“Copacetic” is an adjective in the English language meaning “in excellent order”. Remarkably, I can’t think of a better word used to describe this record. Serving as their debut in 2015, Knuckle Puck delivered eleven punk pop songs that fit seamlessly into this modern word, proving that in fact, pop punk is not dead after all. Copacetic truly is an emo masterpiece, but it’s one that I’m afraid to admit I almost completely overlooked. Upon my first listen, I remember thinking that I would “listen to about 70% of the songs again” and I pushed it out of my memory for a little while. And yet, when I gravitated back towards it, I couldn’t be happier. Copacetic is built upon personal but relatable storylines that are woven into intricate lyricism and balanced out with classic pop punk instrumentation. With immaculate attention to detail and obvious effort put forth, we are presented with a record that sounds extremely like 2003 yet refrains from feeling recycled and redone.
Our opening track, “Wall To Wall (Depreciation)” is only built up of two verses and two chorus and already serves as a better introduction than most records I’ve heard. It basically speaks about the frustrations of life by comparing them to “dividends” and other financial terms, which is already pivoting us in a more grown direction (not that younger people wouldn’t know what dividends and depreciation are, but I sure didn’t when I was a teenager in the midst of my angst). “True Contrite” is another vocabulary heavy track that I had to look up the definition of; “contrite” means expressing guilt and the song speaks heavily on how no matter how hard you try to suppress your problems they’ll always catch up with you in the end. Even “Pretense” outlines a failed relationship, quite possibly with a parent figure, who should have been present but wasn’t. Just these three songs showcase the bands maturity at analyzing adult relationships and scenarios, putting themselves outside of the teen angst realm of most pop punk and making this relatable to much broader audience.
However, to stay true to the realm of pop punk, it’s an absolute must to have some self deprecating moments on here as well. It truly wouldn’t be worthwhile without them, if we’re being honest. Most of them are rather easy to comprehend like “What could you possibly see in a failure like me?” from “Disdain”. But the most gruesome, “Ponder”, is also the one that contains the album title and is about getting curb stomped. It’s soft and somber, where you genuinely feel bad for the narrator and he obviously feels worse for himself, saying that “I’d push down harder if it were me”. Ironically enough, he states that “I’ll tell you everything is copacetic” even though it’s clearly not; and quite honestly, the worst part about those lines are that every human being has experienced this to some degree.
I don’t want to make it seem like this record is only based off of complaining about life, because it’s truly not. As much as you want to feel those negative emotions at times, this record reminds you that “there’s so much fight left inside” from “Swing” and that “you grew from a seed / forever strong like a pine tree” from “Evergreen”. The latter especially is a huge piece on this track list and is absolutely the best song on here. It easily could have (and should have) been released as a single but I’m glad that it wasn’t. This is a hidden gem that makes you feel less desolate even when that’s the only way you want to feel. The way that these songs are produced to be relatable and heartening without being corny is beyond noteworthy; for other artists it’s nearly impossible but for Knuckle Punk it appears effortless.
My favorite part about this record isn’t a particular song or guitar part or lyric. It’s the way each song fits a certain mood and how empathetic it is. It’s all the visuals, imagery and metaphors found in “In Your Crosshairs” that bring the song to life. It’s the nervous excitement feeling you get when you hear the rapid drumming in “Stationary”. It’s the way the entire project is tied together by the closing song “Untitled” where we’re reminded again that “everything is copacetic”. It’s animated and bold despite various occasions of melancholy, putting into perspective things that are at times impossible to express on your own. And if you can’t possibly relate or take anything away from this collection, at least you can learn a few new words.