Happy Campers


aec.cdb5637318730.2 8/26/03 New
$10.49 $13.99

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    Happy Campers MonkeyAss Records

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Review Text Back in 1978, the terms "introspective" and "punk-pop" were never heard in the same sentence. Janis Ian, Judy Collins, and Joni Mitchell were introspective -- punk-pop bands like the Ramones, the Buzzcocks, 999, and the Dickies were fun, loud, extroverted, and in-your-face. But with the emo explosion of the '90s, punk-pop did, in fact, take a very introspective turn, which is why this Happy Campers disc is full of the sort of emotional analysis that you never would have heard on a Dickies album back in the day. Released in 2003, the Campers' self-titled third album mines the familiar Green Day/NOFX waters and has all the things one typically expects from emo -- introspective, confessional lyrics combined with guitar-powered aggression, songs about dysfunctional romantic relationships, and a big dose of vulnerability. The Las Vegas residents aren't terribly original or distinctive; countless others have done this type of thing in the '90s and 2000s. But they do it better than much of the competition, and most of their writing is decent -- not exceptional or breathtaking, but decent. Occasionally, the Campers venture into political territory; "News at 11," for example, reflects on the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, while "Tubes" criticizes the Las Vegas police for breaking up a punk concert. Most of the Campers' lyrics, however, are on the introspective side, and that approach prevails whether vocalist Isaac Irvine is singing about a demanding girlfriend ("You Make Me Want to Drive off a Cliff") or a neglectful sperm donor who is a breeder but not a true parent ("Fair Weather Father"). Although derivative and imperfect, this CD has more plusses than minuses and is a cut above most of the emo-oriented discs that came out in 2003. ~ Alex Henderson

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Wave the Flags - 3:44
  2. 2. Make It on My Own - 2:24
  3. 3. I Finally Wrote a Love Song - 2:59
  4. 4. Days Gone By - 3:58
  5. 5. Once Bitten - 4:45
  6. 6. News at 11 - 3:57
  7. 7. Hurting You - 3:14
  8. 8. You Make Me Want to Drive Off a Cliff - 4:32
  9. 9. Please - 2:35
  10. 10. Eat Your Green Beans - 2:17
  11. 11. Tubes - 3:33
  12. 12. Dear Mama - 3:59
  13. 13. Fair Weather Father - 5:20
  14. 14. Lost Myself - 3:41

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