Waterparks’ Double Dare

Perfect poppy pop-punk that is self-aware of the genre and reinvigorates it


Double Dare, Equal Vision Records (c) 2016

Pop-punk: it’s a bit of a contradiction in and of itself. Pop music is made for the masses, while punk music rejects the mainstream and conformity, yet the genre of pop-punk exists and has indeed developed over time. The most recent wave of mainstream pop-punk occurred in the early- to mid-2000s with bands like Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory, Paramore, All Time Low, and even blink-182 and Green Day. Some of these bands were also influenced by emo, and their popularity helped to define this new kind of pop-punk. However, it was ultimately a trend that oversaturated the market and died out by the late-2000s. The pop-punk community never ceased to exist, and there are still plenty of exciting bands, but everybody is still waiting for (or trying to be) the group to bring the genre back into the spotlight, and Waterparks could very well be that group.Their debut from Equal Vision Records, Double Dare, is one of my three favorite albums of 2016; its diversity makes it accessible to a wide audience, and the band’s clever wordplay is always entertaining, often disarming, and actually definitive of the idea of “punk.” Continue reading “Waterparks’ Double Dare”

We were staying in Paris…

The new Chainsmokers single is not as simple as you think it is

Featured image taken from The Chainsmoker’s “Paris” music video. Disruptor Records/Columbia Records (c) 2017.

With the exception of instrumental and orchestral music, most songs have the same structure, no matter what genre it is: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. Sometimes there are extra verses, pre-choruses, and post-choruses, but the general structure typically follows this routine pattern. EDM-pop duo The Chainsmokers (often portrayed by the media as America’s favorite over-aged frat boys) follow this outline — as most artists do — but they seem to have developed their own formula ever since the success of their single, “Closer,” which has peaked at number 1 and spent 24 weeks overall on the Billboard Hot 100 as of today. Their newest single, “Paris,” utilizes this formula, but while previous singles “All We Know” and “Setting Fires” fell flat, this one works and has an abundance of potential success at radio.  Continue reading “We were staying in Paris…”

Jon Bellion’s The Human Condition

A modern pop masterpiece that is strikingly honest

Jon Bellion’s The Human Condition, released on June 10 from Capitol Records, is a vibrant and colorful pop record that is disarming in how brutally honest it is. Bellion offers commentary on individualism as defined by consumerism, acknowledges his struggle to unquestionably trust in God, and continuously reflects on his loneliness, success, and self-worth. He paints vivid images with his clever and sometimes unsettling lyricism, but all of this is presented through ridiculously catchy pop songs. Yet it must be noted that this album sounds nothing like the current pop landscape; Bellion is a master of space, and his music leans more towards pop-rock than EDM. Overall, this was one of my favorite albums of 2016, and the texture and emotion behind the music demonstrates that Bellion is a refreshing tour de force to be taken seriously.  Continue reading “Jon Bellion’s The Human Condition”