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Music / Bowling for Soup

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Are they bowling to get soup, or bowling on behalf of soup?
''She works at Hot Topic,
His heart microscopic
She thinks that it's love but to him it's sex
He listens to emo but Fat Mike's his hero
His bank account's zero
What comes next?''
—"Punk Rock 101"

Bowling For Soup (also known as BFS) is an American pop-punk band started in 1994 in Wichita Falls, Texas. Their songs focus on drinking, partying, peppy songs about being a high school Butt-Monkey and teenaged debauchery (the song High School Never Ends), and ones that are almost a deconstruction and analysis of the Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist (the song A-hole). Other times they talk about the band being high school buddies and the Girl of the Week. Basically the kind of themes you'd find in an average blink-182 song or a high school freshman's journal.

Studio albums:

  • Bowling for Soup (1995)
  • Rock on, Honorable Ones!! (1997)
  • Let's Do It for Johnny!! (2000)
  • Drunk Enough to Dance (2002)
  • A Hangover You Don't Deserve (2004)
  • The Great Burrito Extortion Case (2006)
  • Sorry for Partyin (2009)
  • Fishin' for Woos (2011)
  • Merry Flippin' Christmas (2011)
  • Lunch. Drunk. Love (2013)
  • Drunk Dynasty (2016)

They also do the opening theme song for Phineas and Ferb (frontman Jaret Reddick also voiced a recurring character, Danny, in the series), the movie theme for Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, the main theme for Sonic Unleashed, a cover of Modern English's "I Melt With You" for Disney's Sky High (2005), and a cover of A Flock of Seagulls' "I Ran (So Far Away)" for the opening of Saint Seiya's English dub. As of 2012, Jaret Reddick is the new voice of Chuck E. Cheese.

This band provides examples of:

  • The '80s: "1985".
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: "Girl All The Bad Guys Want", despite the title making it sound like an Inverted Trope. It's also a gender-flipped version, since the protagonist is an uncool guy who wants to date a bad girl. He resorts to trying to be a bad boy himself to get her.
    Now I'm watchin' wrestling, trying to be a tough guy
    Listening to rap metal, turntables in my eyes
    I can grow a mustache, but I got no season pass
    All I got's a moped.
  • Animated Music Video:
    • The video for their cover of Patent Pending's "Hey Mario" is 8-bit and has them hanging out with Mario.
    • Made a couple of animated videos for their rerecordings of "1985" and "High School Never Ends" for Songs People Actually Liked - Volume 2 - The Next 6 Years (2004-2009).
  • Anti-Love Song: Many.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: "Here's Your Freakin' Song" is written about the singer's (presumably ex) girlfriend, who always begged him to write a song about her. So he did. And, well... if she's not his ex, she certainly will be after she hears it.
    You talk too much,
    you never shut up.
    Everything I do for you is never enough!
    You snore, you drool,
    you talk in your sleep.
    Won't get a night's rest
    until you're six feet deep!
    I promised you forever,
    but we both know,
    we're never gonna get along.
    You want it? You got it!
    Here's your freakin' song!
  • Big Fun: Guitarist Chris Burney is difficult to miss (for more reasons than one). Jaret as well in recent years.
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Graduation Trip" ends with the singer and his girlfriend ultimately drifting apart, due to them getting together on a four-day-long trip and living in separate states, but it's clear there's no bitterness on either end, and the singer is glad to hear the girl is doing well.
  • Bowdlerise: Their cover of "I Melt With You" changes the second line from "Making love to you" to "Being friends with you" due to it being recorded for the Disney-produced Sky High (2005).
  • Break-Up Song: A-Hole. Different from most in that the singer feels bad about not having done more to make the relationship work, and features an I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
  • Call-Back: The hidden outro track on Great Burrito Extortion Case fades in after about a minute of silence at the end of "If You Come Back To Me", and consists of Studio Chatter discussing the subject of every other track on the album, over a loop of the jaunty "la-la-la-laaaaaa" chorus from "I'm Gay". Also, arguably, the reprise of "Ohio (Come Back to Texas)" on A Hangover You Don't Deserve, which continues the Long List of famous Texans who miss the singer's girlfriend from that song's breakdown.
  • Changing Chorus: "Highschool Never Ends" makes minor shifts to the chorus.
    • It starts out as:
      You still don't have the right look, and you don't have the right friends; Nothing changes but the faces, the names, and the trends, Highschool Never Ends
    • Then changes to:
      You still don't have the right look, and you don't have the right friends, and you still listen to the same shit you did back then, Highschool Never Ends
    • Which finally becomes:
      And I still don't have the right look, and I still have the same three friends, and I'm pretty much the same as I was back then, Highschool Never Ends
  • Clothing-Concealed Injury: "99 Biker Friends" discusses how their female friend is being beaten by her husband. In addition to her wearing "seven pounds of makeup just to hide her beat-up face", the chorus mentions:
    She's wearing shades
    But we all see
    Behind the tinted glass
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Their song "My Hometown."
  • Continuity Nod: In their music video for their song, 'S-S-S-Saturday,' they wear the blue tuxes from their earlier album cover for Drunk Enough to Dance
  • Cover Version: “...Baby One More Time”; “Five O’Clock World”; “Gilligan’s Island Theme”; “I Melt With You”; “I Ran (So Far Away)”; “Jimmy Neutron Theme”; “Li’l Red Riding Hood”; “London Bridge”; “Sick Of Myself”; “Spanish Harlem”; “Speed Racer”; “Summer of ‘69”; "Circle"
    • "1985" is a song by their friends in SR-71. The Bowling for Soup version though is in a different key and has slight alterations to the lyrics to make the song less bitter and more of a celebration of The '80s.
    • “Belgium”: A special case in that they themselves wrote and recorded the original, but continue to cover it in new styles as hidden tracks on their albums. Currently the alternate versions include acoustic, boy-band, and polka.
    • "Stacy's Mom:" Because everyone thought they did it anyway.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Their songs are normally quite cheerful, but they can also get impressively sarcastic.
  • Disco Dan: "1985"
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The end of the "1985" video with the housewife dancing on top of the car. The band is finished. She isn't. It takes her husband calling from across the street for the band to stop staring at her and give her an awkward applause as she covers herself up and scampers back to her house.
  • Double Entendre: "My Wena" seems like a long dick joke until The Reveal in the video, which shows that it's actually about a wiener dog named Wena.
  • Drunk Rolling: In "I Think You Like Me Too", the singer initially claims that he got jukebox money from a friendly biker. In one of the later verses, he admits:
    That biker guy was passed out on the floor
    We took his wallet and the keys to his Harley
    And now he doesn't have them anymore
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "The Bitch Song"
  • Fun with Foreign Languages: Three words that will change your life: "No Hablo Ingles."
  • Gag Censor: Blocking a jock's penis in the video for "High School Never Ends." It's labelled "Too small for TV."
  • Good Ol' Boy: Averted; the band are from Texas, but despite Texas gaining a bad reputation of historical homophobia, they, at multiple points throughout several songs, make it clear they love gay people. From wishing they were gay to avoid girl troubles to stating they have no problem with gay people while singing about how a friend calls them such when he comments how he loves him.
  • Hates Their Parent: Played for Laughs and mentioned in "I'm Gay":
    Well, we've all heard about how the guys in the band
    Weren't the popular kids in school
    And you hate your parents 'cuz the way it turned out
    But in the end, the blame's on you
  • Heavy Meta: "Really Cool Dance Song", which is rife with Take That! against meaningless, generic dance music.
  • Hellish L.A.: "I Can't Stand LA". It's Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a song about how much the band loves a variety of cities, but can't stand Los Angeles due to things like pollution, road rage, and "the threat of breaking off into the sea". They do, however, have a section about giving the "benefit of the doubt", and point out positives like the good sushi, the city's diversity, and the hot women.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: "BFFF" is essentially a love song from one partner to another, even saying "I'm tryin' to say I love you in a heterosexual way."
  • High School: "High School Never Ends".
  • "I Hate" Song: "I Can't Stand L.A." is, well... about how the band can't stand Los Angeles, while mentioning other cities they do enjoy.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: "Get Happy", possibly, depending on whether you think they're being sarcastic or not.
    "Maybe you're right: We've had a good time. I'll sit around, you get yourself a new life. Go get your spark, go find your smile, and get happy."
    • A lot of their songs touch on this, when the narrator doesn't get the girl - notably, in "A-Hole," the narrator fully admits that they were a jerk, and apologizes to his (now-ex) girlfriend, hoping she can find somebody better.
  • Jaded Washout: Rare female example with Debbie, the protagonist of "1985."
  • Just the Way You Are: "Normal Chicks" is a song about how girls don't need to look like supermodels to be attractive.
  • Language Fluency Denial: "No Hablo Ingles" is about pretending not to speak English (by using the title phrase) to get out of various quandaries and responsibilities.
    My teacher asked where my homework was
    And that's when I told her
    "No hablo ingles!"
  • Last-Second Word Swap: The entire chorus of "Friendly Goodbye".
    "Ain't that a bee with an itch. Ain't that a mother-trucker. You can go to H-E double hockey sticks and F yourself! 'Cause I'm flippin' gosh darn sick of all the S-words you put me though."
    • Also "99 Biker Friends"
    "Such a big man, such a little chick/I think it all goes back to your tiny/Pick- up truck in the driveway"
    "Your friends think you're an asshole/And I do too/Over compensatin' for your small shoes"
  • Listing Cities: "I Can't Stand LA".
  • Money, Dear Boy: Invoked In-Universe in "Really Cool Dance Song", which is about a band that writes a dance song for no other reason than the fact that dance songs sell albums.
    Now we're getting older, and much more sober,
    And we've got some big house payments to make.
    The wife wants a handbag, the kids need some college,
    And we just need one hit single to break.
    Get ready here it comes!
  • Network Decay: Referenced in "1985": "There was U2, and Blondie/And music still on MTV".invoked
  • Nonconformist Dyed Hair: The protagonist dyes her hair pink in "Star Song", to the consternation of her parents. The song has a Be Yourself aesop.
    "Your mother's so happy you became a cheerleader
    Homecoming queen, just like your older sister
    'Til you dyed your hair pink, and she said what were you drinking?
    And it never did sink in it don't matter what they think..."
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: The chorus of "BFFF:"
    You'll tell the world I'm gay / when you hear me say / that I really and truly feel this way. / Not that there's anything wrong with being gay.
  • Potty Failure: One of the flashbacks in the music video of "High School Never Ends" shows a cheerleader acting friendly towards an awkward-looking boy while secretly slipping Ex-Lax into his drink. At the reunion, he gets revenge on her by eating various disgusting things to make himself puke all over her.
  • Putting the Pee in Pool: In "No Hablo Ingles", the question "Did one of you guys pee in the pool?" is listed as one of the phrases a person can say the song's title in response to.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: "I'll Always Remember You (That Way)" is about a past romantic tryst as narrated by the former lovers (emphasizing rather different details of the same event).
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Knights of the Zodiac", the DiC dub of Saint Seiya, used the Bowling for Soup cover of A Flock of Seagulls song "I Ran (So Far Away)", and "Today is Gonna Be a Great Day".
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: "99 Biker Friends" combines with with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. The entire song is about the band gathering up as many people as they can find to go beat the everloving crap out of a domestic abuser.
  • Shout-Out: "1985" is packed full of them - (deep breath) - Whitesnake, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Nirvana, U2, Blondie, MTV, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo's Fire, Wham!, Limp Bizkit, Duran Duran, Van Halen, Mötley Crüe and Ozzy Osbourne (phew!).
    • Also "Girl All The Bad Guys Want" has one to The Ramones:
    "She broke my heart, I wanna be sedated...all I wanted was to see her naked!"
    "Like Tommy and Gina, they're living on a prayer."
  • Silly Love Songs: "Smoothie King" despite some of its Anti-Love Song lyrics ("Love songs suck and fairy tales aren't true/And 'Happy ending: Hollywood' is not for me and you."). It's about finding that person who drives you crazy in all the right ways.
  • Snub by Omission: "My Hometown," which very pointedly avoids naming the town they started in.note 
  • The Something Song: "The Bitch Song".
  • Subject 101: "Punk Rock 101", their ode to the Hot Topic generation.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: See Last-Second Word Swap. There's also another one leading up to the second example in "99 Biker Friends".
    You tell her that you're sorry/Blame it on the beer/Your dad was mean to you/Your friends think you're/An asshole
  • Take That!: Towards Staind and Limp Bizkit in the music video for "Girl All the Bad Guys Want," in particular making fun of the Fred Durst directed music videos for "It's Been a While" by Staind and "Break Stuff" by Limp Bizkit. Near the end of the video is a scene of Slipknot lookalikes beating up a parody of Fred Durst as a reference to a feud Slipknot had with Limp Bizkit in the late 90s.
    • "My Hometown" has more than a few disses to people from their home town who didn't support the band until they got popular. In particular, the song goes out of its way not to name the home town.
  • Toilet Humor: There's a lot in The Outro for The Great Burrito Extortion Case.
    Jaret: "Sometimes, after you fart, and it stinks real bad, and you go to take a drink of beer, all you're really is inhaling fart."
  • Tsundere: The singer in "Not a Love Song" totally doesn't want his girl back.
  • T-Word Euphemism: Featured in "A Friendly Goodbye," where the chorus is a string of these because the narrator's soon-to-be-ex hates cursing.
  • Walk of Shame: A song aptly titled "Walk Of Shame", about a man and woman walking home alone after a drunk one-night stand; the man, in particular, has no pants, because he left them at the bar.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: The premise of the video to "High School Never Ends", where the band gets karmic revenge on several Jerk Jocks that picked on them as kids in a high school renuion.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: The target of the song "99 Biker Friends" is ordered to stop beating his wife/girlfriend on pain of the aforementioned bikers coming over to return the favor.
  • Wild Teen Party: The focus characters of "Friends Chicks Guitars" would like to have one, but they failed to get enough beer, so it fizzled out.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: "Much More Beautiful Person."