the sounds of 2021 on shuffle
After three hyperactive punk-pop albums that saw singer Awsten Knight tackle millennial angst without any filter, Waterparks’ fourth album is boldly called “Greatest Hits.” The track might appeal to fans and haters alike, but rather than playing it safe and unleashing a handful of uptempo, radio-compatible bangers (or actually a compilation of their greatest songs) “ Greatest Hits ” is rather a 17-track epic in which they hand them over to emo-rap, stadium rock, club floor-fillers, chaotic hyperpop and lo-fi confessionals. It looks like 2021 in random mode.
Struggling with the pressures of fame and general existence, Knight details the emotions of feeling overwhelmed (“I wish I was dead sometimes so I wouldn’t have to check my phone”) Although subsequently undermines the glaring vulnerability with a “I laugh”; it is up to the listener to discern the sincerity of either of these messages. The sun and irony “ Lowkey As Hell ” (or maybe not) sees Knight referring to his issues as “Drake Problems” and ‘See You In The Future’ asks the question “What is a merger between friends?”. It is the maximum millennial apathy.
Its 47 minute battery life might seem intimidating, but there is a sense of urgency to “Greatest Hits”. ‘LIKE IT’ is a swashbuckling hip-hop anthem that comes with an arrogant punk attitude, ‘Ice Bath’ echoes the title song’s dreamy opening but sees it through a horror filter as’ Fruit Roll Ups is a sweet dollop of romance, topped with glitching synths and 6-part vocal harmony, courtesy of Dallon Weekes of IDKHow.
Even the familiar is cool. “ American Graffiti ” is a cutting-edge pop-punk slice that’s not afraid to get heavy, while the moody arena-rock rage of “ You’d Be Paranoid Too (If Everyone Was Out To Get You) ” sees Waterparks turn into a supergroup with appearances from My Chemical Romance’s Mikey Way, Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba and popstar De’Wayne.
Despite the many directions in which “Greatest Hits” is loaded and the many styles they combine, this album never feels like bad cover versions. Guitar bands have been talking about making music out of the genre for over a decade, but this record really shows what that freedom looks like. Instead of celebrating the past, “Greatest Hits” opens the door to what’s to come.