Comedian Jeff Ross tells a story about getting advice from Dave Chapelle: “Stay your lane.” Know what you’re good at and do it well. It’s better to excel at one thing than spread yourself too thin. Wisdom that few follow. On Radiosurgey, New Found Glory are in fifth gear on the Autobahn in an Audi R8.
New Found Glory are the elder statesmen of pop punk and it’s a title they don’t take lightly. After the hardcore-tinged Not Without a Fight, the band regrouped and made a conscious decision that their next album would go back to the roots of three-chord punk and evoke the early straight-forward sound of legends like the Ramones and Kerrplunk!-era Green Day. Pushed by producer Neal Avron, the resulting Radiosurgery sessions are some of the freshest and most energetic tracks of their career. Here’s a track-by-track breakdown:
A great opening track that sets the tone for the record. The song relies heavily on the main riff, but the bridge is my favorite part.
2. Anthem for the Unwanted
Cyrus Bolooki is an underrated drummer. While he’s capable of flashiness behind the kit, his driving beats are the backbone of Radiosurgery. This track makes me air-drum the most. I can already here the massive crowd chanting “whoa-oh-oh” along with the intro when they certain bust this track out on the Pop Punk’s Not Dead Tour.
3. Drill It In My Brain
It’s wouldn’t be an NFG album without at least one hardcore half-time breakdown and the mosh gets heavy at the end of this one.
4. I’m Not the One
Great lyrics here from Steve Klein about doing something even though you know it’s wrong. You know that your heart is somewhere else, but sometimes you just need a booty call. Right? The chorus here is killer as well.
5. Ready, Aim, Fire!
If you had to pick a weak spot on the album, this may be it. It’s not a bad song by any stretch of the imagination, but alongside the other tracks, “Ready, Aim, Fire!” doesn’t have the same punch or urgency.
A solid song that really picks up speed once they key change kicks in in the second half.
7. Summer Fling, Don’t Mean a Thing
Classic NFG–a great hook and melody that demands a sing-a-long. Ian Grushka does work on the bass laying down a groove that few other pop punk bands could match.
8. Caught In The Act
There was a ton of hype around Bethany Cosentino’s (Best Coast) guest spot on this track and I honestly expected more than just backing vocals on the chorus. Still, this a great song with a slower tempo that deserves to be the soundtrack to a dating montage in an eighties movie.
9. Memories and Battle Scars
The fastest song on the album delivers on all levels and feel like it could have just as easily been on Sticks and Stones. Another great chorus with the lines “I want to kiss you so hard that your lips bleed/And I want to hold you so tight that your ribs break.” Don’t forget about another diesel bridge that will cause a concussion enducing head bag.
So much swag on the vocal from Jordan Pudnik. Chad Gilbert lays down a tight riff that is way more classic rock than punk, but it totally works.
11. Map Of Your Body
I just want to shake my hips and dance to this song. A classic chord progression that gets an injection of energy with a fun melody.
It’s insane how a record about getting someone off your mind so easily gets stuck in your head. The songs are so catchy that you’ll need radiosurgery to remember that other music even exist. It’s debatable whether this is NFG’s best album, but Radiosurgery is flawless in concept and execution. Pop punk’s not dead, but it just got a defibrillator blast to the chest.