Pop punk is kinda a weird thing. It’s a genre aimed primarily at young people, but the only stuff that doesn’t get shit on in critical circles is stone-faced, serious, grown adult shit and the rest gets mocked as dumb Warped Tour bands. And yeah, most of the goofy pop punk these days sucks. That’s probably why Jicky stand out.
Disappointed is a really awkward pop punk record, and I mean that as a huge compliment. Most of the bands in this lane come across as pandering to 13-year-olds, but Jicky are just genuinely, endearingly clumsy individuals just trying to make it though a song like we all just try to make it though a moment of our lives when we’re this age.
On paper, it’s a terrible idea to write a song like “Bruce Jenner”. It’s the type of thing that’s going to piss off anyone who sucks at listening, and nearly everyone sucks at listening these days. The potential payoff of such a song is seemingly low, too. But Jicky, almost by accident, gracefully trip around the pitfall they set up for themselves and faceplant into a pot of gold. “I’m a good listener. Why the need for pedagogy? I don’t want your disease.” is the main point made by the song as it deals with the frustration of people taking everything they see at face value and then going on to lecture those who do listen, the example being that Caitlyn Jenner should neither be praised or hated for being a trans woman: it’s an identity like any other and should be treated as such if true equality is going to happen. But she, as human of this planet, should be criticized because she’s not a glowing positive example of humanity because “she voted for Reagan” and she killed Howe, who “was a nice lady, supposed to have lived“. At least that’s what I got from it.
Aside from that, we have a song about a failed booty call that devolves into watching fetish porn (“Stood-Up”), a take on ’90s grunge which is silly in an endearing way (“Cloudy”), and a song about packing up and starting over (“Art Deco”), among others. All the songs are “quick, loud, and catchy”, as advertised, but also many are oddly structured, as if to create a musical identity that shouts “we don’t really know what to do, but we’re doing it, we have things to say, and we’re gonna have fun saying them”. The whole record comes off as incredibly genuine, and at times, profound, though the profundities seem to be bastards of unfiltered expression.
You could call it blink-182 with a free spirit and a better sense of humor, I’ll probably say it’s closer to Superdrag as drunk teenagers. Either way, it feels special. I think these guys are on to something.