CD Review

Bowling For Soup - “A Hangover You Don't Deserve”

By Marcus Pan

A Hangover You Don't DeserveLet's have some fun kiddies. Let's turn our attentions towards something a bit different...a bit lighter, fluffier – dare I say brighter? Bowling For Soup is probably someone you've heard of, and if you haven't chances are you certainly know the 1985 song ("stuck in 1985" yadda yadda). The funny thing is I like the CD off of which this song comes – A Hangover You Don't Deserve.

Is it mainstream? Yes. Pop? Yes, certainly popular. Punk? Sure, unless you're one of those who abhor the whole skate-pop-punk thing and consider Greenday to be the worst thing since Reboks. Is it on the main radio stations? Yes, sometimes, egads. Has Legends sold out? If it has I'm still waiting for the check. But the bottom line is...it's fun! For a little while anyway. Bowling For Soup are just a bunch of average guys playing average songs, but having more fun than most of us would at a free-ticket brothel in an Amsterdam coffee house.

If you're looking for in-depth analysis...introspection...heavy thoughts and thinking, well not here. But those of us who spend just about all of our time listening to just that sometimes need to have the proverbial skeletons in our gothic closets who's bony hands hold things like Smashmouth, Blink 182 and Bowling For Soup. Otherwise we'll succumb to our very own mopeyness and slash our wrists in a fit of constant despair and anguish. Because we're really goth.

Anyway, Bowling For Soup kick of A Hangover You Don't Deserve with Almost – which is one of their radio hits. It's a smattering tale about almost getting what you wanted...just close enough to taste it, touch it...I almost quit smoking today. Everyone can find some way to relate to that sort of thing so maybe that's the already mentioned secret to Bowling For Soup – they're just like us.

Bowling For Soup also have a way of annoying the shit out of me. Occasionally they'll give in too much to the "having fun" credo and become the kids that are buying their music, breaking into strange disco trips in the middle of otherwise good songs (Shut-Up and Smile) or their silly attempt at piano surrealism in between Ridiculous and Shut-Up and Smile...both good songs in their own right. And I can easily do without all the bonus stuff that, trackwise, numbers up to track 44.

The work of Bowling For Soup here comes across very honest. While not high-brow, like Mike Comfort(1), it's truthful and loaded with simple integrity. This makes songs like A-Hole, Friends O' Mine and Two-Seater ring at least some bells in almost anyone's head as you listen to the lyrics – both tongue and cheek as well as honest emotions. My Hometown, especially, rings so true for me on so many levels it's uncanny. And what an ingenious way of writing a love song while saying everyone else does sucky ones (Smoothie King). Even the cheezy songs, like the Manilow-like Shut-Up and Smile, grow on you.

Every now and then, a record executive somewhere in the world finds something that goes beyond pure "nice hooks" and presses something that really is worth pressing. Amidst all the other crap on the radio, there is a small handful that should be there. Bowling For Soup, ten albums strong, have proven they have the willingness to go as far as it takes to be heard and are one of the few that have actually done that. Good work to Zomba for picking up a band and mass-producing something that, for once, deserves to be mass produced. A Hangover You Don't Deserve is truth, fun, and sometimes I wonder if the mainstream sheep even know what they've got here.

(1) Mike Comfort’s Free was reviewed in Legends #149. It’s currently one of my favorite CDs to listen to.

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