The mainstream pop punk revival is in full swing, and the latest entry is ERRØR BØY, the just-released debut album by Lil Lotus, out now on Epitaph Records. The Dallas native (real name John Villagran) grew up playing in metalcore bands before starting an acoustic solo career under the name Tremor, until he was introduced to emo-rap, adopted the Lil Lotus moniker, and began to quickly take off. He's collaborated with members of GothBoiClique as well as pop-screamo maniacs/hyperpop godfathers I Set My Friends On Fire, and in addition to his successful solo career, he also co-fronts the post-hardcore/metalcore supergroup If I Die First alongside fellow emo-rap artists Nedarb and Zubin and two members of From First To Last. He wears many hats, and quite a few of those are represented on ERRØR BØY.

The album has some of the GBC-esque emo-rap that Lotus began his career with ("Over and Over Again," "Why U Do Me Like This"), but as a lot of emo-rap artists have done in the past year or so, Lotus often goes for a full-blown pop punk sugar rush. Travis Barker is on two songs (natch), but the most satisfying pop punk moments ("Think of Me Tonight," "Girl Next Door" ft. Lil Aaron) come on the songs that Travis didn't have a hand in. Lotus also nods to his love of heavier music with the mid 2000s-style emo/post-hardcore of "Doctor Doctor," delivers trap-infused dream pop on "Butterfly K," and goes full pop pop on "Romantic Disaster," a collaboration with Chrissy Costanza of Fueled by Ramen-signed pop rockers Against The Current. In a world where pop punk, hip hop, and straight-up pop music are regularly intersecting, ERRØR BØY sounds like a very modern record, even if most of its core influences date back to the early 2000s. It's an album that some punks will find cloyingly poppy, but if you take it for what it is, some of it's pretty irresistible.

For something much harder than ERRØR BØY, If I Die First also just released their new EP They Drew Blood last week. It follows their recent split with SeeYouSpaceCowboy -- which included two new songs by each band and one collaborative song from both bands -- and it features SYSC's Connie Sgarbossa on opening track "Walking A Razor's Edge." As on that EP (and IIDF's 2020 debut EP My Poison Arms), it goes back and forth between brutally aggressive metalcore and spit-shined emo-pop hooks. It's unabashedly nostalgic for 2000s pop-metalcore albums like They're Only Chasing Safety the same way Lil Lotus' solo album is unabashedly nostalgic for 2000s pop punk. (Though there are some more modern parts too; some of Zubin's atmospheric, boyishly sung hooks remind me of HEALTH.) Both are records that might get called "guilty pleasures," but really they challenge the very notion of a guilty pleasure. They make you want to embrace this stuff as brazenly as they do.

Stream both below...



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