most part, they have been able to pursue things that they have wanted to do.

Through the only acoustic ballad on this LP and the only song that breaks through the four-minute barrier, “The Best We Can”, Bowling for Soup offers the best advice they could give to anyone who is struggling to accept themselves and others through the lyric: “The day I realised you’re not perfect was the best day of the rest of our lives”. “Wouldn’t Change A Thing” also stands out musically from its acoustic opening and “Summer Of '69” backdrop, which lists Bowling for Soup’s achievements, including “1985”, the band members settling down and having families and acknowledging that zoom as a contemporary reference is not a TV show.

While Bowling for Soup has not made a musical evolution throughout their 28 years as Radiohead has through their back catalogue, this has never been their plan or a promise to their fans. The band has promised to be fun and honest and help people get through life’s challenges. Bowling for Soup has fulfilled their commitments to fans and all people facing anxiety and mental health challenges through Pop Drunk Snot Bread.

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