The Bouncing Souls - How I Spent My Summer Vacation
Record Label: Epitaph Records
Release Date: May 22nd, 2001
By the time 2001 came around, New Jersey's The Bouncing Souls already had a catalog of punk rock tracks that defined independence. They're a band who goes by the philosophy of D.I.Y., and since 1989, they've done an incredible job of doing so. But just as things were going great for the group, the decision came in late '99 to kick out Shal Khichi, who at the time, was their original drummer and childhood friend. The following year the band made a decision to bring in Murphy's Law drummer, Michael McDermott, and since then, the band has had a new life and sound ahead of them. After hearing 2001's How I Spent My Summer Vacation, you might have thought that bands like Blink 182, Good Charlotte, and MxPx perfected the "pop-punk" sound, but The Bouncing Souls begged the differ and literally took it back.
"I put that record on just to make a sound
The rhythm hit get my movement off the ground
The soundtrack of what i want to be
If i want to change the world, it's gotta start with me.
I put the needle on the record and play that song again"
This is how the album begins, with singer Greg Attonito's heartfelt lyrics and amazing voice to sing the words with. "That Song" kicks off a whole new chapter to The Bouncing Souls' legacy and leaves you begging for more after two minutes. The catchy rhythm gets you ready for the rest of the album's 32 minutes. McDermott's talents behind the kit leaves you wondering if it's humanly possible for a single person to drum with so much aggression and never miss a single beat (I've seen these guys over 20 times since he's been their drummer and the guy's never messed up once). The next song, "Private Radio" is about music in general and that feeling you get when you know that if all else fails, you've still got your favorite band's music to cheer you up. The first two tracks indulge you with just a sample of what lies ahead. Make no mistake about it, if you've made it this far, there's no turning back.
"True Believers" is the song all the punk rock icons of the 70s and 80s were trying to write, but kept messing up. If anyone has heard a better anthem song in their lives, I'm dying to know who it's from, because after 8 years, this IS the definition of an anthem. This is where Attonito shines, lyrically, because I've yet to see anyone else write such a hooky song with such heart-felt emotion. I'd share a lyric or two with you, but everyone should at least hear this song once in their lives. If you call yourself a music fan, better yet a punk fan, then go to youtube and listen.
The album continues to deliver such fast-paced songs that makes you wonder how Attonito can keep up ("Better Life", "Lifetime") and slower songs that resemble choices and life as a whole ("That Something Special", "Broken Record"), but "Manthem" is one of the album's shining moments. This is the song you want to listen to when it's Friday night, you and your friends are looking for something to do, so you put on "Manthem" and start roaming the city, bar to bar, dollars to quarters. It essentially gets you in the mood to just go out and have fun. It's motivation at it's best (whenever the song's played live, the band has everyone get up on stage and just let loose).
At the end of the day there's a reason I consider this my favorite album of all time. The Bouncing Souls are a band that doesn't sing about politics or relationship woes; they're a band who plays music to make kids and heroes like you and me happy forever. If everyone listened to The Bouncing Souls, there would be no need for war and hate would be a thing of the past. Never heard The Bouncing Souls before? I strongly urge you to begin with this. If The Beatles made a name for Rock n' Roll and Run DMC made a name for Hip Hop, then this is Punk's name being called from a distance.