Allowing themselves to get experimental, Waterparks’ new record is an ambitious, hyperactive and chaotic seventeen-track record that sees the band take influence from the likes of Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Diplo, The Hives and Donald Glover – and that’s just on ‘Fuzzy’!
Knowing they wanted to call their fourth album ‘Greatest Hits’, Waterparks’ vocalist Awsten Knight was initially tempted to “write the ten biggest songs we’ve ever done” and release that. However, he’s a firm believer that “if an album is straight singles, it feels more like commerce than art.” As he told NME ahead of its release: “I need to be more fulfilled.”
Written during lockdown, ‘Greatest Hits’ is a quarantine album, but not in the usual sense. Songs like ‘Snowglobe’, ‘Violet!’ and ‘Fuzzy’ are upbeat dancefloor fillers, with Knight explaining: “this record is full of songs that made me want to dance or jump up and down. When you’re stuck at home, you want things that make you move.”
Lockdown also had an influence elsewhere, with Knight revealing “being stuck inside made me want to be more collaborative”. This is most evident on cuts like the stadium-sized ‘You’d Be Paranoid Too (If Everyone Was Out To Get You)’ – which boasts guest appearances from My Chemical Romance’s Mikey Way, Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba, Patent Pending’s Joe Ragosta and De’Wayne – and the romantic ‘Fruit Roll Ups’, which sees IDKHow’s Dallon Weekes doing a Queen inspired 6-part vocal harmony.
For all the musical anarchy on ‘Greatest Hits’, Knight says that lyrically “so much of the album is about protecting yourself. When you make art, you have to have another version of yourself, an ego safety net,” and tracks like ‘Magnetic’ are about “not letting that version of you, be you.”
Meanwhile, songs like ‘Just Kidding’ and ‘Like It’ are brutally honest, with Knight tackling mental health, the pressures of a life lived in the public eye and the struggles of being an artist in 2020. “Being impossibly blunt just feels better than hiding stuff under pretty words,” he says. “If I can’t say this shit in music, where can I say it?”
For a deeper dive into the record, Knight talks NME through ‘Greatest Hits’ track-by-track, discussing the creation of each and every song on the album. Watch the full track-by-track guide above.