This is my third review for this prestigious publication, and I swear I will eventually review an album about which I’m not super enthusiastic. Today’s not that day, however, as we’re talking about the new record by PUP, Morbid Stuff.
Morbid Stuff is the first record they’ve put out since 2016, and I missed them bad. PUP are what I guess you would call pop punk. I’m kind of confused as to how that term is used now a days. I used to think that was kind of an insult, and now my friends and strangers I see at shows use the label endearingly. I suppose that initial bristling at the term was more about my dislike of New Found Glory as a teenager than about anything tangible. So while describing a band that’s a musically aggressive, emotive, and lyrically insightful mixture of the best parts of Jeff Rosenstock and Ovlov, I guess we’ll go with pop punk.
This collection of songs has a resentful edge that is quite honestly magnetic. The title track that opens the record is a rebuke of everyone you’ve ever known who’s squandered what was handed to them as you struggle. Into “Kids,” we get a borderline spoken word nihilistic screed that winds through a relationship that is being hurt by this outlook. “See You at Your Funeral” is lyrically as dark, but is painted over the kind of pop that we expected of and never received from Rooney after that first single.
The tracks in the middle all have a similar theme, which appears to be “Vocalist Stefan Babcock Went Through a Rough Fuckin’ Breakup.” I don’t mean that to sound like these songs are whiny. He’s very good at painting the picture of a dude that is looking for closure and uses his medium to explore this. I mean, one of the songs is called “Closure.” “Full Blown Meltdown” goes into much heavier territory and is a standout to me, driving its point across about the frustrations of being a touring musician, and acting as a transition into the end of the album. The closing tracks “Bare Hands” and “City” are equal parts subdued and passionate, and serve as a great period at the end of the overall sentence.
Morbid Stuff feels like a monument to restlessness. If you’re having a hard time, it’s the record for you. If you’re not, you may end up getting drunk and texting your ex.