With three albums under their belts, Texas trio Waterparks have released their fourth studio album boldly titled Greatest Hits. No, the album doesn’t consist of the band’s best songs from the past decade, it is in fact a 17-track masterpiece. It’s 47-minute run time might sound intimidating, however, with themes of unfiltered millennial angst and rebellion throughout, the album feels fresh and features a lot of personality from front man Awsten Knight as he proves he is a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.
Greatest Hits follows on from FANDOM, the bands third and current most successful album, recently hitting 100 million streams in April. Repeated in the song are the lyrics “Last night I had the strangest dream of all” at the beginning being accompanied by calming rain and thunder before the songs kicks in, ending with “These are your Greatest Hits”. As the song goes into “nightmare mode”, described by front man Awsten Knight, the beginning of the nightmare, also known as the rest of the album, starts.
Following on from ‘Greatest Hits‘ is ‘Fuzzy‘. I really love the guitar riffs in this, they are just so funky. This song especially allows Awsten’s impeccable vocals to be shown off.
The album then features ‘Lowkey as Hell’, the first single released from the album back in September, as the third song. With themes of money and luxury and the idea that once you have money your problems are irrelevant, shown here in the lyric “My Drake problems, my fake problems”, showing that money doesn’t solve everything in a raw and emotional way.
The next track is ‘Numb‘, where in an interview, Knight describes it as an “adrenaline rush”. I was particularly impressed with the pace of the lyrics in this track, with plenty of practice and numerous attempts I still can’t sing along!
Leading on from ‘Numb‘ is ‘Violet!‘, the bands latest single from the album. The upbeat, happy-go-lucky sound of the song is juxtaposed against the lyrics where Knight sings about a stalker situation he’s encountered. With lyrics like “It’s like I’m watching You, but it’s about me. Just to be clear, I mean the show, You’re Joe.”, with reference to Netflix’s popular series, You.
Skipping a few tracks, we are led to the uniquely named ‘Fruit Roll Ups‘. The themes of pure passion and love radiate strongly from this song with lyrics like “Yeah, you can wrap your arms so tight right ’round my shoulders” and “When you talk it’s in cursive to me, and it’s nicer than anything I’d believe about me” and a synthesized beat towards the end, it’s hard not to imagine dancing in the kitchen at 4am to this one.
‘Fruit Roll Ups‘ leads onto ‘LIKE IT‘, which, in my opinion is the tantrum of Greatest Hits. Its obnoxious lyrics like “How the hell did I end up in Hell right next to you?” and “I’d like it if you cracked your phone screen” sound intimidating at first listen, but when you understand the frustration behind Awsten having restraints to his creative outlet, you can kind of sympathise with him. The song cleverly opens and closes with voice clips from Rock Sound interviewer James Wilson-Taylor taken from a 2019 interview. This song is a great one to reduce anger, believe me.
Towards the end, Greatest Hits features ‘Ice Bath‘ which Awsten interprets as the abrupt waking point from the nightmare with a distorted repetition of “Last night I had the strangest dream of all” linking it to the beginning of the album where the nightmare starts along with a gasp just before the song goes from 0 to 100. Also, ice baths are bound to abruptly wake anybody from a nightmare.
Finally, the album ends with ‘Secret Life Of Me‘, which features name drops like One Direction heartthrobs Harry Styles and Zayn Malik, entrepreneur Elon Musk and fictional character Michael Scott.
Overall, in my opinion, Greatest Hits feels fresh and is a new direction for Waterparks. I can’t wait to see what’s next for them as they finally begin to play shows back in the UK in September.