A friend recently dismissed Bowling for Soup (below) with the sneering comment "They're punk rock for girls" -- by which he meant preteen girls, the kind who pretend they don't dig JoJo, even though they do, and think Eminem's "Mockingbird" is the most searing personal statement ever committed to plastic. Gender-typing aside, this remark demonstrates that the Bowlers haven't lost their youthful charm despite personally outgrowing the junior demographic ages ago. The band was founded in Wichita Falls, Texas, back in 1994, which helps explain the dust on some of lead singer Jaret Reddick's pop-culture rhymes, not to mention his weakness for nostalgia. In the hit single "1985," for instance, Reddick and the boys needle the tune's protagonists with references to Whitesnake and Mtley Crüe -- bands a lot cooler than Bryan Adams, whose appalling "Summer of '69" they reverently covered five years back. The keys to BFS's continued kiddie appeal, then, aren't its lyrics, but the group's bouncy melodicism and skill at constructing hooks that stick in the average eleven-year-old's head just like the Barney theme used to. There's no telling how much longer the band, which shares the Ogden's stage with American Hi-Fi, Riddlin Kids and MC Lars, will be able to fool Father Time. For the moment, however, the little girls understand.
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