The Aquabats - Hi-Five Soup! (Cover Artwork)

The Aquabats

The Aquabats: Hi-Five Soup!Hi-Five Soup! (2011)
Fearless Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: GlassPipeMurderGlassPipeMurder
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It's been almost six years since the Aquabats released an LP. SIX YEARS. Sure, they've been busy with their award-winning Nick Jr. television show, Yo Gabba Gabba!, producing The Aquabats Super Show! and touring the world several times over, but what kind of an excuse is that? Buncha slackers if you.
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It's been almost six years since the Aquabats released an LP. SIX YEARS. Sure, they've been busy with their award-winning Nick Jr. television show, Yo Gabba Gabba!, producing The Aquabats Super Show! and touring the world several times over, but what kind of an excuse is that? Buncha slackers if you ask me.

In a December 2010 interview with the OC Weekly, MC Bat Commander Christian Jacobs said Hi-Five Soup! would be "definitely a departure... I guess what we came up with is more Yo Gabba Gabba!-meets-the-Aquabats." Expounding in AMP Magazine, he claimed, "I think this new record has more stuff like that on it, silly kid stuff, which is fun. It's less trying to appeal to a little bit older crowd and just trying to appeal to the Halloween costume crowd." Given that the Aquabats have never exactly been pandering to the inner grown-up in all of us, that should tell you how kid-friendly this album is. It's got a gang chorus of what sounds like children and/or Brobee's posse along with a verse of Auto-Tune ("B.F.F.!"), a hugs-not-thugs anthem ("Hey Homies!") and an appearance by 2003 internet sensation Strong Bad of Homestar Runner fame ("Pink Pants!").

But there's still enough of the Aquabats' exciting musical arrangements mixed with a newfound obsession with electronica alongside their zany cartoonish storytelling to make the album enjoyable for listeners of any age. Following in the same style of synthed-out pop-punk as 2005's Charge!!!, songs like "Poppin' a Wheelie!", "Just Can't Lose!" and the album's opener "Shark Fighter!" buzz and whir like Devo on a sugar high.

The Yo Gabba Gabba! influence is audibly apparent on those tracks like "Radio Down!" (which features legendary rapper and YGG! star Biz Markie) and "Hey Homies!", whose robotic electronic rhythms beep to the beat under a plethora of auxiliary vocals.

The best songs of the album are those that vaguely revisit the band's early years as a staple ska act like "In My Dreams!" and the epic closer "Luck Dragon Lady!", which enters with a head-bobbing rocksteady beat and morphs into an electro-rap halfway through before returning to the grandiose refrain for a formidable outro.

The only downsides to the ultra kid-friendly themes is that there isn't any (albeit light) social commentary like "Idiot Box" or "Fashion Zombies", while songs like "B.F.F.!" and "Hey Homies!" genuinely do sound like they belong on a Nick Jr. children's show. Jimmy the Robot doesn't pull out his saxophone once on the album (bummer), and there aren't really any cute relationship songs like "Red Sweater", "Lovers of Loving Love" or "Hot Summer Nights". The closest to anything like that on here is "In My Dreams!" with the line "We can be together if we only believe / But then you go away / But tonight I'm dreamin' ??bout you tonight."

In the grand scheme of the Aquabats' discography, Hi-Five Soup! will probably land somewhere in the middle on the perpetual scale of greatness. Behind The Fury of the Aquabats! but slightly better than ...vs. the Floating Eye of Death!, Hi-Five Soup is the right album for the midst of the Yo Gabba Gabba! craze. It's the best record Fearless has put out in ages, but will hopefully be the last that requires a supporting cast so the Aquabats can write their next album as the sovereign band of superheroes we've come to love.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Skibz777 (August 23, 2014)

You're a sad, empty man, napalm06, but hopefully one day someone will come along to unfreeze your heart. -_-

napalm06 (August 21, 2014)

Too many words in all the debating below... it comes down to this:

Aquabats = zaniness good music

This release is missing one of those two elements.

napalm06 (August 21, 2014)

A mis-step for a heroic band.

Zephir (December 8, 2011)

Go to give The Aquabats some love.

Coons (December 7, 2011)

Great album

JimmyChoo1 (March 25, 2011)

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pauldelamancha (February 22, 2011)

From reading the comments, I think some of you should review why you are a fan of the Aquabats or have been in the past. Lighten up, I think the last thing they want is to be taken seriously. Never seen Yo Gabba Gabba so I can't comment there. My kids have been in to every Aquabat album yet so I would argue they really can't get "more" juvenile. Yeah it took me a bit to get into BFF, Radio Down and All my Money but I'm starting to catch the nuances. Poppin a Wheelie I don't think was ever intended to be the citizen kane of pop music in the first place, it's just a fun song. I have to say, throwing this album on and hitting the trampoline is probably some of the best fun I've had in a long time. It's just high energy fun music. I'd say this album is the slightly corny but lovable stepchild of Charge and Floating Eye. Can't wait to see them Saturday. I do have to say you need to hear the album a few times before you pass judgement. Doing it with a listen to the sample or a quick listen through is like judging a book by the first page or the stupid picture of the author on the back.

theinefficiencyofemotion (January 27, 2011)

Reviews are almost always composed of people who "get it" and people who don't. This is more true than ever when it comes to the Aquabats. The Aquabats should never be reviewed based on popular music or trends, they should always be reviewed and compared based on their past work. After all, they dress up as superheroes and make very silly songs about "family friendly" material. This certainly isn't for everyone and will not appeal to many which is sad.

It blows my mind how many serious comments on here trash this as garbage. I'd imagine most of these haters are 15 year olds trying to find a balance with their testosterone levels. One look at this album cover should immediately tell even the most casual of listeners/reviewers exactly what this is: pure, unadulterated fun for all ages. This is simple music about letting go and having a good time, regardless of age or "maturity." If you listened to this and were completely devoid of any form of joy or laughter, then your review is lacking levity and perspective and is probably needed to solve the world's more serious issues.

If you're the type of individual who hates animated films because they're cartoons or hates nintendo cause they "only cater to kids," then you clearly need to find a far more mature and serious band to comment on. See ya!

As for the album itself, this review was mostly accurate. This is neither the best Aquabats album nor the worst. It certainly has a YGG influence, but that didn't prevent me from smiling or playing this more than once. Previous Aquabats fans won't be disappointed. This has the same light-hearted, goofy appeal as past efforts.

If you haven't seen them live yet, you're doing yourself a disservice. One of the all-time great performers, but only if you can stop yourself from being so serious.

moffettman (January 26, 2011)

If you didn't like the Aquabats in the past, you will absolutely hate this album. As a fan of the band, I wasn't sure what to think at first but after several listens, I think this album is brilliant. The music isn't as good as on Charge, but the lyrics are as funny as anything they have ever put out. I don't think there is a single semi-serious song on this album. There is also a great guest appearance by Strongbad. I look forward to listening to this one with my son in the car (and no, you don't have to have kids to enjoy this).

jaimage (January 25, 2011)

Does every song seriously have an exclamation mark at the end? They kind of lose their punch after you use it that many times.

TheRedDeath (January 25, 2011)

"i''m sorry... I'm sorry... but, HOW are you people digging this??????????? It's the fucking worst pre-school music I've ever heard!"

Yah, and in related news, fuck having fun too! dunno how people enjoy that shit.

kidpomona (January 25, 2011)

I'm really surprised that so many Aquabats fans aren't enjoying this. It's exactly what a Bats' record should be, fun and silly.

superskabro (January 25, 2011)

Don't know about the rest of the album, but I've listened to "Hey Homies!" about 45 times in the past week.

telegraphrocks (January 25, 2011)

"How can anyone older than eight be into this?"
This is fucking garbage.

Sandsky (January 25, 2011)

The only surprising thing about this album is that Thegimper didn't review it.

fattony (January 25, 2011)

I want to keep an open mind about this album, since I hated Charge at first, but that album grew on me to the point that I'd say it's my favorite Aquabats album. But after one listen of Hi-Five Soup, I can tell I won't be spinning this very often. There just isn't a whole lot on here to like. It really feels like they ditched the campy superhero gig altogether. They should have just called this a Yo Gabba Gabba album, rather than releasing it as The Aquabats.

One of the first major disappointments of 2011. Oh well. They still kill it live.

StraightToHell82 (January 25, 2011)

How can anyone older than eight be into this? Only exception is if you have a child younger than eight, and you're being supportive.

I gave this more than a fair shot... listened to every second of every song... fuck... Brokencyde is even more tolerable than this, and they held my given title of "worst "band"' until this past weekend.
Yes, I now believe The Aquabats to be even worse than Brokencyde...

I'm sorry... I'm sorry... but, HOW are you people digging this??????????? It's the fucking worst pre-school music I've ever heard!

Rastid (January 25, 2011)

love the aquabats. all these comments, especially the negative ones, really have me excited about this.

anarchypants (January 25, 2011)

Radio down is something special. I look forward to checking out the rest of the album.

TheWalkingTargets (January 25, 2011)

just hearing the first song made me want to kill myself. not a good sign.

wearestillalive (January 25, 2011)

Love Charge, not so much of a fan of their ska records, this album is pretty good.

Thegimper (January 25, 2011)

This is a great review. I pretty much agree with everything written. My favorite track is the one not mentioned, "The Legend Is True."

This is still the best release of 2011 to date.

spartakus (January 25, 2011)

This album gets better with every listen. When they put "Shark Fighter" up on facebook last month, I listened to it non-stop for about 3.5 hours.

When I actually got the album last week, the lack of the "adult sophistication" did stand out to me and was somewhat missed, but over time, every song has grown on me. Even the ones I initially wasn't a huge fan of I've come to really enjoy. I'm on about my 20th listen now and things are REALLY clicking with me on this listen... So, I say give it time. And hopefully, next album will still have the silliness, but the tongue-in-cheek self awareness of being adults in a superhero rock band that the Aquabats have always had, will be stronger.

jimmydoyle (January 25, 2011)

Loved it! Radio Down!, Poppin' a Wheelie!, In My Dreams! and Just Can't Lose! were my favorites. Overall, I think its a good record that is making a lot of the older Bats fans just feel old and out of touch. Musically, the album is eclectic & impressive. The guests on the record left me thinking "Huh?", but Radio Down! sounds great with Biz Markee. Strong Bad? that was a little weird and not very necessary, but not terrible.

africansk8er (January 25, 2011)

I agree with this review; this is not the best 'bats album. "BFF" and "Popping A Wheel" get skipped every time they come up in my iTunes shuffle, and "All My Money" is such a throw-away/forgettable song that I (and even the reviewer) keeps forgetting about it. However, other songs are amazing, like "Luck Dragon Lady" and "The Legend is True" (which will be awesome live).

The Aquabats have always been silly, but with an adult sophistication. This album is just straight silly, and the Yo Gabba Gabba influence is obvious. The best songs on this album are the ones that sound the least like a YGG song. Overall, this album is a mixed bag.

lanceuppercut (January 25, 2011)

I agree with where this album lands in the Aquaspectrum; some songs are definitely good while others will be forgotten before they're over. Good review, but you forgot to mention the awesomeness that is the British Breakdown in The Legend Is True!

thepopeofchili-town (January 25, 2011)

I couldn't even make it through the itunes samples. Everyone involved with this album should be embarrassed and ashamed of themselves. One star. Out of 100.

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