Since the majority of the Singles Party crew lives in New Jersey (with the exception of Mike Heyliger who’s up in Baaaahston), we got a little nostalgic with this week’s Singles Party selection.
Earlier in the week the Skate & Surf Festival (which’ll take place in Middletown, NJ) announced their line-up which included the reunion of pop punk superstars Midtown. Riding the wave of nostalgia we came upon the new single from pop punkers Fireworks, so we decided to give this one a whirl.
Mike Heyliger: Most pop-punk sounds totally alike to me. There’s nothing outright bad about this song, but I wouldn’t give it a second listen at all. Verdict: One and done.
Lauren Stern: Since my college radio days, I’ve been trying to put a finger on why I can’t sit through a Fireworks song. After listening to this, I realized why. David McKinder just sucks as a singer. His voice is too whiny (yes, even for pop-punk) and it sounds almost as if he’s crying so much he can’t breathe. In fact, if you listen closely, you can tell his breathing is all off. It’s almost like he’s gasping for air. It’s really distracting and honestly, just plain terrible sounding.
I wonder if I’d like Fireworks if McKinder left. Without him, their music is standard pop punk, very familiar to some of the other bands I listen to (The Wonder Years, Four Year Strong, etc), so I am willing to bet that I would. Until that happens (if it ever happens), I’m just going to have to go with a “No” every time. If it’s any consolation, I tried. Verdict: One and Done
Kelly O’Dowd: Wow. Honestly? I wish I could write more about this, but it just sounds so…juvenile. I’m not normally a fan of pop punk, but I don’t hate it; consider me indifferent. But this. THIS. It sounds like your regular pop punk on the radio, except…it’s boring. Not very pop-y nor very punk-y. They seem to be failing as a genre band. Nothing interesting musically or lyrically. Find something better to listen to. Verdict: One and done.
Nick Porcaro: Fireworks is clearly a competent, grungier sort of pop-punk band, but their songwriting chops are nowhere to be seen on this track. They tried to write a memorable, catchy tune and they failed. Not much more to say. Verdict: One and done
Jason Stives: In hindsight, after The Menzingers delivered a whopping new single, picking the latest from Detroit pop punkers Fireworks seems like a poor choice but it wasn’t without reason. For the last five years Fireworks has been a well-liked group by both their peers and those who have proceeded them, touring regularly with the likes of New Found Glory, The Wonder Years, and Saves the Day. Their 2011 sophomore effort Gospel was for critics, including this music editor, one of the best efforts of that year at least on the pop punk scene.
Upon initial listen the first single from their upcoming third effort Oh, Common Life seemed like a nice punch of standard punk crunch but quickly the song fades from being on par with previous work. David Mackinder’s anguished but overly whiney vocals and the overall composition feels weak and less than punctual than I thought initially. I’ve been into the pop punk scene since 2000 and for this genre its a rather dull effort considering the band’s previous output. Maybe things will pick up on the actual album but for now it’s easily forgettable in the shadow of some other recent releases. Verdict: One and Done
Bill Bodkin: The new single from Fireworks sound more like something a local bar band put together after scrapping enough gig money together to get in a studio to record a song. It’s under-produced, under-written, under-performing and ultimately underwhelming. It lacks any sort of hook and it gives you literally no reason to remember it at all. In fact, I’ve already forgotten this song. Verdict: One and done.
Final Verdict: This is a resounding no from the crew. We recommend avoiding this one.