Waterparks is back with their third studio album “FANDOM.” This is the first album Waterparks have released since signing to Hopeless Records, the switch having been for the better. This album features Waterparks 2.0. They are writing and releasing music on their terms and the way they want to.
The album may make you question its content; the cover features an orange in front of a green tile background, but worry not. The music is worth the listen.
The album opens with “Cherry Red,” an electronic track that could be mistaken as a b-side off of The 1975’s “I Like It When You Sleep…” However, that is not a knock against Waterparks. The track is bold and leaves you wanting to hear the rest.
Next is “Watch What Happens Next.” This song was the second single released during this album cycle. In the song, Awsten Knight (vocals, guitar) talks about a side of the music industry that isn’t seen by many. He calls out his label for not paying what they owe him, addressing how Knight believes many critics feel that Waterparks doesn’t deserve the recognition they’ve gotten over the last few years.
Track three is called “Dream Boy.” This 80’s synth-pop-inspired tune continues the upbeat tone in the record. Here, Knight asks the listener if he is what they’ve been dreaming of. This references how some of their fans only want certain pieces from the band; the perfect ones. While he knows other fans, especially those who have been around since the start, don’t spend time picking and choosing the parts of the band they want or like.
Then “Easy to Hate” comes on. This is the first song on the album that tackles the topic of Knight’s ex-girlfriend Ciara Hanna. Knight uses the metaphor of traffic lights to explain how he saw the warning signs that he should leave, but ignored them and stayed with her anyway.
Track five, “High Definition” shows a different, almost muted side to Knight, who is known for being loud and out there. Knight sings about how his previous relationship has led him to not trust people as easily as he once did and also has him beating himself up. The second verse goes, “I know I’m not around enough to make me worth the wait/ It’s like who wants to be close with someone who always goes away?” Knight questions his own self worth while he laments that he doesn’t love this person enough “to write a love song.”
The lead single “Turbulent” is the weakest track lyrically on the album. The other songs’ metaphors and references overshadow this one far too easily.
The song “Never Bloom Again” shows another vulnerable side to Knight. The song chronicles how he struggles to find love after getting his heartbroken in his previous relationship.
The standard version of the album closes with “I Felt Younger When We Met.” The electronic vibes are present once again in this track, along with mentions of a relationship. This song specifically talks about how Knight put so much effort into his last relationship that he almost lost a part of himself when she left. Knight struggles with still loving her even though what she did to him broke his heart.
This album was a way for the band as a whole to get any feelings, whether it be about their former label or a relationship, off their chest. It may not be an album for everyone, but it is the antidote to those who are going through the same situations.