CD Review: Bowling For Soup / Fishin’ For Woos
Reviewed by: Ryan Labbe
A Bowling For Soup album is like an old friend from college that you only see every couple years, but when you do it’s like nothing has changed. They’re still the same; they work a 9 to 5 job that they don’t really like, they party on the weekends, drink a lot of beer, and have the typical relationship issues. I am certainly not against changing things up, but there’s comfort in knowing that with a Bowling For Soup album, you know you’re in for 10 or 12 upbeat rock songs about breaking up, drinking beer, and having a great time. Jaret Reddick (lead vocals, guitars) Erik Chandler (bass, vocals), Chris Burney (guitar, vocals), and Gary Wiseman (drums) have a proven formula for making great pop rock music, and they deliver once again on Fishin’ for Woos, the bands 11th album.
The album’s first single “S-S-Saturday” is a rockin’ ode to the weekend, one that anyone who punches a clock and lives for Saturday night, can identify with. “Punch the clock, right on time, think I’m gonna lose my mind , five o’clock seems like it’s a lifetime away, “ sings Reddick over muted guitars. “But I see the weekend right in front of me.” The chorus is as catchy as anything they’ve ever done, and the hook, “I wish ever night was Saturday night. Here’s to hoping Monday never comes” got stuck in my head after only one listen.
In a similar vein, “Friends Chicks Guitars” is another upbeat track about a weekend party that has everything that a good party should have…well, almost. “We’re always on a mission to finally get it right/The life of the party comes in bottles, cans and pints,” sings Reddick during the bridge. He then rounds off the chorus singing, “The only thing that we forgot is stocking up by 12 o’clock, we’ll never preserve, we’ve got friends, chicks, guitars, and no beer.” It’s a feel good tune that deserves to be played loudly while driving with the windows down.
Things slow down a little with “What about Us,” one of the few slower songs on Fishin’ for Woos. Some muted guitars introduce the song and the verse has a very sparse back beat, as Reddick sings, “I’ve been sitting feeling sorry for me since a week ago last week. I guess maybe I should change my clothes, and wash the lipstick of my cheek.” The band joins, the song picks up steam, but it’s still not quite apparent if the chorus is going to be upbeat or a ballad. As the band slows to half time, we realize it’s the latter. Sings Reddick, “What about the promises and the plans we made? it just feels like we’re giving up. What about me, what about you, what about us?” It’s a gem of a chorus and is a great emotional power ballad with a rockin’ hair band feel.
Other highlights include “Here’s Your Song,” a foot stomping rock song about Reddick finally giving a girlfriend the song she’s always wanted him to write, though the lyrics don’t quite paint the nicest picture of her. “You talk too much, you never shut up, everything I do for you is never enough,” sings Reddick. “This Aint’ My Day,” cleverly utilizes some familiar clichés in the lyrics, and the chorus is one of the finest and catchiest on the album. “I didn’t wear a smile today, I looked up and the all blue skies turned gray. I don’t how I’m, expected to carry on this way, this ain’t my year, this ain’t my week, this ain’t my day.” While lyrically average, its chorus make this song one of the album’s strongest.
Fishin’ For Woos closes with “Graduation Trip” an acoustic tune which utilizes some up-tempo chord strumming and very typical Bowling For Soup lyrics. While I may not have chosen this song to close the album, the reflective nature of its lyrics makes it work. Sings Riddick, “I wonder if it ever crosses your mind, ‘cause I’m afraid it’s something I dwell on all the time. I hear you’re doing amazing, and believe me that makes me smile, but I hope you think of me every once in a while.”
Fishin’ For Woos is a fun rock n’ roll album from start to finish. Bowling For Soup has 11 albums now, and show no signs of stopping. While they may not recreate the popularity of past hits like “Girls that All Bad Guys Want” or “1985,” as long as they keep turning out fun and hook-laden fist pumping rock anthems, I will look forward to every release.