Waterparks is a band that you have probably heard of, even if you haven’t sat down to listen to them. They’ve been on Warped Tour, supported Sleeping With Sirens, and are currently on Equal Vision Records — where they released their debut, Double Dare, in 2016.
But, let’s back up here a little bit just in case you aren’t too familiar. Waterparks played their first show in 2012, played the Houston date of Warped Tour in 2013, and even opened for Aaron Carter (yes, you read that right) on his Houston date in 2013. During this time the band released two EP’s, Airplane Conversations and Black Light. Both of these EP’s featured a heavier sound at times; think of how The Three Words to Remember in Dealing with the End compares to what All Time Low sounded like for their next couple of albums. Specifically songs like “Easter Egg” and “Silver” represent this sound that the band left behind for a more mature, polished sound.
Fast forward back up to 2015, the band sign with Equal Vision Records, open for Good Charlotte on their comeback show in West Hollywood, California, and then end up working with Good Charlotte’s Benji Madden for Double Dare. This is a solid move for the band, as Double Dare is a great debut album that shows the band can progress forward without sacrificing any artistic integrity. Where does that leave them for their sophomore album? I’m glad you asked.
In my opinion, Waterparks could not have picked a better one-two punch to open up this album. “11:11” is an upbeat, incredibly catchy pop-punk song that will undoubtedly be a fan favorite. The electronics that are on the track add an extra layer to the track, helping you keep beat as you tap your feet throughout. “Blonde” is track number two, and was the first song released from the album, and it keeps up with the pace that “11:11” started. “Blonde” lyrically seems to touch on the perception blonde’s are always upbeat and energetic people, and the second verse even has a callback to one of Waterparks older songs, “Crave.”
Upbeat pop-rock songs aren’t the only thing that the band is capable of doing on Entertainment, of course. There are songs like the acoustically driven “Peach (Lobotomy)” that has a massive chorus, but is surrounded by a softer chorus and some whistling. But things get really interesting when the band abandons their loud guitars and drums in favor of an electronic beat and Awsten Knight’s vocals on songs like “We Need to Talk” and “Crybaby.”
Let’s start with “We Need to Talk” which is what appears to be the most obvious break-up song on the album. If the song title didn’t give it away, just listen to the lyrics of the song:
“I wish you didn’t tell me I was special,
‘Cause now it’s far too hard to see through,
‘Cause you shine brighter than morning,
At least I thought you did.”
“Crybaby” is the next electronic song on the album, and it finds itself as the second to last track on the album. As Awsten pleads to the listener “I don’t want to be a crybaby/I don’t want to be a crybaby” now, you can hear the sadness that he sings with (something he light-heartedly addressed in the second studio diary for Entertainment). If you were looking for Waterparks to shed their guitar-driven pop-rock for a little bit, then “Crybaby” and “We Need to Talk” are going to be right up your alley.
As the second single released from Entertainment, “Lucky People” is the only acoustic song that Waterparks dialed up for the album. Awsten Knight described it as a “happy Jason Mraz” song, and while I’m not aware of many sad Jason Mraz songs, his description still stands. “Lucky People” is a nice, lovey acoustic song right towards the middle of the album that breaks things up nicely. While this is the only acoustic love song, it’s not the only straight love song on the album. “Sleep Alone” is the final track on Entertainment and it goes out with a bang. This song finds the band come full-circle with how things started on “11:11” in terms of their upbeat pop-punk sound, but this time with a guitar solo thrown in just for good measure.
Back in October, Knight said “I never, ever, wanted to make the same thing twice. I’ve showed friends demos and everyone’s like, ‘This is such a next step.’ There’s a very clear growth.” After listening to Entertainment for more than a few spins, I can tell you that this is a fairly accurate statement. Yes, there are the catchy, upbeat songs that Waterparks has made a career out of (“Blonde,” “11:11,” “Rare”), there are plenty of surprises along the way (“We Need to Talk,” “Crybaby”). Entertainment is fun, catchy, and even a little bit unpredictable. Waterparks have pushed forward to become the best version of themselves that they can be, proving that they are here to stay.
Entertainment will be released this Friday, January 26th via Equal Vision Records and can be currently pre-ordered here.