Sound — 9
Bowling For Soup return to a far more classic sound on this their eleventht studio album, more "A Hangover You Don't Deserve" than "Sorry For Partyin'". The guitar work is full of simple, fun and contagious riffs that you find yourself humming along to with a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Each chorus makes you want to sing along with some friends and a beer, and this is the essence of BFS, perfectly encapsulating friendship and good friends in music. The album isn't quite as refined as "SFP" (in my opinion their best album) because BFS wanted to get an album out quickly after their split from Jive. However they stick to a winning formula with songs such as "I've Never Done Anything Like This" and "Saturday" sounding as if they could have jumped straight from their classic albums. However in "Turbulence" and "What About Us" the band show their ability to write songs that are for more musical and portray the more serious aspects of life between parties.
Lyrics — 9
In my opinion Jaret Reddick is one of the best song writers in the world, maybe he doesn't have the flair of someone like Adam Duritz but very few people can use music to reflect real life like him. But people listen to BFS to smile so I'll deal with the fun songs first. "Dear Megan Fox" is hilariously rambling like a real crazy love letter with a bridge that has made me and almost everyone I've shown it to actually laugh out loud. There are a few other moments like that on the album, notably in "Saturday" the line, "Hate my boss, hate this place, want to shove it in his face, that he doesn't know his wife is texting me every day" had me smiling for ages. The use of innuendo that BFS are famous for is present throughout the album and is probably best seen in the cheeky parody "Girls In America" ("American Girls I love how you blow me... Away") and the absolutely brilliant "I've Never Done Anything Like This". Now onto the more serious stuff. The classic fan favourite "Guard My Heart" (originally written by bassist Erik Chandler years ago) gets a shiny new version and conveys the uncertainty of the dreaded friendzone ("I put on a smile and wait just like I often do, you say we're friends so I'll just guard my heart, If you don't you might tear me apart"). The upcoming single "Turbulence" is probably the most musical song on the album, combining a beautiful yet simple bit of acoustic guitar and orchestral sections matching messsage to stay strong ("And we're all just passengers tonight and we're all just travelling through our lives, we will reach our destination so just hang on for the ride, say a prayer and close your eyes, it's just a little turbulence").
Overall Impression — 9
I'm a huge BFS fan so I may be slightly biased but I truley believe this is one of their best efforts. It has a fantastic combination of fun and serious, pop punk and ballad and it's an album that generally makes you smile and brightens your day. Free from Jive it shows BFS rejoicing in just living their dream and trying to make the fans happy through their music. There isn't really a bad song or any stand out songs as it's a very strong album through and through, but my favourites are "What About Us", "Turbulence", "Dear Megan Fox", "Guard My Heart", "I've Never Done Anything Like This". If it was lost I would certainly buy another one straight away, although I think I'd cry a bit first as my copy is an autographed pre sale version. The only reason the album doesn't get a 10/10 is because it isn't quite as good as "Sorry For Partyin'" which is musical perfection for me (listen to "A Really Cool Dance Song" and the whole album really to see what I mean) but "FFW" is still a must have for any fan of pop punk.