Names like Green Day and Blink-182 are often remembered as relics of the past. In their prime, they defined the pop-punk genre, with their sound filling several radio stations at a time. With the early 2000s long gone, however, listeners will be hard pressed to find any punk music being broadcast on public radio stations. A pop-punk band out of Wales, Neck Deep, has recently changed this with their newest albums, Life’s Not Out to Get You and The Peace and the Panic. “Can’t Kick Up the Roots,” featured on the album Life’s Not Out to Get You, showcases the band’s sound, and exhibits the energy and passion any good punk music requires.
Lyrical content always has an impact on a song’s success, and “Can’t Kick Up the Roots” is no different. Throughout the track, Ben Barlow, the band’s lead singer, makes references to his hometown in Wales. He describes it in nearly every way imaginable, calling it “a town with no way out”, a revelry, and even a shipwreck. With teenagers being frequent listeners of punk music, these comparisons definitely hit home. Nearly every teen can remember a time they threatened to run away, or a moment they knew they wanted more than their humble homes. Although they’re certain they want to leave, many know, deep down, they can’t hate where they’re from. Ben’s lyrics, “Yeah, this place is such a shipwreck, but this shipwreck it is mine,” showcase this perfectly. Other lines, like “Day by day we grew to love this place, and where I’ll make my grave, my anchor lays,” also indicate a love-hate relationship anyone can have with their home.
Besides telling a relatable tale, “Can’t Kick Up the Roots” simply pleases listeners. The song wastes no time getting into the action, as it opens with a quick drum-filled opening, followed by an enthusiastic guitar riff. Throughout the song, various guitar tones are used, from hard, heavily distorted notes, to lighter, more pleasant acoustic-sounding lines. Each technique contributes to the song, so every section becomes a unique building block for a brilliant song. Thanks to the charismatic percussionist Dani Washington, the song retains a high energy throughout that keeps listeners engaged every second.
Despite its many strengths, this song isn’t perfect by any means. Vulgar language conveys much of the emotion behind songs like “Can’t Kick Up the Roots.” This can be upsetting to some audiences, although the cusses are so infrequent they have little impact on the casual listener. Additionally, the song has several elements and feelings compressed into its short three-minute package. This causes occasional feelings of incoherency, and the short runtime often leaves listeners craving more.
With many ingredients to a superb song and few flaws, “Can’t Kick Up the Roots” definitely contributed to the album’s success. Thanks to the unique sound presented in Life’s Not Out to Get You, the album became the band’s most well received when it released. Following the breakthrough, Neck Deep came out with The Peace and the Panic in the summer of 2017. Because audiences worldwide praised both setlists, the band participated in the 2017 Vans Warped Tour, and later announced their own North American tour.
Neck Deep have been refining their sound ever since they formed in 2012. No song testifies to this better than “Can’t Kick Up the Roots.” It takes elements of previous pop-punk releases, adds a personal, modern twist, and wraps it up into a few minutes of musical bliss. The song is definitely worth a listen, with it and the remaining songs on the album being great supplements for any playlist. Nearly everyone would find it difficult to find an experience as enjoyable and relatable as listening to “Can’t Kick Up the Roots.”