Following their years-long alphabetical theme, Waterparks has released their third full-length album “Fandom.” Less than a year after the completion of their “Entertainment” tour, the album has fans ready for the next one.
While “Fandom” retains the trio’s usual pop-punk sound, it experiments in territories of a more digital sound with songs like “Dream Boy,” “High Definition” and “I Felt Younger When We Met,” which concludes the album.
The interesting sound is worth noting, but the album’s shining glory comes from the lyrics. Singer Awsten Knight is mainly responsible for the writing of these tracks and showed his abilities off with criticisms on society and the treatment of musicians from both the media and fans.
In the first single “What What Happens Next,” the chorus sings “You wanna hear my art / but only on your terms,” noting the criticism many artists receive for opening up. In another, “I Miss having Sex but At Least I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore,” a title which rivals Fall Out Boy length, Knight lists out many of the intrusive comments he receives on a near-daily basis.
“No one cares what I want, just what I’ve got” he sings in the first verse, laying the message out clearly. The rest of the song carries a tone of submission to the lifestyle, repeating “but I think it’s fine, it’s cool.”
The second single, which was released in early August, “Dream Boy” hits on the stereotype of perfect artists who are actually picked apart versions of real people. Knight sings “Build-A-Boy, pick your pieces” and “I was born to be our favorite” in the verses, with an upbeat repetitive chorus.
The tone of the album generally holds this upbeat sound behind more serious lyrics. However, this album features more acoustics or mellow tracks than any of their previous releases.
My personal favorite of the album and the star slow song is “High Definition,” a stripped-down and synth-filled track. Continuing Knight’s focus on self-image in relation to his career, he sings “I need to feel needed and I need it more than I’d let on.”
Even with these comments about negative self-image, Knight manages to show a significant amount of growth from previous albums in his lyrics for “War Crimes.” Fans have noticed the juxtaposition between his recent line, “I saved my own life,” which call back to the line “I think you saved my life” from Entertainment’s “Not Warriors.”
Having been performing for huge crowds of fans for a few years now, Waterparks is beginning to take on a new perspective of their industry. “Fandom” comments on the bands they once looked up to, the fans who haven’t truly cared about them and the norms that want to hold them back.
Coming from a longtime fan, this album lived up to the hype Awsten Knight built up on social media over the last year. Trying a new shift in style and subject was a success for Waterparks, one that will surely be shown to them as they begin the “Fandom” tour in November.