“Twenty years, that’s a lot of beers.”
To celebrate their whopping 20 years as a band, pop punk veterans Bowling For Soup compiled an album chock full of re-recorded hits and fan favorites from the first-half of their accomplished career. Appropriately titled Songs People Actually Liked, Vol. 1 – The First Ten Years (1994-2003), the record was funded by fans through a PledgeMusic campaign early last year and is sure to evoke some serious 90s nostalgia.
The album begins with “Last Rock Show” and “Suckerpunch,” two high-energy tracks the set the tone for the angsty, old school punk rock record to come. “Suckerpunch” is the first in a long line of songs about malicious girls breaking the hearts of the Bowling For Soup crew, and it creates a classic formula of uptempo guitar lines and clever, quirky lyrics that BFS songs follow religiously. Tracks like “Girl All the Bad Guys Want,” “Life After Lisa,” and “The Bitch Song” are prime examples of the BFS heartbreak lament, but surprisingly, the similar lyric structure detailing a cruel relationship backed by a heavy guitar line doesn’t get old. In fact, it grows more charming as the album progresses.
But not every breakup can end with a witty lyric; songs like “Emily” and “Scope” feature a more sensitive side of the group, touching more on the loneliness aspect of lost love. Interestingly enough, even the more dreary songs still remain upbeat in tempo; guitars still roar, and drums continue to pound and clash. Quintessential 90s punk rock, and it’s awesome.
Like every band verging on pop punk or punk rock, BFS have their share of party-themed songs featured on this album. The most notable is “Punk Rock 101,” a wit-fueled punk anthem with a catchy chorus that is sure to get your head banging. The lyrics poke fun at the punk scene, but ooze with an honesty fans can relate to. It’s a fun track that stands out for its charm and energy (Warning: It WILL be stuck in your head for days after listening).
The final song is “Twenty Years (That’s a Lot of Beers),” a new track paying tribute to the band’s wild 20 years as a band. It’s a soft acoustic number, but carries the same level of high energy and enthusiasm that makes BFS so great. Serving as the perfect album closer, it lets us know this band will be around for the long haul. After all, they kinda already have.
Buy it, Stream it, Skip it: Stream It. Spotify is a gem.