KENNYHOOPLA – SURVIVOR’S GUILT: The Mixtape
Released: June 11, 2021
If you’re wondering who this latest cream of the crop kid of the nu wave pop punk revolution that goes by KENNYHOOPLA is, allow me to sum it up for you quickly. Crashing onto the alternative scene last year with his debut EP, How Will I Rest in Peace If I’m Buried By A Highway?, indie/alternative musician KennyHoopla rose to prominence and quickly caught the attention of none other than pop punk saviour, Travis Barker (Blink-182). Together, they unleashed one of the biggest tracks of the last year with ‘estella’ and…well, now we’re all anticipating what he’s about to unleash next. Together, with Barker shadow mentoring quite literally his every move, KennyHoopla has unleashed his new EP, SURVIVOR’S GUILT// — a collective mixtape with Barker. Okay, now that I’ve got you up to speed, you ready to hear what this mixtape is all about?
Opening up is ‘silence is also an answer’ and it quickly introduces us to an undeniably Blink-style riff, carrying Kenny’s unique-sounding rock vocals. It’s an instrumentally sonic sound quite similiar to something we frothed over on an earlier Blink-182 record (Self-titled). This stadium rock guitar-driven sound is pretty evident throughout the entire mixtape, and will only reel you in even more. Second track ‘estella’ really speaks for itself. If you haven’t heard it yet, you’ve clearly been living under a rock, but give it a bash below and you’ll understand why it’s part of the biggest pop punk wave to hit the global pandemic. Coming in and keeping the momentum with shockwaves of punk melodies and emo undertones, it’s a song that stands so well on its own and it’s kinda just set off on its own path of world domination.
The thundering punk energy emanating from ‘turn back time’ will literally send you into a time warp back to 2003. This kid might’ve only been a youngin’ when the genre was at its prime, but it’s pretty clear from what we’re hearing so far that KennyHoopla is wearing pop punk loud and proud on his sleeve. Kicking off with a pounding siren-y sound, the song reverberates your ears and fulfils your musical palette with nostalgic flavours of pop punk yesteryear. Title track ‘survivor’s guilt’ is actually the defining moment of SURVIVOR’S GUILT. This song is absolutely fucking wild with its scorching interval scream effects layered throughout the track. Easily my personal favourite standout of this EP, we see Kenny jump into edgier, emo territory here amidst its instrumentals, harking back to days of Senses Fail and The Used. The emo/pop punk Tiktok community is going to have a field day over this one in the coming days.
Honestly, every song on SURVIVOR’S GUILT is going to have you on the edge of your seat, banging your head to its highly addictive melody. If you haven’t set your musical senses on ‘hollywood sucks’ yet, you need to do it now. This poppier number packs a mean ol’ punch of high-energy pop punk and is just too fun to jam to. ‘inside of heaven’s mouth, there is a sweet tooth’ blows our mind again with an immersive and unique perspective down edgier punk/hardcore avenues, and it’s songs like these that extends KennyHoopla’s musical talent even further. While I can see why ‘estella’ and ‘hollywood sucks’ were released as the singles, you really gotta go further than those tracks alone to get behind this insanely talented musician. So get around this one as much as you can.
Look, it’s abundantly evident throughout every track of SURVIVOR’S GUILT that a lot of the instrumentation and drumming begins and ends with Travis Barker. Honestly, it was quite tempting to go in here and question every song as “was this a left over from Blink-182’s studio sessions?” I could, but I won’t because that’s not what this is. SURVIVOR’S GUILT is more or less a collaboration effort between the old and new pop punk, and ‘smoke break’ is the perfect hybrid of an old icon being given a huge push in the right direction. Steamrolling in with an ever-so-catchy chorus that’s longing for stadium moshpit singalongs, this belter will melt your little emo heart.
Final track ‘nine to five (love me)’ jumps right in for one more towering wave of optimism here, leading in with quite the riveting guitar riff intertwining with Barker’s signature drumming like many songs he’s touched on previously. A melancholy love anthem that combines the highly vulnerable lyrics and iconically 2000s melody, everyone’s inner emo kid is about to be reborn right here and now.
Hands down, this is my most enjoyable release of the year so far. SURVIVOR’S GUILT may be first and foremost a pop punk record, but it extends way beyond those catchy, punky riffs which we’re all so addicted to. Together with Travis Barker, KennyHoopla’s found a way to express his thoughts into music he seems set on pursuing and making relevant again, while helping to veer the genre down new perspectives that’ll inspire new and old audiences alike. While some of you may be tired of hearing Travis dipping his hand into every new, upcoming artist, you can’t disagree with the fact he’s singlehandedly keeping the alternative/pop punk scene alight and as relevant as ever. Any OG Blink fan (or pop punk kid) should give this mixtape a chance and remain an open mind. Some of these songs may stir up some very fond memories…
KENNYHOOPLA – SURVIVOR’S GUILT: The Mixtape tracklisting:
1. silence is also an answer
3. turn back time
4. survivor’s guilt
5. hollywood sucks
6. inside of heaven’s mouth, there is a sweet tooth
7. smoke break
8. nine to five