Track Premiere: “Waste My Time” by Bad Athlete

Power pop Normanites continue streak of lovestruck hopefulness in surfy new single

Imagine a high school dance, but it’s held in a dive bar and themed after mid-90s cult films like Clueless. That’s a party right there, but if Bad Athlete isn’t on stage providing the soundtrack (perhaps dressed as Seinfeld characters?), it ain’t the party it deserves to be.

That’s because Bad Athlete is probably the best band in the Oklahoma City metro to pair malt shop influences with a fuzzy alt-rock sound. Granted, not many bands have been doing it these days, but that only adds more charm to the very fun, very lively songs that this four-piece creates.

If 2018’s self-titled debut EP set such a foundation for the group, then the forthcoming full-length album releasing later this year is the mod bungalow that will soon house its latest and greatest collection of power-pop love songs. Where the EP was a tight, four-track mood board of a grungy doo-wop sound, the three first lead singles leading up to the new LP expand upon the blueprint. “Do You Want Me Now?” is an infatuation number with tighter performances and a much more driving rhythm, and “Don’t Call Me Friend” gets especially synth-heavy in places.

The third single is called “Waste My Time”. It releases everywhere tomorrow, but you can catch it a day early in this Make Oklahoma Weirder exclusive track premiere.

Complete with a surf rock rhythm and even some handclaps snuck in by the finish, “Waste My Time” is the closest relative to the Bad Athlete self-titled EP so far. Its blissful sing-song vocal harmonies are sunny, and a quick guitar solo at the bridge recalls past releases like “Who Do You Love?”.

Of the three new singles, “Waste My Time” is also the most relaxed. The recording shows its seams with brief bookends of room chatter, and the lead vocals are overlapped to give a scruffy perimeter to the gosh-darned loveable lyrics. When compared to the smooth production choices of Bad Athlete’s other recent singles, it becomes clear that the lean production is an intentional artistic choice for this one song rather than a general sound for which the band is going.

“Waste My Time” is an underdog of a song. Its opening verse says, “You know I ain’t got much / If you wanna take a chance / I could be the one to hold your hand.” It’s a smart move, then, for the quartet to hold back some of the power in its power-pop potential. The song continues to a chorus that fully acknowledges its courtship could be unsuccessful. Just having the chance in the first place is condolence enough, and the song is just wholesome and upbeat enough to make it believable.

The construction paper aesthetic of this album rollout is fabulous, too, and especially resonates well with “Waste My Time”. Bad Athlete may not fit squarely in the bedroom lo-fi territory of much DIY music, but it does make handcrafted tunes with the same can-do spirit, not unlike the hopeful narrator in this single. The difference, though, is that any time with Bad Athlete is far from wasted.

If you like what Bad Athlete is up to, be sure to give the band a follow on Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook, and if you’d like to hear “Waste My Time” again when it drops on Spotify, hit the pre-save link here:

Or alternatively, support the single more directly through the band’s official Bandcamp page here:

aka Jarvix, the Chief Executive Weirdo of Make Oklahoma Weirder. His out-of-the-box music coverage has been published by the Oklahoma Gazette, KOSU, and The Oklahoman among others. He also makes DIY music as a solo multi-instrumentalist live looper in his spare time.

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