Miina McCown/The Broadside
This isn’t a compilation of old hits, no. But the pop-rock band Waterpark’s fourth studio album might as well be a greatest hits release. Wrestling with the pressures of fame and paranoia as well as other common themes throughout their discography. Throughout the 17-track chaotic yet heartfelt journey, Waterparks tries their hand at emo rap, stadium rock, chaotic hyper pop and bedroom pop ballads.
Those familiar with the group’s music would know that no two releases have been the same, each album or EP flaunting its own unique sound and themes. With more of an experimental and genre-defying feel than ever before, “Greatest Hits” is no exception, frontman Awsten Knight stating that they had “opened the door to be able to do anything” in an interview with Kerrang! magazine.
Opening with an eccentric one-and-a-half-minute title track and taking on a hazy feel, Knight sings, “Last night I had the strangest dream of all…” before a voice declares, “These are your greatest hits,” slowly building up the instrumental intensity and hitting the ground running in track 2, “Fuzzy,” straight into a fast-paced chaotic mesh of dance funk and pop-rock.
Track 3, 2020 single “Lowkey as Hell” as well as an explosive track 4, “Numb” convey similar attitudes; expressing that others seem to only enjoy him when he is depressed. “I think people like me better when I’m hurt inside,” he sings in track 3 and “you only like me when I’m numb” in track 4.
“Violet!” and “Snow Globe” take a different turn. With more of a hyper pop feel, Knight hints at being stalked by a psychotic partner, referencing Steven King’s novel “Misery” from the perspective of the lover. “Snow Globe” begins with a chilling isolated piano riff before going into a steady RNB-inspired rhythm and expressing paranoia.
Track 7, “Just Kidding,” goes back to Knight’s bleak thoughts through minor-key melodies and pop sensible rhythm guitar before launching into “The Secret Life of Me,” a polar opposite upbeat tirade of eccentric rap verses and gorgeously understated vocals and production.
Tracks 9, 10 and 12 all once again play their parts in showing Waterpark’s pop-punk roots through guitar-driven mashups of stadium rock and hints of EDM-inspired sounds. “Fruit Roll-Ups,” track 11 goes into a softer direction, expressing fondness through a lo-fi ballad.
Track 16, titled “Ice Bath,” almost feels as if one is descending into a tub filled with ice. In the beginning instrumentals morphe from a mysterious and hazy sequence repeating the very first phrase of track one, creating the audio equivalent of a descend into cold darkness. This song is certainly one of the more experimental sounds of the release.
Track 17, titled “See You In The Future” ends the album with a bang, rapping about everything from Elon Musk to Michael Scott from “The Office,” combining aspects from all genres featured throughout the other tracks. It was a brave direction to take in ending the album, and it played its role in reflecting the spontaneity and raw energy of the group.
All in all, “Greatest Hits” is one for taking the listener through a wild, but undeniably fun and passionate ride. The album can be found on any music streaming platform, and is sure to be enjoyed by anyone looking for some refreshing new songs.