Posts tagged ‘oingo boingo’

December 10, 2013

Album 0400: Oingo Boingo – Boingo Alive

Oingo_Boingo_-_Boingo_Alive

Release Date: 1988
Genre: New Wave/Rock

Tracklisting:

DISC ONE

1. Dead Man’s Party (06:22)
2. Dead Or Alive (04:04)
3. No Spill Blood (04:33)
4. Stay (03:57)
5. Cinderella Undercover (04:38)
6. Home Again (05:25)
7. Help Me (03:57)
8. Just Another Day (05:07)
9. It Only Makes Me Laugh (03:42)
10. My Life (04:46)
11. Nothing To Fear (But Fear Itself) (03:49)
12. Not My Slave (04:08)
13. We Close Our Eyes (03:29)
14. Elevator Man (04:26)
15. Return Of The Dead Man (01:44)

DISC TWO

1. Winning Side (03:58)
2. Wild Sex (In The Working Class) (04:16)
3. Grey Matter (05:43)
4. Private Life (03:09)
5. Gratitude (04:47)
6. No One Lives Forever (04:06)
7. Mama (04:53)
8. Capitalism (04:13)
9. Who Do You Want To Be (03:21)
10. Sweat (04:30)
11. Violent Love (02:21)
12. On The Outside (03:44)
13. Only A Lad (03:50)
14. Goodbye, Goodbye (03:32)
15. Country Sweat (05:13)
16. Return Of The Dead Man 2 (02:38)

Total Length: 02:08:21

Dead Man’s Party kicks off this live album in a fantastic way. A new intro graces the song, and it’s a pretty amazing one, and the rest of the song is still the insanely upbeat, dancey track that I’ve always loved. Now, this is a live album, but not in a usual way. The band is on a soundstage, all the songs are played in one go, but there is no audience. In that sense, it’s the cleanest live album I’ve ever heard, with every part being completely audible and easy to hear. The only negative I can say about it is that there is a tiny lack of energy, especially notable when you compare it with their other live album.

Dead Or Alive honestly kind of has more energy than the album version, and I think the best part about the song is the arrangement. Some of the hooks or the chorus don’t entirely catch me after all these years, but I love how the song builds. No Spill Blood is a fantastic song, and they changed how the song goes a little bit, resulting in a larger focus on the guitar throughout. It’s heightened the song a bit, I love it.

Stay is still fantastic, and this version doesn’t fail it one bit. Cinderella Undercover is not a new song for the band, it was actually at one point going to be on their first album, but instead this is its first release. This is also more of an acoustic version of the song. I love the fairy tale lyrics, and as usual the arrangement and little bits throughout are just unbelievable. Home Again has one clear difference right at the beginning, and that’s the piano patch seeming kind of constricted to what is heard on the album. That is kind of forgotten fairly quickly as the rest of the song lives up and is amazing, but it’s weird to mess up the first impression like that.

Help Me was already a really cool song, and this version gets a change in an extended solo section, with frankly one of the best guitar solos I’ve ever heard. I absolutely love it to death. Just Another Day is much the same as the original, still a fantastic song. It Only Makes Me Laugh is as well, except that this is one of those rare times where I very much notice a key change compared to the original. It’s also interesting to note that this song (and one other on here) was from Danny Elfman’s “solo” album, so in case anyone had any doubts that it wasn’t just a disguised Boingo album, there you go.

My Life has some neat things about it, but it’s still probably one of the lesser Boingo songs for me, and this version doesn’t really do anything to change that. Nothing To Fear (But Fear Itself) is still a fantastic track, there’s not too much I can about this version though. Not My Slave is an odd song in that the band seemed to never really lock down on an arrangement for the song, but that’s a really minor detail. Still a great pop song.

We Close Our Eyes is also one of their best pop songs, and it does an odd thing where the lyrics are just the tiniest bit morbid but the music is all happy and fluffy. Elevator Man actually has a more invigorating instrumental section, it adds something nice to the song. Return Of The Dead Man is an instrumental that they seemed to invent just for this album, it plays on themes from the song that started this whole thing off, and is honestly pretty cool.

Winnning Side is another new song, and man I freaking love it. The lyrics are amazing and I just love the rhythm of the whole thing. It gets stuck in my head constantly. Wild Sex (In The Working Class) has a cool new intro and some other neat added bits, and remains a great song. Grey Matter has the issue of Home Again in that the intro doesn’t have as cool of a synth sound, but the rest of the song lives up to the original and you can’t dislike it.

Private Life gets a big change and has become mostly acoustic. It’s a neat change while still keeping the fundamentals of this classic song. Gratitude has the extra lyrics that were left out of the final album version for some reason, I get a good kick out of this song. No One Lives Forever is still great as well, though this version pales compared to the later live version. Mama is a creepy as hell song about Norman Bates, and this version (compared to the version that was a hard-to-find extra for their previous album) is darker and gives more tension.

Capitalism doesn’t do much for me, but it’s a neat/odd song to include here. Who Do You Want To Be is fast and awesome. I’ll always love this song. Sweat is faster than its original version, and I really love this version a little bit more to be honest. It’s just got more nervous energy to it. Violent Love is the band bringing back their cover of the Willie Dixon song, and again speeding it up even further. This is pretty much a third wave ska song, it’s very cool.

On The Outside is still pretty much my favorite song ever, and they do it well here. They tone down the bridge a bit, but it’s still amazing. Only A Lad is also fantastic, and introduces some new vocal bits in it that are catchy as hell. Goodbye, Goodbye is still super impressive overall, I love it. Country Sweat is a really odd piece here. They slow down and change the arrangement and sound of the song Sweat, until it’s become this track. It’s pretty nice but a bit lengthy at this pace. They did do a version in later years where the first half was this version, and the second half was even faster than regular version found on here, it’s really cool. Return Of The Dead Man 2 is basically an extended version of the first one, still fairly cool. I find some issues with this album, but as a collection of songs it’s hard to go wrong and there are enough variances that they are worth listening and paying attention to.

Final Rating: 9.5/10

July 18, 2013

Album 0300: Oingo Boingo – Boi-Ngo

Oingo_Boingo_-_Boi-Ngo

Release Date: 1987
Genre: New Wave/Pop/Rock

Tracklisting:

1. Home Again (05:15)
2. Where Do All My Friends Go (04:30)
3. Elevator Man (04:30)
4. New Generation (05:16)
5. We Close Our Eyes (03:39)
6. Not My Slave (04:43)
7. My Life (04:37)
8. Outrageous (03:46)
9. Pain (04:26)

Total Length: 40:42

Home Again is an amazing piano-driven track that starts off the album. The lyrics are great, it’s got so much different cool stuff going on. You can follow the keys or the bass or when the horns come in and it’s all fantastic. Simply one of the band’s best. Where Do All My Friends Go has a wonderful a capella intro that I can never help but sing along to, and the rest of the song is fantastic. The chorus in particular is ridiculously catchy.

Elevator Man is probably the cheesiest song on here. The lyrics aren’t the best as I guess this was just meant to be more of a dance song, but I don’t entirely mind them I guess. Probably my bias showing through though. New Generation is an odd song but still great. It’s funky and even has a section that is kind of like Danny is rapping, but it works. The lyrics are kind of cynical and really cool.

We Close Our Eyes is more of a ballad, and I can imagine that people more used to the band frantic sound being put off by this song, but it’s just so damn good. The lyrics are incredible and everything is great here. I’m also a big fan of the synths used. Not My Slave is a bit more of a simple pop song but is just a ton of fun honestly. The chorus is really catchy. My Life is probably my least favorite track on here, I just think that the pace is really slow and Danny’s singing is a bit weird. I still like some things about it though.

Outrageous is kind of the ignored song on here. It never got played live, for example. It’s kind of fun but also simplistic. Pain caps off the album and is probably the weirdest song on here, which is a perfect way to close it. The bass is funky, the lyrics are great, and the strange ways everything combines is fantastic. The synths use like a noise sample that works really well, and does kind of like a rain stick sound in the intro. The chorus is, as usual, amazing. This might be the band’s weakest album, but that’s still not saying a lot. There are more than a couple amazing tracks and even the lesser ones are still cool.

Final Rating: 8.5/10

December 23, 2012

Album 0200: Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party

OingoBoingo-DeadMansParty

Release Date: 1985
Genre: New Wave/Rock/Pop

Tracklisting:

1. Just Another Day (05:12)
2. Dead Man’s Party (06:22)
3. Heard Somebody Cry (04:40)
4. No One Lives Forever (04:15)
5. Stay (03:37)
6. Fool’s Paradise (04:35)
7. Help Me (03:46)
8. Same Man I Was Before (03:24)
9. Weird Science (06:09)

Total Length: 42:00

Just Another Day is a brilliant song and a fantastic introduction for this album. It’s a marked change in Boingo’s sound, while still retaining some of their own unique elements, such as the percussion. The lyrics are beautiful, and I just love everything about this song. Dead Man’s Party is one of this band’s essential songs. There is no way not to love it, the main riff is killer, the lyrics are catchy as can possibly be, and it never ever feels like its length shows. Just a perfect song all around.

Heard Somebody Cry is a change of pace, and a bit of an odd track, but also a completely natural evolution of the production type for the So-Lo album. This song is densely layered, and would be tough to accurately replicate live. All the little bits building on top of each other are great, and I really love the haunting lyrics. The chorus particularly is a thing of beauty. No One Lives Forever is an extremely fun song, again I have to praise the lyrics. Another perfect Boingo song that you can’t hate at all and oh my god that solo section.

Stay is more of a pop song, but again because it’s this band it’s still an amazing track. By now you should guess that I will again give major props to the lyrics, and the chorus is fantastic. Fool’s Paradise is a slight dip in quality, but still an overall fun song, and plenty of other bands best songs can’t even compete with this. Help Me is also a bit poppier, and honestly took me a pretty long time to get into. The first impression is that this is a ‘sellout’ track, but the song has so much good stuff going on, and one of my favorite solo sections the band has ever done.

Same Man I Was Before is like track three in that it would be tough to do live. There is a lot of stuff going on at various points, including a rare appearance by some female backup singers. Kind of an underrated song in my opinion, I really can’t help but want to sing along, and the little vocal samples in the middle of the song are very Mark Mothersbaugh. There is also kind of an Eastern flair going on that really helps set the song apart. Weird Science is probably the band’s most famous songs, which kind of annoys me. Danny Elfman even admits that the song wasn’t entirely finished, and unlike the title track of this album, these 6 minutes do feel like it considering the second half pretty much just repeats what we’ve already heard. It’s a fairly good song because I still enjoy some of the melodies, but the length and the atmosphere surrounding it turn me off. There was another song they were going to put here that I would much rather have had, but oh well. In the end, this is still an absolutely, ridiculously good album with only about two down moments.

Final Rating: 9/10

August 26, 2012

Album 0100: Oingo Boingo – So-Lo

Release Date: 1984
Genre: New Wave/Pop/Rock

Tracklisting:

1. Gratitude (05:14)
2. Cool City (03:28)
3. Go Away (04:02)
4. Sucker For Mystery (05:19)
5. It Only Makes Me Laugh (04:06)
6. The Last Time (04:13)
7. Tough As Nails (04:39)
8. Lightning (03:46)
9. Everybody Needs (03:50)

Total Length: 38:38

Okay, first things first: technically, this is a Danny Elfman solo album. However, 2 of the songs were demoed for the band’s previous album, and another 3 or 4 of the tracks were performed by the band live and so I consider it a band album. Anyway, Gratitude is a fantastic song. Really evocative lyrics and it’s catchy as crap. Just great. Cool City is flat out amazing though. The atmosphere on this track is just dripping, it really feels like a big, dirty city and the lyrics are amazing.

Speaking of atmosphere, Go Away has possibly the best arrangement for a pop song ever. The tons of different sounds going on in this melancholic piece is amazing. It wows me every time I hear it. Sucker For Mystery is decidedly weaker than the previous tracks, but oh man is it still good. More fantastic atmosphere, and the descriptions of someone obsessed with mystery (novels or movies). It just maybes goes on a touch long. It Only Makes Me Laugh is a complete change in direction, with a ska song based on Schadenfreude. Words can’t describe how much I love this song.

The Last Time is more of a ballad, and it’s not my favorite song but I never regret listening to it. Danny gives a fine performance. Tough As Nails is the first song that was demoed for Good For Your Soul. It’s a funky song about machismo people. Pretty scathing, honestly. My only real complaint about the song is the weird dolphin sample they use two or three times. The bridge though is a 20-year precursor to how Danny does the Oompa Loompa voices.

Lightning was also tried out for the previous album. It’s a song I’ve never really been able to get into, but I don’t mind. Danny has some great vocal moments in it as well. Everybody Needs is pretty cool, but definitely isn’t up to par with some of the other songs. Still has some good moments though. The highlight of this album is for sure the first couple of songs, but I really do just love this album. It’s such an odd slice in the history of the band and I struggle to figure out how none of these songs were big singles.

Final Rating: 9/10

June 11, 2012

Album 0050: Oingo Boingo – Good For Your Soul

Release Date: 1983
Genre: New Wave/Rock

Tracklisting:

1. Who Do You Want To Be (03:34)
2. Good For Your Soul (03:16)
3. No Spill Blood (03:42)
4. Cry Of The Vatos (02:22)
5. Fill The Void (03:42)
6. Sweat (04:50)
7. Nothing Bad Ever Happens (03:44)
8. Wake Up (It’s 1984) (04:43)
9. Dead Or Alive (04:04)
10. Pictures Of You (04:04)
11. Little Guns (03:42)

Total Length: 41:43

Who Do You Want To Be is just an amazing track. A fast paced mixture of ska and Boingo’s own quirkiness. So easy to sing along to and the lyrics are fantastic. Good For Your Soul is a bit more laid back, with introspective lyrics. I love the keyboards, but find myself losing a bit of interest in the song by the end. No Spill Blood is a frankly weird song, with the lyrics being an amalgam of some classic literature, and it works really well. Just one of the best songs the band ever did.

Cry Of The Vatos is such an odd song, probably the oddest in the entire catalog, which is saying a lot. It’s a weird instrumental, with a reverse vocal section in the middle that espouses Vatos’s morals. I’ve never been able to get into this song at all. Fill The Void is a fantastic reggae track from the band, with some of my favorite lyrics. It’s a shame that the song got ignored after the release of the album.

Sweat is a great song, just flat out ‘cool’ is the best way I can put it. Fun lyrics, weird vocals, and a cool saxophone solo. Nothing Bad Ever Happens is a quirky song musically, but the lyrics are some of the most poignant Danny ever wrote. Just a really incredible song. Wake Up (It’s 1984) is a very funky song, with a cool atmosphere. I feel like the song goes on just a touch too long, but it’s still a really cool track.

Dead Or Alive is one of the first songs the band wrote dealing with death, which later became a more popular subject in the albums. This is more fantasy, dealing with zombies and the like but the morbid stuff is still there. A really fun song. Pictures Of You is a slightly darker, more melancholy song with introspective lyrics. A nice song to get lost in. Little Guns might be the most fun song on the album, with abstract lyrics that are great. I just love the bouncing feel of the song.

This album is a bit more of a maturation of the band’s material, but it also feels like some of the energy from the first two albums had been lost a bit. This is still an amazing album, with mostly fantastic songs. Just like other Boingo material, I’m never bored listening to it. This album is ridiculously good outside of that one song though.

Final Rating: 9.5/10

May 27, 2012

Album 0041: Mayo Shono – Ai Ai Ai

No Album Cover Available

Release Date: 1982
Genre: Pop/New Wave

Tracklisting:

1. Ai Ai Ai (04:27)
2. Tokyo Gozen 3 Toki (Tokyo At 3 In The Morning) (04:12)
3. Oh My Papa (03:26)
4. Slow Samba (04:12)
5. Toubousha (04:17)

Total Length: 20:34

This is a weird little half album. After their first two albums were released, Oingo Boingo was asked to serve as the backing band for Mayo Shono on half of her LP. This is the band minus Danny Elfman playing, and it has a similar production style to Nothing To Fear. Strange little piece of history. Ai Ai Ai has very similar percussion and rhythm to some tracks Boingo has done before, and it’s really cool just for the music.

Tokyo Gozen 3 Toki (Tokyo At 3 In The Morning) is pretty cool, but nothing special overall. Oh My Papa starts off with an Only A Lad riff, but quickly becomes a Japanese pop song. Still very fun. Slow Samba is a very cool track and has an excellent sax solo from Sluggo. Toubousha feels like a song cut from Boingo’s first album, it’s neat. This is a neat little snapshot in Boingo history, and a quick easy listen.

Final Rating: 8/10

March 24, 2012

Album 0025: Oingo Boingo – Nothing To Fear

Release Date: 1982
Genre: New Wave/Rock

Tracklisting:

1. Grey Matter (05:52)
2. Insects (03:04)
3. Private Life (03:18)
4. Wild Sex (In The Working Class) (04:07)
5. Running On A Treadmill (03:21)
6. Whole Day Off (03:58)
7. Nothing To Fear (But Fear Itself) (03:54)
8. Why’d We Come (03:58)
9. Islands (04:41)
10. Reptiles And Samurai (05:19)

Total Length: 41:33

Grey Matter is one of the best songs ever written, bar none. The instrumentation and arrangement is so perfect it boggles my mind, the lyrics are catchy and thoughtful, the vocals are fantastic, everything just shines about this song. It’s also a song where it really doesn’t feel as long as it is. Those six minutes go by so fast it’s unbelievable. I have probably listened to this song too many times to count, I’ll never stop loving it. It was also the first use of the band’s own invented percussion instrument, the rumbaphone.

Insects is a weird mix of some heavy rock and dance music. Surprisingly the combination works perfectly. The transition from heavy bass to funky bass is always awesome. There is also awesome little samples and keyboard parts, along with a cool horn riff. The lyrics don’t necessarily matter too much in this one, but they are fun. Private Life is another one of the greatest songs ever written. We are back to really poignant lyrics this time, along with some rumbaphone goodness and the whole band is on point. Just a fantastic track.

Wild Sex (In The Working Class) has a great driving beat, and the vocals are infectious. Once again the percussion shines here, and there is just so many little things to love about this song. They do embellish this song a little bit on later recordings as well which I loved. Running On A Treadmill has gotten pretty much ignored since it’s release, but for being the most ‘poppy’ song on the album, I just love it. It’s fantastic to sing along to and the arrangement is really fun.

Whole Day Off has some of the weirdest lyrics, with its main competition being on this very same album. The arrangement is equally odd. It’s just a weird song overall, but I can’t help but love it. Nothing To Fear (But Fear Itself) is a somewhat darker track than the rest of the album up to this point, but retains the flair the band has. The lyrics pretty much make the song. Why’d We Come is a fantastic song. The intro is creepy and haunting, and the main chunk of the song is just rocking, and I really don’t like that the band never played this live. It’s such a cool song.

Islands is actually the darkest song on here. Introspective, depressive lyrics and a sense of foreboding creep over the whole song. Steve Bartek’s guitar work is also pretty haunting. I really do like the song, even though it’s not an ‘active listening’ song for me. Reptiles And Samurai has again some impenetrably odd lyrics, but it works in the song’s favor. This song is pretty much the best representation of Boingo’s ‘quirkiness’.

This remains probably my overall ‘favorite’ Boingo album, though it’s hard to pick. There is a lot of variety here, and I love the production. The songs are fantastic, and fun to sing along to. Just a brilliant album overall.

Final Rating: 10/10

January 28, 2012

Album 0010: Oingo Boingo – Only A Lad

Release Date: 1981
Genre: New Wave/Ska/Rock

Tracklisting:

1. Little Girls (03:44)
2. Perfect System (03:46)
3. On The Outside (03:51)
4. Capitalism (03:41)
5. You Really Got Me (04:37)
6. Only A Lad (03:57)
7. What You See (03:55)
8. Controller (03:26)
9. Imposter (03:00)
10. Nasty Habits (04:08)

Total Length: 38:05

Little Girls kicks off this album with a little horn intro before the song proper. The song is fun, well arranged, well produced, and just a ton of fun. This song has unfortunately gotten some bad types of attention in recent years as people don’t realize that Danny Elfman writes his lyrics in first perspective, even if it’s something he doesn’t agree with. The idea behind this song was based on old men he had seen driving around in LA with young women in the car. This still remains one of my favorite songs ever though, it’s just too good. Perfect System is really good. It’s a song the band pretty much ignored after this album’s release, but it’s got some fun lyrics and a cool atmosphere that is kind of depressing. The gang vocals are ridiculously cool in the bridge.

On The Outside
to this day remains one of my favorite songs ever. The lyrics are great and really spoke to me back when I first heard it nearly ten years ago. It’s got a unique style and sound, the horns are great, I just love everything about. It’s even got a pretty cool bridge, which slowly got eaten away at throughout the years. I’d talk about the song more but it would just be more gushing. Capitalism is another song written in the first perspective, but this time Danny is kind of criticizing both sides. A lyrically interesting song but not my favorite musically.

You Really Got Me is a cover of the classic Kinks song, and they make sure to make it unique with heavy use of a vocoder. I think the song goes on a bit too long but is still fun. Only A Lad is another of the best songs ever written. Insanely good lyrics, cool instrumentation, an awesome chorus… it’s just an amazing song. Danny’s singing is great on it as well. What You See is probably my fourth favorite on the album, and I wish the band didn’t ignore it after this album. It’s such a cool song, especially the bridge which might be one of the best things I’ve ever heard due to the production and arrangement.

Controller is sort of similar to Perfect System in that it gives off the vibe of a depressing future, with unknown powers in control. In this song it’s about nameless figures that can come and get you at any time. Sort of paranoid, but still fun. I will say that I wish they had kept in some of the cool stuff that was in the demo version. Imposter is a song written about a very specific critic of the band, and is pretty fun but not the best of the album.

Nasty Habits is a fantastic ending song. It once again changes thing up with a new vibe/feeling, and has very fun lyrics about the things people hide in their private lives, of the sexual variety. Just such a cool song. I could write on and on about this album, whether it’s the writing, the arrangement, the musicianship, the singing, the production… I just love it. I admit that it has a few flaws, but damn if I can’t look past them.

Final Rating: 10/10