Throw Up Your Hands For One Night Stands!
Freshman 15 are perhaps the least subtle band I have ever come across.
From the garish album art, to the cringe-inducing album title (I’m sure it’s supposed to be ironic), this is a band that either doesn’t care what you think about them, or is trying far too hard. I, however, will give them the benefit of the doubt, although I will let you decide for yourself after you have listened to the album, something I recommend you do.
Apparently the term Freshman 15 relates to the amount of a weight someone puts on in their first year of university through bad eating habits and I would say this is an apt metaphor for the album. TUYHFONS! is the musical equivalent of takeaway food. It’s quick, simple and probably not the best thing for you, yet you keep going back to it.
This is not anything new whatsoever, yet show me a boy who has ever spoken to a girl that cannot, in some way, relate to the song She’s Everything . Or show me someone who can get the album opener Phoenix Can Keep You out of their head. This album is as catchy as the plague. You will listen to it a couple of times and do something else, only to find yourself humming melody after melody from the album.
Pop-punk seems to be experiencing something of a revival at the moment and this album fits straight into this genre. But this is not a direct homage to the Drive-Thru years. The musicianship is more complex than say a Fenix TX, and the current penchant for “big” breakdowns is present here. It could be said that this album reflects the synthesis of pop side of pop-punk of the early 00s and the punk-ier side of the coin popular in the last couple of years.
Simply put, this is an album about girls and it is an album written by a young band finding themselves in a scene they aren’t particularly fond of. There is an inherent danger in criticising the ‘scene’ (see Are You Ready For This? ). Firstly, you could alienate potential fans, and secondly you might sound a bit pretentious. Luckily Freshman 15 manages to avoid this and come across as a band that really does just do this to have fun, and not to conform to a stereotype. Nevertheless, there is something slightly grating about a band bemoaning the scene, when it is patently obvious that they are, at least partially, relying on it for their success.
To stretch my food metaphor just a little bit farther, this album is album is like a buffet and I keep on going back to it. It is just a shining example of how to do good pop-punk. It focuses on hooks and melodies over deep lyrics and experimentation. It takes a successful formula and tweaks it just enough to give the band a distinct identity. It is a highly polished and successful album and most importantly, it is fun to listen to and surely that is the most important thing.