So this came out of nowhere. Bowling For Soup releasing a covers album is one of the most fun listening experiences you could conceive of. And now it’s come to fruition, shadow dropping it like all those big pop stars do nowadays. Whilst all of these songs have been knocking around for a few years now, they’re now nicely tied up into one cohesive package so if you fancy listening to some BFS that isn’t BFS, then there’s ten tracks here which will have you covered. Given that two (well, one and a half-ish) of their biggest songs are covers, it’s not surprising they’re partial to a cover or two.
Now, right at the top of this, I’ll admit I know a whole one song. And I know about half the artists who have been covered so there was no real expectation of “I wonder how X, Y and Z songs will sound as Bowling For Soup”. Hitting various genres, artists they admire and respect as well as those they know well, they hit all the bases. For much of the album, interestingly, it sounds like they’ve shed their more traditional pop punk skin which was even present on their recent Pop Dunk Snot Bread album and head more in pop rock/power pop sound.
However, it’s still there on their version of Social Distortion’s “When the Angels Sing”, The Eagles’ “Already Gone” and The Suicide Machines’ “Sometimes I Don’t Mind” with the latter sounding like Blink-182 in their prime. There’s a few which are immediately eye-catching based on the artists covered. Hanson (of MMMBop fame) feature in their own cover of “Where’s the Love”, global mega-star Miley Cyrus gets a look in with “Flowers” and is easily a highlight of the album with its adrenaline-fuelled interpretation. Unfortunately, it does lay bare how vapid modern pop songwriting is, compared to even 15 years ago. Meanwhile, the album kicks off with “Hey Mario”, a tongue-in-cheek love letter to everyone’s favourite Italian plumber which happened to have been penned by bass player Rob Felicetti’s other band, Patent Pending.
As for the solitary song I know – “Two Tickets to Paradise” closes out the album. The Eddie Money song is its own beast. Where most of these songs were recorded in the last three or four years, this one dates back to 2006. With Jaret Reddick’s voice sounding far younger and less gritty, it doesn’t cause as much whiplash compared to if it was stuck in the middle of the running. Likewise, where most, if not all, of these tracks aren’t the obvious songs from the respective artists oeuvre, this one arguably is.
As cliché as it may be, there’s not a weak song here. Admittedly, the harder-hitting ones like the galloping “Let Your Love Flow” by The Bellamy Brothers and the afore-mentioned “Flowers” going all-out rock are memorable only because it’s something more unexpected for Bowling For Soup. Meanwhile, “Already Gone” from a sonic perspective has hints of their own “Bitch Song” in it. Regardless of what genre they’ve pulled for, they’ve managed to corral it together with the production allowing it to sound like one cohesive album, almost as if they’d been planning this collection for a number of years.
Don’t Mind if We Do stands up as well as some of the best Bowling For Soup albums comprised of original material. And if they were to do Volume 2, I’d definitely be keen to listen to that as well. Or even if they continued to fire singles out (ir)regularly, on the basis of these ones, I’d love to hear them continue to take successful stabs at artists I both know and don’t know whilst continuing to draw from the less “obvious” numbers.
Don’t Mind if We Do is out now