Pop punk has fluctuated in and out of popularity over the decades. There have been a number of high profile artists in the course of its history, though many of them seem to have had their heyday in the late ’90s or early ’00s. There has been a recent resurgence of high quality pop punk over the last few years, and the latest hopefuls to join the fray are the Denver-based quartet Head Injuries. Since their inception they’ve self-released two full-length albums and one EP. Their latest album, Bail, just hit shelves a couple of weeks ago. The band may still be under the radar, but that didn’t stop them from pouring their hearts into this new record.
Some of the best pop punk tracks are the ones that are fun and generally involve partying. Well, that is what the second track off Bail has to offer. “Party Foul” is an infectious song that makes you want to throw a house party and dance all night. It has a huge pop influence, and it reminds me of Pit Bull and Ke$ha’s “Timber.” This is probably the only true “party” song on the entire album, though they do sing about being hungover (“Hangover Song”).
“Lowlife” has one of the catchiest choruses on the entire album. It’s a new spin on the “I’m a punk rocker and you’re a beauty queen” song. They sing about being a lowlife punk rock kid who’s trying to win the heart of a girl who sports Gucci purses and is dating a wealthy douchebag. The song has some really catchy verses that will repeat in your head over and over again. It’s a little on the cheesy side, but that isn’t a problem. The album isn’t too cheesy overall, so some cheesiness here and there doesn’t hurt.
For the most part, the band is more pop than punk, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have some punk rock moments. “Get Buck Or Die Trying” is a great example of the band completely letting loose their inner punk rocker. It’s fast paced and can easily be something fans can mosh to during a show. They are a mix of new school and old school. Their music reminds me of bands I used to listen to when I was a kid – Simple Plan, Blink-182, New Found Glory, etc. Their lyrics aren’t overly complicated, and easily relatable. They are a lot more relatable if you are on the younger side too. There’s a ton of energy and they clearly have a ton of passion for what they do.
“Swift Exit” has multiple Taylor Swift song references. I listened to the song about six or seven times before it occurred to me that it wasn’t a coincidence when they said “…we are never ever getting back together.” It’s quite clever, actually – and relatively subtle. You will hear some of her most popular songs mentioned like “Shake It Off,” “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “You Belong With Me” and “Blank Space.” They cleverly weaved the song titles in with the rest of the lyrics so they don’t sound out of place. It’s only noticeable because those songs happen to be popular.
“Loserkid” is my personal favorite song. It’s a song that just about anyone (especially teens and young adults) can relate to. The lyrics are honest, reflective and unforgettable. If you have ever felt like the odd kid out in your school or even in your group of friends then this is a track that might appeal to you. It’s a relatable subject that most people, especially those who are into alternative music, can understand and level with. It doesn’t hurt that they lyrics are fun to sing along to.
Bail is about memories, love and growing up. Summer is a great season for solid pop punk albums, and this is one that should be added to your library. Put on some headphones, hit the skatepark and jam the album over and over again. Head Injuries prove that pop punk is still alive and well. It’s a fun loving album that’s bursting with life. It has songs that sound like they belong on the radio, and some others that would fit right in at a punk show. The only foreseeable issue with it is its ability to reach a larger audience. If older fans want to feel nostalgic this is something they can certainly pick up…but they might just go for something they grew up with instead. As the band develops and the members have new life experiences, we may see a gradual change in the focus of their lyrics. (Kriston McConnell)