Bowling For Soup are a group that have impacted multiple generations of music fan. Since their emergence onto the scene with Drunk Enough To Dance 22 years ago and their subsequent explosion into the mainstream music lexicon with “Girl All The Bad Guys Want,” the Denton, TX quartet have reveled in bringing jolly pop-punk to the masses.
Having toured the world multiple times, they could conceivably have released multiple greatest hits albums by this point. It’s a testament then, that they continue to churn out original and potent rock anthems, almost three decades after their inception.
Pop Drunk Snot Bread is Bowling For Soup’s 11th studio album, and the opening bell rings with “The Greatest of All Time,” a rowdy and fist-bumping affair. Somewhat reminiscent of if Tenacious D released a pop-punk song, it’s cavalier and euphoric, an emphatic opener.
Jared Reddick & co. have always managed to parlay sophomoric themes with more serious matters, all the while keeping their jovial and hook-a-minute presentation. Pop Drunk Snot Bread continues this theme, but something that becomes evident, from “Hello Anxiety” and throughout the album is the more frequent bleeding in of more contemplative topics, from mental health to the fear of growing up and the tedium of day to day life.
This slightly more reflective Bowling For Soup is on show with the likes of “The Best We Can,” the track evoking the increasing wisdom of the Texan outfit. “The day I realized you’re not perfect, was the best day of the rest of our lives” hits particularly true. “Burn Out” insists on keeping life fun throughout the toils and pressures of adulthood, whilst “Getting Old Sucks (But Everyone’s Doing It), one of the stars of the show, expresses a joyful—if slightly rueful—acceptance of the passing of time, as well as a few fun shots at modern music and, of course, Tik Tok.
No Bowling For Soup album would be complete without a spread of adoring homages to a dexterous array of celebrities. A typically irreverent, biographical piece, “I Wanna Be Brad Pitt” draws on the actor’s life in the tabloids whilst reflecting on his storied filmography to hilarious effect “…always eating in the Oceans Movies, criticized for his accent in Snatch and then won an Oscar for beating up Bruce Lee.”.
Joining Pitt, as well as country music star June Carter Cash, in the firing line is “Alexa Bliss.” The nod to the WWE superstar also happens to be one of the standout tracks on the LP, a true demonstration of Bowling For Soup’s abundantly catchy, perennially immersive and deliciously moreish pop-punk stylings. Bowling For Soup played a set at the recent, real-life wedding of Bliss, and the connection clearly runs deep, with lyrics such as “why can’t every girl be more like Alexa Bliss, how can a kick on TV make me feel like this.”
“Killin’ Em With Kindness” takes aim at the hypocrisy of politicians and social media, imploring people to show more empathy, regardless of ones’ views. This, in a nutshell, is what has given Bowling For Soup such staying power, in the midst of the dick jokes and pee breaks, they’ve always promoted fun, friendliness, and frivolity in a relatable manner, all the while wrapped in a scrumptious ball of melodic rock.
The back end of the album is ruled by nostalgia. Tearjerker “Wouldn’t Change A Thing” looks back on the time since—you guessed it—1985 and “The Letter 3” (Sitcom Song) mulls over how George Clooney emerged onto our screens. and does so with Bowling For Soup’s trademark, frank, and tongue-in-cheek brand of storytelling. “After All These Beers” is a perfect wrap, a defiant reminiscing on a life, a career lived the right way.
Feel-good music is few and far between in the modern era, and Bowling For Soup show why they should continue to be treasured in the scene. Pop Drunk Snot Bread is the perfect blend of raucous and wise, a lengthy, but playful collection emblazoned with heart.
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