‘Greatest Hits’ is Waterparks’ longest album to date, spanning an expansive 17-tracks. It continues the band’s long-lasting tradition of naming each of their projects alphabetically, with this being their seventh project and ‘G’ being the seventh letter of the alphabet. To clarify, ‘Greatest Hits’ is not a compilation of old singles from the band, but instead it is the title of their fourth studio album, an incredibly bold and confident claim made by the Texan trio.
The album opens with the introductory title track Greatest Hits, which lyrically introduces the overarching concepts of the album: night-time, sleeping, and dreams, with the entirety of the tracklist telling a story which takes place over just one night. The theme is brought full circle by the end of the album, with the penultimate track Ice Bath representing the listener waking up and returning to the real world with a call-back to the introductory track of the album.
The track Just Kidding, according to Knight, “plays so well into the dream [theme] because [it] is probably the most blatantly dark part of the album”. It was written in January 2020 during his break from social media, and it reflects on his mental health struggles and negative thoughts whilst dismissing them as a joke.
These dark and extremely personal lyrics are a recurring theme of the album. Frequently, this involves Knight’s commentary on his feeling that fans are not accepting his evolution as an artist. This appears most notably on the chorus of Snow Globe: “Everybody hates you / People miss the old you / They hate everything that they all changed you into”.
the pre-chorus of the track is written from the fan’s perspective
An album highlight which also features some very unnerving lyrics is Violet!, a melodious, catchy and infectious pop punk track where Knight discusses a “stalker situation” he experienced with an overly invasive fan who repeatedly attempted to invade his personal privacy. Interestingly, the pre-chorus of the track is written from the fan’s perspective (“You say boy I’m not a stalker / But I watch you when you’re walking”).
The song is littered with clever references to other forms of media. The final lyrics of the chorus “And this ain’t Misery / But I’d break your knees / To keep you here with me” reference Stephen King’s 1987 book ‘Misery’ as Knight fears that his fate may imitate Sheldon’s. Meanwhile, the second verse references the Netflix show ‘You’: Watching Netflix again / It’s like I’m watching ‘You’ / But it’s about me / And just to be clear / I mean the show, you’re Joe”.
References like these are a crucial element of Waterparks’ lyricism, and they also frequently hark back to the band’s own previous releases. The opening lyric of the pre-chorus of Numb, “Hello to the fandom / Please don’t have a tantrum”, references their third studio album ‘FANDOM’ (2019), and the song TANTRUM from their sophomore album ‘Entertainment’ (2018). Meanwhile, on Crying Over It All, Knight mentions the opening track of ‘FANDOM’, Cherry Red.
The second half of ‘Greatest Hits’ is where things start to become a lot more experimental. Perhaps the most experimental moment is the album’s closing track See You In The Future, where Knight raps eccentrically about famous figures including Bill Gates, Elon Musk, The Office’s Michael Scott and members of One Direction. The track is a chaotic and unpredictable burst of energy, and alongside the previously mentioned EDM infused Ice Bath, the final stage of the album may prove to be too experimental for some listeners.
it could potentially be vastly improved by removing some of the ‘filler’ songs
In terms of both album length and levels of experimentation, ‘Greatest Hits’ is extremely comparable to The 1975’s 2020 album ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’. There are some brilliant moments on ‘Greatest Hits’, but much like ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ it could potentially be vastly improved by removing some of the ‘filler’ songs and reducing the tracklist to produce a project which is overall more cohesive and consistent.
However, for an album of such great length, ‘Greatest Hits’ is easier to digest than expected. After a few listens, most of the tracks are easily distinguishable from each other, and the tracklist doesn’t become repetitive. It sees Waterparks experiment more freely than ever before, pushing the boundaries of the pop punk genre fearlessly to result in a slightly chaotic but immensely interesting record.
In-article images courtesy of @waterparks via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.
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