Sunday, 15 May 2011

149: Track by Track - Fishin' For Woos

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety.  Reader discretion is advised.

And so, 2011 gives us the 11th studio album from Texas' Bowling For Soup, Fishin' For Woos.

This was originally going to be an EP released last October, but various issues pushed it back, and it became the new album. So as not to disappoint the fans too much, BFS released a few of the tracks early, staggered over ensuing months. We also found out that one of the tracks was a song they've been playing for a few years but never got to putting on an album. What this means is, it's hard to be objective about the whole album because I already know four of the tracks off by heart.

Anyhoo, here's a breakdown of Fishin' For Woos

1. Let's Pretend We're Not In Love
This was one of the preview tracks (via the street team). Love it to bits! Classic BFS, if not usual single-material, it's got a steady pounding beat, great melody and harmonies, and nicely flowing lyrics. This is a fave of mine now, and I look forward to seeing it live.
Stand-out track!

2. Girls In America
Another corker. A fast, rocking track about the ladies of the USA. Again, classic BFS, harkening back to the days of Drunk Enough To Dance, with slightly lighter production. This will be another good one for the live shows if you feel like jumping around for three minutes.

3. S-S-S-Saturday
This is the first proper single from the album. As a song it's pretty great, but personally I don't think it's one of the strongest tracks on the album. There's no doubt that it's a great live-anthem though (I saw BFS play two acoustic shows in April and it worked even in that setting). I'm not sure why it doesn't gel properly with me, but it almost feels too restrained for The Soup. Probably just me.

4. What About Us
The first ballad of the album, and it's an instant attention-grabber. Again, the style of the song is classic BFS in the mould of Where to Begin and When We Die (I'm pretty sure that the three-word-combo / beginning-with-W is just a massive coincidence). Normally, this would be a stand-out, but there's a track later that trumps this, no matter how much I love it. Particularly liked the lyrical reference to losing keys in a snowstorm on Christmas Eve. This was a tale that BFS' Jaret told on an episode of his podcast at the beginning of the year. It's easter eggs like that which geek me the fuck out.

5. Here's Your Freakin' Song
From drama, straight to comedy, it's what BFS do best. This one's cut from the same cloth as Scaring Myself and Luckiest Loser, about a girl who's an absolute pain in the arse. With a steady tempo, it's a stomper rather than a jumper, and there are plenty of shouty sing-along lines as well as the title.

6. This Ain't My Day
This one hasn't quite bedded in with me yet. Musically I love it, but I can't get my head around the lyrics because a lot of the verse-lines don't rhyme. Smashing chorus though, if a little wordy, and it'll be interesting to hear them play it live as that'll be inevitably faster, and it sounds pretty tight as it is…

7. Smiley Face (It's All Good)
Another one that's growing on me but threw me off at first. It remind me of their rendition of 5 O'Clock World from the …Movies album. Also, I'm not sure what it's about, lyrically. It just seems a bit vague to me, and that's not their style. I'd say it's definitely an album-track, but what do I know? I still rate BFS album tracks above most band's singles, so make of that what you will.

8. Turbulence
You know a BFS track is a keeper when you can sing along before the end of your first listen. This happened in Oxford and London in April; goosebumps both times - this song just fucking captivates me (and I know I'm not the only one). It's essentially a massive feelgood ballad. Musically, lyrically, just perfect. It's the band's next single, so you'll be able to look out the video soon.
Stand-out track!

9. I've Never Done Anything Like This
This one was previewed through Jaret's podcast and is another one that just instantly clicked with me. The style of song is closer to their Hangover You Don't Deserve album. Ace melody, harmonies and tempo, and female vocals courtesy of Kay Hanley from Palmdale. Kay's vocals give the song that edge to push it above the other tracks on the album. This is another perma-fave for me.
Stand-out track!

10. Friends, Chicks, Guitars
This was the first track to be released from the album (then, EP) back in Oct'10. As great as it is, I've listened it to death since then and it doesn't feel new at all. The only thing that bugs me about the song is that it's fast and wordy, making it difficult to sing along with. But BFS manage it live, and that's what's important.

11. Guard My Heart
And this is the one we all know and love! Originally recorded back in '05 for the HBO movie Sardines, it made it onto that soundtrack, but never onto an official BFS release. It's long been a live-fave, and now it' s been re-recorded for this album with a much lighter production sound. This song's great, with the lyrics by bass player Erik being on the more introspective side.

12. Graduation Trip
This has a different feel to the other BFS acoustic songs, and I can't quite pin down why. Not a bad thing, by any means, but different certainly. Again, it feels awkward lyrically in places, and while I like the song, it doesn't feel like a BFS song to me (yet). It seems closer in style to the People On Vacation project. Ah well.


13. My Girlfriend's An Alcoholic (iTunes/Bandwear exclusive)
Why didn't this make it onto the album? Reminiscent of Bipolar and Straight to Video, this is one of the best BFS songs that most people won't hear! It's an air-pounder and a great party-track. You can buy this on its own on iTunes (ie, it's not album-only). I recommend you go get this.
Stand-out track!

14. Dear Megan Fox (7" Vinyl exclusive)
Again, a brilliant track! It reminds me of Other Girls (another b-side track). There aren't any Star Wars references on this album (hey, we got two last time round), but because of the subject matter, this song namechecks Megatron, and what the hell could be better than that?
Stand-out track!

15. Evil All Over The World (7" Vinyl exclusive)
This is like a b-side to Girls In America. Again, a fast rocker, but reminding you that all of the great things said about chicks in GIA aren't exactly the whole story. Bonus points for an old-school metal feel for the whole song.
Stand-out track!

16. What About Us? (Acoustic) (from the SXSW4Japan album)
One of the best things about BFS songs is that they generally work as well with an acoustic guitar as they do with a while band playing them. This song is no exception. This is available on iTunes and Amazon as a single track (or you can buy the whole album, it's for an excellent cause). You pretty much know what you're going to get with this, but that's enough for me to buy it.

All in all:

Some jaw-dropping tracks, some great ones, and some that I'm still waiting to bed-in. In all honesty, there are no sub-standard tracks on here, but the boys from Denton do occasionally out-do themselves.

You can buy the old fashioned compact disc from Amazon, HMV or Play. The ultra modern 12" vinyl for your gramophone player is also available at Amazon and HMV. The 7" single with tracks 14 & 15 (above) is on sale at Amazon and HMV .
You could also use one of those olde tyme record shops (if you can find one) to buy your shiny discs of goodness.

If you're living in the 21st century and have no time for the clutter of physical items, you can get magic digital versions of the album from iTunes, Amazon, HMV and Play. Have fun unwrapping your confirmation e-mail, you soulless robot.

Track 14 is available from the ol' iTunes. Track 16 is also at iTunes and Amazon.

There are many, many more outlets selling Fishin' For Woos, but I have neither the time or patience to investigate and link to all of them. It's not difficult to find if you can type. Besides, I already gave you a shit-load of links, what do you want?
Go buy the album!

Is it my favourite Bowling For Soup album? Afraid not.
Does it have some of my favourite Bowling For Soup songs on? Fuck, yeah.

Best lyric: "It's not like I don't understand the ass of Kim Kardashian has powers beyond anyone's control".


• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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