Waterparks is everything I hate about modern pop-punk.
Actually, calling this band any form of punk would be a disgrace. Joey Ramone would roll over in his grave if he heard “Double Dare,” Waterparks’ debut album. Released last Friday, this may be the worst pop-punk album in a long time.
Waterparks is a band I wouldn’t have known about if the magazine “Alternative Press” didn’t exist. The magazine covered the band extensively, even putting frontman Awsten Knight on the cover of the May 2016 Warped Tour issue.
With all the press coverage, you would think the band was pretty good, right? Wrong.
The first track had me fooled, though. “Hawaii (Stay Awake)” has a punchy beat, an earworm of a chorus and a great vocal performance by Knight. The production is a little poppy for my taste, but the song isn’t hurt much because of it.
I cannot say the same for the rest of the album.
“Double Dare” peaks early and then heads into a nosedive. “Gloom Boys” sounds like bad scene-pop from 2009 (think the worst of Metro Station and Breath Carolina).
While the guitars bring some edge, the song feels as though Waterparks is trying to create a club banger.
The next song, “Stupid for You,” is indicative of most of the album’s problems. This is the first song where auto-tune rears its ugly head. Knight has a nice singing voice, so I don’t understand why auto-tune was necessary. It takes any rawness out of Knight’s performance.
The production is a mess on this album. There is almost nothing about it that feels real. The whole package feels like a processed attempt at what record labels consider to be pop-punk.
Finding out that the band doesn’t have a bassist explained a lot. While often dubbed as the least important member of any band, the bassist is key to creating a rich sound. I could only hear a little bit of bass in some of the songs, but in others I couldn’t hear any.
The album also made me think the band lacks a drummer, even though they have one full-time. Most of the time, the drums were electronic. While this fits with the tone of the rest of the production, that doesn’t make it good.
About halfway through, the auto-tune starts to get old. “Take Her to the Moon” is a disaster. The song incorporates all the parts of Waterparks I don’t like. And there’s not even a catchy chorus to distract from the awful performances.
“Dizzy” is probably the worst song on the album. The vocal effects are corny and something I never thought I would hear in a pop-punk band again. At this point, my opinion on the record was set.
The rest of the album was a drag. The only respite was acoustic track, “21 Questions.” A catchy and genuinely heartfelt track, it was a nice break from the usual Waterparks formula.
I thought Waterparks could be good. With all the magazine hype, I was looking forward to checking them out. But that was a huge mistake.
I have not disliked an album released in 2016 as much as “Double Dare.”
Even boring teen superstars can come up with more than one decent hook. If you see this album, run far away and don’t look back.
This album isn’t worth anyone’s time. If this is truly the next big band out of the pop-punk scene, it’s going to be rough sailing for a few years. Unfortunately, since they are managed by Good Charlotte’s, Benji and Joel Madden, there’s a pretty good chance of that happening.