Let me say right away, without hesitation, that Teenage Bottlerocket needs to receive a Punk Achievement award because they’re about seventy-five percent responsible for the resurgence of pop punk (which, in turn, has made my life about thirty-seven percent better) and they feature members of the Lillingtons, one of the best pop punk bands of all time! Plus, they might’ve set a record for the most “oh, oh, ohs” in pop punk history and I mean this in the best possible way. Let me put it this way. Every year, my boyfriend organizes a punk rock dance party on Valentine’s Day. I consider it the premier social event of the year, every year. And for two years running, at the end of the dance party, once everyone has left except the true believers, we put on Teenage Bottlerocket and dance like crazy! So, having said that, this is their worst record, but in saying this, you have to realize that they have the bar extremely high, being that they are Olympic high jumpers. This starts out with an amazing, soon-to-be classic “Skate or Die,” which contains everything you’d ever want out of a Teenage Bottlerocket song: ridiculous lyrics, (“So shut up, get rad ‘cause now it’s time to skate or die.”) unbelievably catchy guitar solos, and the appropriately extreme level of Ramones worship. Here’s the problem. This album does have some truly great songs, but it also has a few that sound like they’re a Fat Wreck Chords band. Now, I know what you’re thinking. They are a Fat Wreck Chords band. True enough, but I had considered their relationship to that label as roughly equivalent to The Strike’s relationship to Victory Records (who released their second LP). Sadly, I fear that the musical influence of Fat Wreck Chords is rubbing off, as demonstrated by a few songs that could best be described as boring, generic punk songs. Argh. I’ll still listen to half of these songs over and over again, but I think I’ll have to create a mix tape that weeds out the other half. If this were a cereal, it’d be a double-pack of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (yum!) and regular Cheerios (yawn).
–maddy (Fat Wreck Chords)