Album Review: PWR BTTM – Pageant

Editor’s Note: I have just read about the assault allegations against PWR BTTM. I am disappointed and surprised, but this is important and it’s important that we don’t let it get overlooked like sexual assault does so many other times in the pop-punk world. Obviously, I don’t condone or support this. I stand with survivors, and I will protest every step of the way. This is not excusable. Please don’t let it be overlooked in favor of their music. 


In an intimate and engaging garage punk album, PWR BTTM has singlehandedly reinvented the genre of queercore punk with Pageant. It’s an intense rock album that’s all about reclaiming the words that were used against you, fighting unapologetically against the system, and powerfully loving yourself.

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This album is a little more personal and raw that PWR BTTM’s first. Layered under pounding guitar and driving percussion, orchestra instruments – flute in Won’t and trombone in Oh Boy – surprise and impress, bringing an air of maturity to their sound.

Alternating between cathartic queer rock anthems and crooning-yet-powerful ballads, there’s something for everyone on this intimate record. It’s catchy, especially when it comes to songs like Silly and Answer My Text, and it’s easy to imagine a room full of kids screaming along to the choruses and feeling empowered at a show. That power is how the magic happens – at shows, helping fans to reclaim words and feelings, aiding them through passionately uplifting tracks.

It’s all heavy and driving and passionate, and there’s no precision to keep Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce in check. They’re bold, purely themselves, and unapologetically in-your-face. New Trick and Big Beautiful Day specifically, PWR BTTM knows what they believe in and isn’t afraid to share it with the world.

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Listening to this album for the past week, I fell in love with each new song. I couldn’t listen to it in class because I’d get too excited and emotional, and I’m pretty sure all of my friends are excited to hear this record since that I’ve talked about it so much. For me, it’s the epitome of the magic of music – I was able to connect to the majority of the album, and knowing that there’s someone who understands and was able to put words to the feeling is inexplicably exciting. Besides that, it’s awesomely catchy and musically incredible.

Put those things together and you have an epic punk record that won’t be easily forgotten. Make sure to check out Pageant, out tomorrow, for a healthy dose of queer punk rock.

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