The Bouncing Souls are like a punk rock fairytale, a high school band that stuck together for over 20 years, rising through the ranks with years of hard work. They’ve certainly progressed over time, but their core sound remains the same throughout their discography. They take influences from all over the punk spectrum, from pop-punk, through Oi!, to hardcore; they touch on all aspects of modern and classic; if any band were just ‘punk’ without any qualifiers or sub-genres it would be them.
Almost every album this band has made is a classic, which makes an article like this in such bad taste. Someone’s favourite album will definitely get unfairly judged and brushed aside. But that’s just how we roll around here, let the shit talking begin:
10. The Good, The Bad & The Argyle (1994)
Since this is their first album, we can probably write it off as a mulligan. This one has a song about crushing on your friends mom, a song literally made out of quotes from 80s movies and 2 covers. You can see some glimmers of what is to come in tracks like ‘Joe Lies’ and ‘Neurotic’.
9. Comet (2012)
A later offering, didn’t quite measure up to the old songs. Not that there were any bad songs on it, per-se, just that nothing really stuck out as amazing.
8. Simplicity (2016)
An attempt to return to their roots. Mixed results.
7. The Bouncing Souls (1997)
Their first Epitaph release, containing many staples from their live shows including: ‘East Coast Fuck You!’, ‘Kate s Great’, and ‘Say Anything’. A lot of the songs felt incomplete, due to the rushed nature of the recording.
6. Ghosts on the Boardwalk (2010)
This album is made up of songs from their digital download series, where one song was released online each month for a year. Since every song had to stand on it’s own merits the album lacked a feel or cohesion you often get from a Souls album. Highlights include: ‘Gasoline’, ‘We All Sing Along’, and ‘Big Eyes’.
5. The Gold Record (2006)
This one came out at the height of their popularity, it combines the Souls signature sound with some Bruce Springstein-like influences. Overall a really solid record, I think that the opener ‘Gold Song’ is their best song.
4. How I Spent My Summer Vacation (2001)
For most people this would be the defining album for the band, it holds most of their hits like ‘True Believers’, ‘Gone’, and ‘Manthem’. Some people consider this the first record where the Souls found their sound (but I kinda disagree, I feel a consistent sound on all their albums). This is the first record with Michael McDermott on drums, after founding member Shal Khichi left.
3. Hopeless Romantic (1999)
This record starts of with 3 classic tracks, ‘Hopeless Romantic’, ’87’, and ‘Kid’. After these it kind of looses steam (probably only because those three tracks are so clutch). Some people love ‘Ole’, but they’re irritating idiots.
2. Maniacal Laughter (1996)
This one is their first good album, following their debut. By some bizarre stroke of luck, they got legendary producer Thom Wilson to work on the album. Despite only having 4 songs written when recording began, they managed to rush-write 8 more classics that have weathered the test of time. Some favourites are: ‘Lamar Vannoy’, ‘Freaks, Nerds, and Romantics’, and ‘Ballad of Johnny X’.
1. Anchors Aweigh (2003)
With the success of ‘How I Spent My Summer Vacation’, the Souls returned with a more sombre and introspective offering. While every song is catchy and deceptively simple, each one contains at least one line that slays me every time and shows me the beauty and tragedy of life. It’s hard to pick favourites on this one, ‘Apartment 5F’, ‘Kids and Heroes’, and ‘Sing Along Forever’ are great crowd pleasers, but I’m more partial to some of the lesser known gems like ‘Inside Out’, ‘Simple Man’, and ‘Highway Kings’.