Saturday, 24 October 2009

62: Review - Sorry For Partyin'

Sorry For Partyin' by Bowling for Soup
2009, Jive Records (USA), A&G Records (UK)

And so, Bowling For Soup return after 2006's The Great Burrito Extortion Case. But they haven't been sitting on their arses; they've been gigging more or less constantly over that time, including a tour for last year's live DVD (which most bands use an excuse not to tour), as well as celebrating their 15th anniversary and appearing on Phineas and Ferb.
Sorry For Partyin' is the band's 10th studio album (there are shitloads of extra BFS tracks around if you look for them).

Track by Track:

01 A Really Cool Dance Song
A powerful opening track, with plenty of sly digs at bands who change their sound to suit a demographic or just sell more records. The only thing I don't get is... it doesn't sound like a "dance" song to me. Maybe it's a USA/UK thing, but dance music in the UK doesn't have any guitars, let alone distorted ones. It also rarely has the structure of a rock song, and (IMHO) doesn't have the personality of a BFS track. I spoke to Jaret earlier this week and mentioned my confusion, and he said the song's basically aimed at The Killers. Still not what I'd call "dance", but fair enough! That aside, a great song.

02 No Hablo Inglés
This is the second 'push' song from the album, which is what I think of as an instant BFS classic; which is to say that you love it before you've finished listening to it for the first time. A great party track, and one that the guys will be playing for years to come.

03 My Wena
This track was the first single from the album, the video for which featured a young lady in a seven-foot winkie costume. While this didn't bother me at all, I know some people thought that BFS had finally taken the joke a little too far. I know the band have had some difficulty in getting the video played on TV and had to make a 'clean' version of the video, so there may be something in that.
Video aside, you have to admire a song that's basically a massive double-entendre, and other than the phrase "take a look at my Wena", manages to stay on the side of playful innocence for the entire track.
Apart from anything else, this track serves as a great "f--- off" to the people that were moaning about BFS becoming sanitised and doing too many songs for Disney.

04 Only Young
Not too sure about this one. Lyrics and melody are sound, but it's not a big ballad, and it's not a humourous song; and those are the things that BFS do best. And while I know that the line "we're only young" is metaphorical, I can't shake off the knowledge that they're the same age as me. While I'm certainly immature (quite possibly more than BFS), even I can't pass myself off as young any more...

05 I Don't Wish You Were Dead Anymore
This is what I'm talking about! By the time the second verse had begun, I knew this was going to be one of my favourite BFS songs. Insanely catchy rock'n'roll with a humourous base-statement. I love this track. Beautiful chord progressions and harmonies, too, which shows what a great bunch of songwriters and musicians Bowling For Soup are.

I found this one very reminiscent of the tracks on ...Burrito. Again, it's very catchy, and has a fantastic positive message "it's not gay to tell your best friend that you love them - not that there's anything wrong with being gay".
This song is one of the tracks that sums up BFS. Excellent.

07 Me With No You
The only real ballad on the album (which is surprising, because there are also two very solid ones that didn't make the final list in Goodbye Friend and Everything to Me). It'd be a dis-service to call this 'by the numbers', but it is everything you've come to expect from a BFS ballad. Took me a couple of listens to get into, but I'm good with it now.

08 Hooray For Beer
Another one that took me a couple of listens to really grasp, which is surprising considering this is a fan-favourite. Hooray for Beer is exactly what you think it is; a love-song to man's favourite beverage. While I agree with the sentiment, I think there are stronger party-tunes than this on the album.

09 America (Wake Up Amy)
The one that's causing the most confusion at the moment. BFS have never been known for writing political songs, so people are understandably scratching their heads at the line "Wake up America, I don't wanna fight anymore". The song's written with America being 'a beautiful girl', which leads me to the conclusion that if it is a metaphor, it's a bit heavy handed, and if it's not a metaphor, it's too confusing. Apparently when you import the CD into iTunes, the bracketed part comes up as "Wake up Army", which muddies the waters even more...

10 If Only
Another grower here; initially weird because there's no 'proper' verse, just a series of answerphone messages. Weird on a second level because the answerphone messages turn out to be the humourous part of the song while the choruses are straight. Musically great though. Once you know it, you love it.

11 I Gotchoo
If I had to pick a weak-track, I'm afraid this would be the one. Nothing wrong with the track in itself, it's just a different sound for BFS. Think of a cross between Heaven is a half-pipe by OPM and Butterfly by Crazy Town. Yeah, both of those songs are from 2001. Just before BFS broke through with Girl All The Bad Guys Want. I'm not entirely sure why they're going for this sound now, especially when they've already done a track on the album about changing your sound to attract a different crowd?
It's not a "bad" track, it just seems out of place here.

12 Love Goes Boom
This one is underrated, it's being overshadowed by other tracks on the album which shout louder. Musically this is fantastic, with a great 'slow-down' chorus and some killer riffs. When I call this a great 'album-track', it's not playing the song down; I know it hasn't got the personality to be a single, but this is BFS intensity at its best.

13 I Can't Stand L.A.
Along with track 5, this is my other 'instant favourite' of the album. Noisy, jumpy and funny, this is Bowling for Soup. They manage to slag off an entire city in a way that won't offend any of their fans who live there. Marvellous.

14 Belgium (Polka)
Ooh, and another version of Belgium; always welcome! I do love this song, although I didn't like the boy-band version they did on ...Hangover, and we didn't get it at all on ...Burrito, so this is a very pleasant surprise! It's definitely an 'end of the night when everybody's drunk' song, and it helps if you know the original(s), but this is fantastic - never gets old!

Summary: A grower of an album for me. Slightly stronger than ...Burrito, but not as good as ...Hangover. There are a lot of great b-sides which didn't make the album, so I can imagine choosing the tracklist must have been a bitch. Looking forward to hearing these tracks live. If you've not heard any BFS, this is as good a place as any to start!
8.5 out of 10

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