The Texas trio that is Waterparks are back with their first record on Fueled By Ramen but fifth studio album Intellectual Property.
At 11 songs and just over half an hour of music, the genre-defying album is a mix that involves embracing the pop in pop punk, electronic elements, rock, and hip-hop. Inspired by their many past eras of the last 12 years, this album has evolved into something special, a little more vulnerable than previous records. Frontman Awsten Knight, lead guitarist Geoff Wigington with drummer and backing vocalist Otto Wood are brilliant at packaging each era as a brand right down to the colors encapsulating each one.
Before the release, fans had already had a taste or two of what was to come (5 to be exact) with single releases that include ‘FUNERAL GREY’ and ‘FUCK ABOUT IT,’ the latter featuring Blackbear, who himself has been known to transcend genre. These catchy songs have melodies that make you want to dance and are, unfortunately, relatable lyrics involving unrequited crushes and the like, with Knight singing, “I just want you to be my next mistake that I’m gonna make.”
The short, sweet opening track remarks that “Jesus Christ won’t text me back,“ ‘ST*RFUCKER’ is a take on those who would like to be in the limelight just by being associated with those with actual fame. After an unexpected end, the track jumps into the very un-dark ‘REAL SUPER DARK’ The song, first played live in August of 2022 when Waterparks opened for My Chemical Romance, has some great guitars pulling the attention, put precisely where they should be.
‘BRAINWASHED’ and ‘RITUAL’ focus on feelings of religious guilt from Knight, something we already knew would be a part of the album when earlier in the cycle, Knight took to Instagram to explain the album’s artwork. For example, Frogs are often depicted as vile, impure, and disgusting in the bible, which was interesting to Knight, who explained they were his favorite animal.
After several more tracks that hit differently with each play, the final song comes blistering in with ‘A NIGHT OUT ON EARTH’ The band already teased the song with the US tour for their album Greatest Hits was called ‘A Night Out On Earth Tour.’ The song is an excellent finish to a great album and longer than any other track. Musing the ideas of religious guilt and a crazy night out on earth was invented by an incredible mind.
Intellectual Property sees Waterparks take a giant leap for them into a new era that will hopefully see them earn a new status as many Fueled by Ramen bands before them have enjoyed. It has singalong songs and upbeat anthems that make you think as often as they make you dance. If you’re looking for the evolution of pop punk, this may well be it. If you are not a Waterparks fan, never fear: this album will bring you to the dark side of enjoying their sound.
Give the album, which is out now, a listen, and then listen again and again for good measure!