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Bowling For Soup – 'Songs People Actually Liked :Volume 2 The Next 6 Years (2004-2009)' Album Review


1. 1985

2. High School Never Ends

3. Almost

4. When We Die

5. Ohio (Come Back to Texas)

6. No Hablo Ingles

7. Friends of Mine

8. My Hometown

9. My Wena

10. BFFF

11. I’m Gay

12. Trucker Hat

13. Two-Seater

14. Smoothie King

Sometimes, reviewing a greatest hits album can be hard work. After all, the appeal of a greatest hits album tends to lie in the fact that fans of the band (and even semi-interested non-fans) will know the majority (if not all) of the songs. In fact, if you are a fan of a band, most greatest hits albums are of so little interest that bands feel the urge to slap a couple of unreleased tracks on the end just to ensure fans will buy it.

But that’s not the case here. Bowling For Soup have gone for the much harder route, which is to re-record all the songs on this greatest hits, giving you new recordings of old favourites – and honestly? I wish more bands would take this route. Granted, it seems slightly strange to hear versions of the songs with different subtleties and intricacies than the ones you are used to hearing, but it really works here.

You can tell that Bowling For Soup are still a very active touring band, as a lot of the minor changes to songs have clearly come from playing these hits over and over for the last fifteen to twenty years and refining the songs to within an inch of their lives.

The key thing about this greatest hits is that it’s a volume two. But unlike most bands who have enough hits to do two greatest hits albums, that doesn’t mean that this is the lesser of the compilations. In fact, what BFS have done (very sensibly) is split their catalogue up chronologically – so the “Songs People Actually Liked Volume 1” that came out in 2015 contained songs from 1994-2003, and then this album contains songs from 2004-2009, and it is packed wall-to-wall with great songs.

I can only speak for those of us in the UK and listened to rock shows / watched Kerrang TV in those years, but “1985”, “High School never Ends” and “Almost” are tracks that are so ingrained in my memory that I can identify every single change – different drum fill here, different backing vocals there – and I can honestly say that these versions are just as good as the originals, and in some cases, better (there’s something about the production on this version of “1985” that makes it amazing).

The rest of the songs are great too – not a duff one here. I knew some of them as the first album covered by this period (“A Hangover You Don’t Deserve”) was one that I listened to quite a lot back in the day, but the songs from the other albums that appear here are all great, and make me want to revisit this period in the bands history that I missed (which is what you want from a Greatest Hits album, surely?)

In short, this album is essential for anyone who likes short, punchy, pop-punk songs. It doesn’t matter if you are a huge Bowling For Soup fan or if you just remember “1985” from it’s constant rotation on Kerrang TV, everyone will enjoy this album. In fact, I’ve just added the physical vinyl to my shopping list, because it’s definitely an album I’m going to be listening to for a long time to come.

Review - Michael Braunton


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