Bowling For Soup - Drunk Enough To Dance
Record Label: FFROE/Silvertone/Jive/Zomba
Release Date: August 6, 2002
Poop. Boobs. Beer. Fart.
I have just accurately described the entire essence of the band known as Bowling For Soup. Or so it would seem, at least. Lead vocalist Jaret Reddick and his team of Texas-based hooligans seem dead set on ruining any respecct they had garnered in their first decade or so of existence. Once upon a time, this band worked hard to produce CD's that felt natural and authentic, regardless of whether or not they were, for lack of a more pretentious word, "funny." Therein lies the band's main problem: they seem to think they have to be funny, which is a big issue when... you know... you're not funny, as the Texas quartet no longer are. But I digress. What is not an issue, is the lasting memory of the band that once was. The band that truly kicked some ass.
Drunk Enough To Dance, the band's 2002 breakthrough, didn't make much of an impression on the "scene" at the time (Simple Plan and Good Charlotte, however, did... go figure) but the lead single "Girl All The Bad Guys Want" helped the band to gain a cult following, resulting in decent sales, a grammy nomination, and confidence to make a worthy followup a few years later. It is an album that is at times juvenile, at times clever, and constantly entertaining.
Drunk Enough To Dance's first song, "I Don't Wanna Rock," provides the listener with very little. Bands and their labels are typically very keen to ensure that a CD is particularly top heavy, complete with an opening number that keeps the listener bobbing their head enough that they'll keep the album on until they've at least reached the first single. Why the hell this song was picked to kick off the LP, then, is beyond me. It is slightly-above-mediocre filler that does not belong as the first track, if it warrants inclusion at all. From there we are introduced to track two, "Emily" Here's the exact sort of song that makes this CD special. It is generic in its subject matter, but shines in its energy and charisma. "It wasn't supposed to be like this / another dose of unhappiness / I gave it all but managed to get shot down yet again." Let me say right now that one of the greatest accomplishments a band can achieve in my eyes is to make seemingly unspectacular lyrics come to life in their delivery. These opening lines do exactly that. When Reddick comes blaring out of the gate with his harsh tones, you know that regardless of the quality of the production, or the brilliance of the songwriting, this band is authentic in their quest to make music that is tongue-in-cheek, immature, and punk. Pop punk, but punk nonetheless. "So I got drunk / had sex with all your friends / you told me that I should never call your house again."
The rest of the album's first half follows a similar trend. They are simple, humble songs drenched in honest humor and raw merriment. This second half is not astronomically different by any means, but after having listened to the CD countless times, the subtle distinctions have become more apparent. This second half of the collection feels slightly more internal rather than external, more about how lost loves effect ones self, rather than the story of each love specifically. They remain consistently catchy, however, and just as simplistically pop punk in their asthetic. I challenge anyone to listen to "Running From Your Dad" and not feel some sort of affection for the darkly humorous tale, whether they'd like to or not.
Drunk Enough To Dance is not a masterpiece by any means, and there is not a doubt in my mind that many readers of this critique will thrash and condemn my thoughts on this CD. Fact is, Bowling For Soup was, at one point, a grammy-nominated pop-punk band that made music which seemed to radiate wit and excitement. Somewhere down the road a poop peed on a beer can and sneakily replaced the Texas bandmembers I once proudly cited as my personal favorite band. The group of hillbilly's responsible for Sorry For Partyin' deserve no defense. Then again, as this very review supports, music is subjective and viewed differently by every listener who approaches it. Drunk Enough To Dance is, and I will stick by this, something special.