Post-emo band Hot Mulligan released their fourth studio album Why Would I Watch in May via Wax Bodega. Hot off tour with The Wonder Years and Carly Cosgrove, the Michigan based quartet first got together in 2014 during the group’s college days, and now, nine years later, they’re still going strong.
The twelve song album tackles heavy topics like mental health and troubling family members who take a toll on you. Vocalist Tades Sanville describes the album by saying that, “No one who is depressed is crying all the time. The media likes to portray deep depression as sadness, but most of the time it’s indifference. That works its way into alternative comedy and shitposting. The two cultures collide perfectly. The titles [of the songs] are the shitposts and the songs are what everyone in this position actually feels.” A few examples of the unique track titles include “Christ Alive My Toe Dammit Hurts” and “It’s a Family Movie She Hates Her Dad.”
Why Would I Watch kicks off with “Shouldn’t Have a Leg Hole But I Do.” With striking lyrics like “I’m not meant to live that long” and “Hope my father don’t take it on himself if I’m gone,” the less than two minute song makes its point effortlessly and concisely. “It’s a Family Movie She Hates Her Dad” follows next as it tackles the topic of the nuclear family, set to the foreground of an interesting and intricate guitar riff that sharply contrasts the content of the song.
“And I Smoke” perfectly describes what it’s like to have severe anxiety, giving words to something that can be exceedingly difficult to not only talk about but also to describe. Sanville sings, “My throat feels like it’s full of hair. My chest lights a flame underneath every breath.” The outro seamlessly transitions into “This Song is Called it’s Called What’s it Called.” Try saying that five times as fast. Beginning with an almost ballad, the song soon hurtles into heavy territory, easily switching back and forth between the two styles present. It ends with Sanville screaming “Use the hi-hat.”
A music video accompanies “No Shoes in the Coffee Shop (Or Socks).” The video sees the band hosting a concert in a coffee shop with the stipulation that everyone has to have their shoes off. Sparks quite literally begin to fly as everyone’s socks create static electricity on the carpet, electrocuting Sanville as vibrant, cartoon lightning flashes on the screen. With an unexpected comic ending—trust me—the music video for “No Shoes in the Coffee Shop” is everything we’ve come to expect from the pop-punk and emo outfit.
Brutally self-aware, “Christ Alive My Toe Dammit Hurts” doesn’t hold back as Sanville mercilessly screeches about what it’s like to lose the will to live. Following, “Betty” is a heartbreaking song that details what it’s like to lose a pet. It just might be this generation’s “I Will Follow You into the Dark.” Next up is “Cock Party 2 (Better Than The First),” which wonders about what happened to people from our past. Sanville sings, “Wonder where you went when we passed and graduated (It’s not important,)” though the last part sounds as if he were trying to convince himself. Coming to an end with a weeping guitar that gives a double-time feel, this song is pure pop-punk angst.
“Shhhh! Golf is On” follows next. Sanville explains that “The song is about my mom. I’m asking her to die. Every time I hear about her, she’s a worse person than before.” Featuring live concert footage from their show at the Concord Music Hall in Chicago, the music video captures the one-of-a-king energy that comes out during a Hot Mulligan show.
“Gans Media Retro Games” launches into being with Sanville questioning, “Am I the problem?” The song itself is a headbanger’s heaven, but the music video is on another plane of existence entirely. Opening with a wrestling announcer saying, “Gents, ladies, and enby’s,” the video soon sees the four members of Hot Mulligan—all donned in typical WWE attire—comically fight one another. Equal parts “Three Stooges” and “Nacho Libre,” this music video is a gift.
“Scmahccked My Head Awf” heartbreakingly discuses what it’s like to watch a loved one’s mental faculties slowly decline, so much so that they don’t recognize you anymore. “But I’ll turn into a stranger before too soon. Would you remember if I never left (I should’ve stayed). The album comes to a close with “John “The Rock” Cena, Can You Smell What the Undertaker,” and it’s early 2000’s pop-punk bliss at its best.
Why Would I Watch somehow captures this specific moment, while also being timeless. It’s loud, but only in the best way possible—unapologetically. With this release, Hot Mulligan says, “I am what I am and life is what it is,” making Why Would I Watch the band’s best record.
The album can now be streamed wherever you get music – Bandcamp and Spotify links are below!