by Cory Stark
Recommended if you like: N/A
Favorite Tracks: N/A
The opening notes of “Apartment,” the first track on Seaway’s album Vacation, gave me hope. And then the rest of the song followed. “Uh-oh,” I muttered as I began skipping to new songs, fast-forwarding, and shaking my head, hoping to find something that stuck out as somewhat original. It is with a heavy heart that I report my findings: Nothing on this album is original.
On Vacation, Sometimes I hear Blink-182, and sometimes I hear a carbon copy of New Found Glory, but most of the time, I’m just hearing an amalgamation of all the poppiest pop-punk songs from 1995 to 2017. I’m pretty sure that every song on the record is about a girl in some capacity. Seaway is following all the worst tropes and clichés of pop-punk very closely. Do we really need pop-punk that’s this generic? Is the genre stuck in a cycle where every new batch of high schoolers needs their own bands in the genre? I feel like this has to be the case, because Seaway is not putting out anything that is new, better, or different. (Nicci Tait, our esteemed MRC co-chair, thinks that bands like Seaway still exist purely to fill out Warped Tour line-ups. I’m inclined to agree.)
Although, maybe that’s the key. I can still listen to New Found Glory or Mayday Parade from time to time because I have some nostalgia for it. I have no nostalgia for Vacation, so I can’t look past its shortcomings. I don’t even really know what to talk about specifically, because both the music and lyrics are the same thing I’ve heard a million times. What makes it worse is that I’ve heard Seaway songs I don’t despise. The band’s 2013 single, “Sabrina the Teenage B*tch,” is actually kind of fun to listen to. The lyrics are pretty standard, but the delivery is much less poppy, and the lo-fi sound works so much better. And, I mean, lines like “make up your mind and stop f***ing with mine” aren’t very original, but at least they seem genuine, something I can’t say for Vacation. This new album is highly produced and very polished, and I don’t think the band benefits from it. I’ve said it too much already, but I’ll say it again. It’s just so. damn. poppy.
Maybe I’m being too harsh. I’ve read some really positive reviews of Vacation online, but most of these critics seem to forgive the unoriginality of the record and focus on how well it contributes to the tried-and-true sound of the pop-punk genre. Well, I refuse to hold Seaway (or anybody else) to that low of a standard. I like upbeat hooks and gang vocals as much as anyone, but this band isn’t using them in any way that could be construed as new or interesting. Pop-punk might not be dead yet, but Vacation is a pretty good reason for it die.