When I first found out that Bowling For Soup were going to put out a Greatest Hits my thoughts were "Why? It's 2015 and people have YouTube, Spotify and 20 years worth of CDs". Now, I'm sat in the car, listening to 'Songs People Actually Liked' and writing my review on a flashcard using The Great Burrito Extortion Case as a table, reminiscing over what is probably the best mid afternoon, beer in hand, sun in the sky, festival band there has ever been. After they announced and completed their farewell tour they told us that it isn't the last time they'll be in the UK. All of a sudden this album makes sense. The Texan punk rockers still have decades of festival appearances left in them and these memoirs, along with part 2 when that makes an appearance, will provide future festival goers with their Bowling For Soup entry material to sing and dance along to.
That being said, those future festival goers will be caught a bit off guard by a few of the tracks when they hear them live. 'Girl All The Bad Guys Want' is the prime example after being re-recorded with the tempo turned down slightly. It's still one of the best singalong song that these guys have done and the small changes that they've made here give it a new lease of life. Don't worry, it's ok they still only have a moped and haven't got their hands on that racetrack season pass. 20 years and they still haven't splashed out.
What Bowling For Soup have always done and have done again here is make a break up album and make it so it sounds like it's not a break up album at all. 'Suckerpunch' is in here in all it's resplendent glory, if you're currently under threat of the 'friendzone' you need this track in your life, it could give you the kick up the backside that you need. Maybe steer clear of 'The Bitch Song' afterwards though, it's still as spitefully pleasant as it always has been and probably sums up a large amount of teen relationships out there to this day. Add this to tracks like 'You And Me' and 'Cody' and you'll be an emotional, hormonal wreck.
I think that of all the tracks on this album (and any album from their opening decade) it is 'Punk Rock 101' that shows the best side of Bowling For Soup. Punky, quick, catchy and funny. The small changes to this track, like many other on here, are what makes it worth your time as a collection. Some Bon Jovi style distortion thrown in at the perfect time and confirmation that not only did he say it back then and he's gone and said it again here!
Over a decade after being written it is 'Belgium' that tells the tale of why Bowling For Soup are taking a step back from their touring commitments. "Now you're half way around the world, and I'm just a day behind, Nothing seems to fill the hole, that I have since you left my side". Life has caught up with Bowling For Soup and the closing track confirms this, although if it was written in the 1994 - 2003 bracket they claim on the cover, it is either genius, lucky planning or really egotistical! '20 Years (That's A Lot Of Beers)' is that closing track and for them and their fans that's a lot of beers, it's a lot of tours, it's a lot of hangovers, it's a lot of sacrificed sheep at Donington Castle and it's a lot of nights away from home. This closing track is a fitting acoustic tribute to Bowling For Soup, beer and tattoos.
"So many awesome memories, some of them I can still recall"...now come on Andy Copping, Bowling Four Soup at Download 2016 please!
For the traditionalist who still buys CD's, you can pick up Songs People Actually Liked from Amazon on the following link - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-People-Actually-Liked-Bowling/dp/B00OBDKSHW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425477973&sr=8-1&keywords=bowling+for+soup.