Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Album Review: Rockingham by Nerf Herder

90’s pop punk was an art form.  It was infectious and goofy yet hard to master.  Sure, there were bands like Blink 182 and Weezer but the rest of the landscape was cluttered with one hit wonders.  Where does Nerf Herder fall on that timeline?

Nerf Herder burst onto the scene in 1996 with their debut self titled album and the ode to their favorite band “Van Halen”. They coupled their sophomoric humor with a love of pop culture to create insanely infectious music.  Even their name is a nod to Star Wars.   

In the last 20 years Nerf Herder has broken up, rotated lineups, and gotten real jobs.  A new generation was calling and 2016 finds them back on the horse with their fifth album Rockingham.  I was hoping for a strong album but expecting a one hit wonder.  They stayed true to form with perhaps their finest album.  Their Big Bang Theory wit is sharper then ever along with their riffs. Humor aside, their harmonies are flawless and the rhythm section is spot on.  Songs like "The Girl Who Listened to Rush" and "I'm the Droid (You're Looking For)” are absolutely hysterical and rocking. After doing a google search on "Allie Goertz" I found that particular song even funnier.  Nothing like realizing that my pop culture knowledge wasn't quite up to snuff.

"She's friends with Chris Hardwick
and he's not friends with jerks."

My personal favorite so far is “Portland”.  It's funny and educational. It's resembles a school lesson done in “Sing Song”, a la School of Rock, where I can bob my head and learn everything that Nerf Herder knows about the city of Portland at the same time. 

What amazes me is how little separates this album with recent works by Fountains of Wayne and Weezer. Let’s be honest, the only difference between Nerf Herder and Blink 182 is more of a cerebral sense of humor.  Maybe 2016 is meant to be their moment in the spotlight.

There are very few pop punk bands still operating at this level.  Bands like Nerf Herder and The Dollyrots are at the top of their game yet standing in the shadows while just one of these songs would give Bowling for Soup an underserved comeback album.  Perhaps they are too witty for their own good.  In my alternate reality this album will become the Pinkerton of today’s college generation.  One can only hope.

Rockingham is available to today on iTunes. Have some fun and download it now.  While you are listening wrap your head around this.  Were they asked to write a song called "Ghostbusters III" for the movie or did they write the song not knowing that the movie was really going to happen.

See you when the needle drops!


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