Intellectual Property: A masterpiece


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Waterparks has been working on this album for two years

I love Waterparks. The band has been my favorite for years at this point, and they’ve been in my top five bands on Spotify since 2019. The only reason I started listening to them was because of a person I met online, and it completely changed my life. I know I sound dramatic, but the excitement I felt when I heard that a new album was coming out was unreal.
“Intellectual Property” has 11 tracks, 5 of them being released before the rest of the album. “FUNERAL GREY” was the first, coming out almost a full year before the official album release date in May of 2022. The next 3 came out intermittently every few months until the release of their latest song “BRAINWASHED” on Mar. 9. The rest of the album was released on Apr. 14 2023.
The first thing I want to talk about is the meaning of the album. Singer of Waterparks, Awsten Knight, released an official statement on Instagram going into detail about what exactly the album represents and I thought it was one of the most interesting things about it. Knight states that “a large part of the album has to do with processing and growing past religious guilt.” Each song, the album art, everything about the album contributes to this main theme.
Knight goes more into depth in the statement, but the other part that I thought was the most interesting was the name “Intellectual Property.” Knight said in the statement that it’s wordplay on the term “mental real estate,” or the space in your head that you let someone or something take up. “It’s almost creating a real space for that release and catharsis of feelings I’m expelling on this album,” Knight said.
Not only this, but it’s a story. The story goes as follows: Knight falls in love with a girl, he starts to really like her, but then when he realizes that she doesn’t treat him how he deserves to be treated, he self-sabotages himself. The second to last song is a last message telling the girl “I need you closer or I need it over” (from the song “CLOSER”).
The first song I want to talk about is actually their first release, “FUNERAL GREY.” They released it before they even announced the album so that I had no idea this would be my first dip into it, and I loved it. It quickly became one of my favorite songs ever. The upbeat and carefree style carried the song, making it seem happier than the lyrics suggested. My favorite part of it is the chorus: Knight talking about a girl he met as a fling, practically falling in love without even knowing her name. It’s something most young people experience, although the more you listen, the more uneasiness you start to feel. The “funeral grey” sweater the girl wears, how she taunts Knight, how stubborn she is with him. It’s a game of cat and mouse. Despite the deeper meaning however, it’s a very vibey song that I enjoy listening to casually (and also over and over again).
“REAL SUPER DARK” is a huge contrast to “FUNERAL GREY.” This was also pre-released on Jan. 26 2023. I was absolutely blown away the first time I listened to this song. It’s something completely different than the rest of their music; something I haven’t heard from them before. The only way I can describe it is crunchy, like when you get water stuck in your phone and try to listen to music. Knight is very screamy, coming across in a very angry tone. Once again, my favorite part of the song are the lyrics. It has satirical elements that convey a frustration toward the way bands are treated by their fans.
A handful of songs on this album sound like, as my partner put it, the overall vibe of “rainbow road.” The specific song I want to talk about with this vibe is “END OF WATER (FEEL).” The vocals in this song are insane. Knight usually stays in one range most comfortable for him, but in this song he reaches high notes that I not only haven’t heard before, but were incredibly satisfying to listen to. This specific song is about Knight succumbing to the girl he likes because he starts believing that maybe he deserves the way she’s treating him.
“RITUAL” is the most adjacent to “REAL SUPER DARK,” but it’s still something completely unique that I’ve never heard before. The best way I can describe it is like getting chased; jumping over fences, running, dodging buildings, etc. It’s extremely high energy and upbeat until a computer voice starts counting down from 10 to 3, at the end of which Knight busts out into a rap in a much deeper voice than I’ve ever heard from him. The more I listen to this song the more I fall in love with it. My favorite part of the song is actually the soundbite of a man and woman in the beginning which is the first noticeable dig in Knight’s aforementioned sexual and religious trauma.
The last song I want to talk about is the album closer, “A NIGHT OUT ON EARTH.” This is another “rainbow road” song, although probably my favorite of the “genre.” It has a very ethereal feel and although the lyrics aren’t my favorite, it’s an extremely unique ending to the album. It ties together the religious themes while also talking about Knight’s acceptance of his “toxic” qualities. It’s an amazing closer to an amazing album.
Although I didn’t talk about every track, there is not a song I don’t like on the album. These are just my favorites. My favorite part about the album as a whole is the way that Knight explores this young person’s experience through the eyes of someone who has a lot of religious guilt. I would give it a million out of 5 Spartan heads if I could, but I can settle for 5/5.