In 2016 Knockout Kid released Manic, which completely knocked me on my ass. That year for me was one of the hardest I’ve ever encountered in my life, but that album gave me hope and new life, and I couldn’t stop talking about it. Manic ended up as my album of the year. Well here we are 2020, and again life is crazy as we know it, and Knockout Kid is about to release another album. And once again they very well may have crafted another stellar album.

Hero Insomniac begins with a great self-titled track. It has that classic Knockout Kid sound that fans have come to love, and if this is your first listen, well you are in for a treat. If pop-punk/easycore is your poison, then you’ll eat this up, and this track is a really good introduction. Much like on Manic, the lyrics are what pulled me in. They aren’t your typical pop-punk lyrics, so that stands out. They write lyrics about real life, things that we all go through in life. Manic was a great example of that, and by my fourth listen to this album, it dawned on me that this album is the same. And it starts with this track.

“If They Want a Fight” is the second track, and they don’t slow down. The same fire and intensity that started the album, continues here. I really like the chorus in this song: “just remember never let them see you cry, never give them anything but fire from your eyes.” That’s some solid advice right there, and it can apply to so many aspects of life. There is also a line about scars making us who we are. Right now I feel so many of us are going to have “scars” from what’s going on in our world right now. But once all this is all over, we will be stronger because of it.

The next track, “No Son of Yours” is the one that truly hit home for me. It’s the one that stands out the most. Upon my first listen to the album, I listened to this song 4 times before I moved on to the next track. It’s a subject matter that I have struggled with for my entire life, one that I’m still coming to terms with. But to hear someone else have those same feelings and thoughts as I do is one of the many aspects that make music what it is. It’s what makes music special.

Another standout track is “She Talks.” This is a little rare for Knockout Kid, as it’s a full-on love song, and it’s fantastic. I absolutely love the line: “and every time she talks, I fall in love.” I melt! I can’t wait to hear this one live. As I’m writing this I’m listening to the song, and I can’t stop smiling. It’s such a banger.

“The Tragedy of Dying at Any Moment” isn’t the type of closing song I like for a pop-punk album, but this fits the overall feel of the album, and it works so well. It’s a nice slow acoustic number. It also seems to tie the rest of the album together, and I like that.

Overall, this album is really really good. At this point it’s the best pop-punk album you’ll hear in 2020. Knockout Kid is one of those bands that always puts out good music, and this release is no exception. I may have soured on pop-punk a little the past few years, but it’s bands like Knockout Kid that keep me listening. So in closing if you are looking for a good pop-punk album, this is it. And one more thing, STAY LIT!!!!!!!!

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-Ray Moore

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