Recommended Tracks: Easy To Hate, High Definition, Worst
Artists You May Like: As It Is, Marianas Trench, All Time Low
Turn off all of the lights, silence your cell phone, and LISTEN ALONE.
For the past couple of months, Waterparks have been busy instructing their fans on the correct way to take in their third studio album, FANDOM. The boys are known for keeping things extra and playful, so it seemed a little unusual for them to give such earnest advice. Listen alone? In the dark? Clearly, there are some things that Waterparks want to clarify with their fandom, which needs to be done without social media and without other opinions. So, put away your phone, tell your friends that you’re busy, and listen up. Waterparks is not here for your entertainment anymore.
Most of the music on a typical Waterparks song helps drive the track and enhance the lyrics. This is definitely the case on the first track, “Cherry Red,” but this is also the first time where the music really has its own “moment” on a Waterparks song. Just seconds after the track begins, you are hit with a dramatic production of sound, making it seem like this might just be a creative instrumental. We soon learn that this is not the case, as Awsten comes in with lyrics that illuminate the topics that are going to be discussed on this album.
One of these topics deals with the notion of being seen as an object instead of an actual person. For instance, on “Watch What Happens Next” and “I Miss Having Sex But At Least I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore,” Awsten recounts the times that fans have been a little too pushy and demanding. He sings, “Let me get this straight / you want a say in / how well I live, / if my life’s okay” and mocks “Can you text / and can you follow back ‘cause it’s my birthday?” The problem with being a performer is that people expect you to please them all of the time, in whatever way possible. Eventually, they start to expect too much and it takes a toll. Awsten and all of the other musicians out there are very real – please remember to treat them as such.
As if to help instill this concept of reality, FANDOM contains several tracks that completely mess with your emotions. Some of these tracks are spiteful, such as “Worst” and “Turbulent,” where Awsten expresses how he feels about someone who did him very wrong. There are also the tracks that are a little more defeated, such as “War Crimes” and “I Felt Younger When We Met,” where we hear about feeling lonely and insecure. Regardless of whether you have experienced similar situations or not, you cannot help but feel moved.
While we are presented with fresh sounds and innovative melodies on this album, it is evident that this is the same Waterparks that we have known since the beginning. Colors are a big deal with the band and have become significant characters on each album and EP. When Awsten mentions, “You were yellow / but the lights were red” and “You’re not worth my color,” we know exactly what he means. In addition to the color references, there are other “Easter eggs” on FANDOM that fans will appreciate – words and phrases, such as “sleep alone” and “feel it too,” that are being used again to reshape a story or explain an experience. All of these small elements work together to bring a greater meaning to the album as a whole.
After listening to FANDOM, it makes sense why you should listen to it alone, in the dark, and without your phone. If you are not dialed into each track, you will miss the things that make the album special, such as “Group Chat.” Waterparks have really outdone themselves and they should feel very proud. It is one of my favorite albums of 2019.
You can stream FANDOM on sites such as Spotify and Apple Music.
You can catch Waterparks on their FANDOM tour here.