Don’t let the title fool you. “Greatest Hits” is not a compilation of the band’s previously most popular songs. Instead, it is an insanely creative album of new material. Waterparks is a pop-punk/electro-pop/alternative rock band and this is by far the most innovative album to come out of the scene in years. Previous releases such as Airplane Conversations, Double Dare, and Fandom have a distinct pop-punk and alternative rock sound. Greatest Hits is a genre-bending experiment gone right. The ever-so-present electro-pop instrumentals juxtaposed with typical pop-punk lyrics are still a part of the band’s sound, but it’s clear that quarantine has given them time to further stylize and refine their sound. “Snow Globe,” one of the album’s singles, is a prime example of this. It’s a refreshingly different sound from the band. Overall, the track has an R&B-type feel. Lead singer Awsten Knight’s vocals glide across the track like butter as they croon over an infectious beat, solid bass, and amazing harmonies. “The Secret Life Of Me” is another track that display’s the band’s versatility. It has an almost hyper-pop chorus that is reminiscent of 2010s chiptune and nightcore music with lots of synth, hi-hats, and dreamy instrumentals. Even songs like “Just Kidding” and “Violet!” are experimental perfection. “Just Kidding” is one of the most depressing songs you will ever hear and yet the music that coincides with the lyrics is so catchy, you almost forget that you should probably be concerned about the mental health struggles Knight seems to be singing about. The band even managed to make a song about being stalked sound like a bubblegum pop dream with “Violet!”. The bold, artistic choices that were made with this album are extremely impressive but if the change isn’t for you (although it should be) fret not. Songs such as “You’d Be Paranoid Too (If Everyone Was Out To Get You)” and “Fuzzy” expand on sounds familiar to fans of the band’s previous releases. “You’d Be Paranoid Too (If Everyone Was Out To Get You)” is one of the band’s strongest pop-punk songs. I wouldn’t be surprised if this track charted. “Fuzzy” is the perfect blend of the band’s new and old sounds.
Waterparks are the alternative music scene’s latest it-band. Some would even argue that they are God’s Favorite Boy Band. Hailing from Houston Texas, Waterparks are a dynamic trio. The band formed in 2011. Having opened for various artists from the likes of Aaron Carter to All Time Low, the band went from playing to small crowds at local venues in their hometown to sold-out shows. The magic really began for the band in late 2015 when their smaller shows quickly began to grow in size, catching the attention of Benji & Joel Madden of iconic rock band Good Charlotte, who ended up signing the band to Equal Vision Records and becoming their management that same year. Waterparks’ debut full-length studio album, “Double Dare,” was released the following year, followed by “Fandom” in 2019. Waterparks announced a label change to Hopeless Records leading up to the release of “Fandom.” The band made one more label switch in 2020, landing at 300 Entertainment, home to the likes of artists such as Megan Thee Stallion, where they have released their latest album, “Greatest Hits.”
Pop-punk/alternative groups have a tendency to stick to a certain sound and often sound homogenous as a result. Some of the best music out there is from artists who aren’t afraid to experiment. It’s wonderful to see that Waterparks was brave enough to do that, especially in a genre where it is rarely heard of. The genre-bending experimentation and boldness in which the band approaches every track on this album is not only impressive, it’s refreshing. So what’s the verdict? Bravo, Waterparks. I give “Greatest Hits” a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
Greatest Hits is available now on all streaming platforms.