In 2004, Bowling For Soup had their biggest hit in the US with “1985”, a song about an out of control longing for a time before Ozzy became an actor and when Motley Crue was not considered classic rock. The band has carved out its career fueled by this unending ability to churn out snarky power pop tunes that generally revolve around alcohol-laden nostalgia and it’s what their fans have come to love and expect.
Those fans will not be disappointed when they put an ear to Bowling For Soup’s latest album, Fishing For Woos. There is nothing ground breaking here, no musical barriers being knocked down or envelopes pushed, and that’s fine. Fishing For Woos is simply everything the band has been doing for the last 17 years, making fun music.
The album opens with Let’s Pretend We’re Not In Love and I was going to describe this song as “hook happy” but its not only this song, the entire album is “hook happy”. So let’s just assume that description applies to Fishing For Woos in its entirety. And while we’re at it, let’s further assume big guitars, crowd sing-a-long moments, great harmonies and possibly a compulsion by the listener to find a warm sunny place to drink a beer.
There are two categories of songs here. The first and most prevalent category is the up tempo, party anthem, such as Girls In America, S-S-S-Saturday, Here’s Your Freakn’ Song, and I’ve Never Done Anything Like This. They are driving, fraught with humor and seem generally designed to “get the party started” as the kids used to say.
The second being the well placed power ballad like What About Us and Turbulence. Each has the prerequisite wave you cell phones in the air moments and production-wise, they hearken back to the days of Poison and Bon Jovi circa 1985, which is utterly appropriate for BFS.
There are two tracks on the record that stick out for different reasons. Guard My Heart was originally a demo from 1997 and until now only devoted fans have been aware of it. Stylistically it’s a big departure from the rest of the album and has a very distinct Gin Blossoms feel. I’m not quite sure that’s a good thing.
The closing track on Fishing For Woos is a gem called Graduation Trip. Poignant, clever and fun, it’s the Bowling For Soup formula at its best. Fearlessly employing “Bah Bah” vocals and trading in the monster drums for congas, the song is a masterful way to wrap up the party.
Again, with most of this album there is nothing new. Again, that is not a bad thing. Perhaps track 10 sums up Fishing For Woos the best. It’s a song called Friends Chicks Guitars.