Sound — 9
Bowling For Soup's newest effort in spreading happiness, "Lunch. Drunk. Love.", does just what it was meant to. When I go out and buy a Bowling For Soup album, I expect clever lyrics about crappy relationships, drinking, and the occasional serious topic from a self-proclaimed fart joke band. This album delivers. It was created with a heavy focus on input from the fans. Everything from t-shirts, album names, and even vocal contributions were left up to the supporting fans on Pledge Music. When the fans steer so much of the process, it's no surprise that the album feels so much like the other albums the fan base has grown to love. Why fix it if it isn't broken? The album is very well produced and has a good sound quality. Although the instrumentals sound like they could be b-sides to any of the other albums, they are still fresh enough for a positive listening experience. Despite the very "Hangover You Don't Deserve" vibe, this album introduces some new musical ventures. In "Since We Broke Up," Jaret blasts out an almost screamed vocal that contrasts with his usually static stellar performance. The distortion in his voice adds to the emotional impact of the song and creates a sound unlike most of their previous work. There is a lot of influence from Jaret's side projects since Linus Of Hollywood and Ryan Hamilton co-wrote a number of tracks. This also adds to the unique vibe of this album. Overall, this is a classic Bowling For Soup album with the occasional unexpected flare.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics in these tracks sometimes lack the Bowling For Soup feel, but they are still great. The tone of the album tends more towards seriousness than humor. There is an edge on a number of the tracks that isn't always present in the happy go lucky writing of the group. Jaret drops the F-bomb more times than the other albums, but it doesn't feel overused. It just adds to the punch of the lyrics. Edgy isn't a bad change. However, BFS still plays to the crowd by throwing in fun tracks like "Couple of Days" and "Normal Chicks." These are drowning in clever lyrics that will leave you chuckling throughout. Although he denies that most of the tracks are autobiographical, Jaret's lyrics have a subtle bitterness that seem to be linked to recent troubles. At times, the lyrics lack smooth flow but it doesn't detract from the singable tunes that characterize the best Bowling For Soup albums.
Overall Impression — 9
Bowling For Soup can be more of an acquired taste, but these tracks are still a great album because they offer the serious tone to contrast with the humor that turns off some listeners. The most stand out tracks are "Since We Broke Up" and "Envy" which offer some of the more unusual Bowling For Soup sounds. Since "We Broke Up" features the semi-screamed vocals that add to the edge of the album while "Envy" features an acoustic alternate chorus which ends the energetic song on a very somber note that changes the entire lyrical meaning of the song. When Jaret puts his heart and soul into a vocal, it sends shivers down your spine. I only have a couple points that I didn't care for on the album. The closing track and a couple others feel very centered around Jaret's life. They are still good songs, but I feel weird singing along to such personal songs when I don't have a connection with them. Also, I'm not a big fan of profanity so the edgy use of them isn't great when I'm singing along. However, the band released a clean version which features alternate lyrics rather than censorship. This solves the problem and leaves me entirely happy. I may have my friends steal this album so I can buy another. Although it's tough to beat a group's first great album, this new release can spar on the same level as "Drunk Enough to Dance" and "Hangover You Don't Deserve." I'm sure it will be on repeat for quite some time to come.