Friday, March 12, 2010

The Mighty MIghty Bosstones - Let's Face It


I hadn't listened to Let's Face It in a long time but not because I forgot I had it or had gone off ska.  But when I came to listen to it for this review, at first I couldn't put my finger on why I hadn't.

But then it occurred to me: it's because I prefer British ska to American ska (for the most part anyway - I really don't count Sublime as I think they were much more than just a ska band).  The reasoning is simple: American ska is weightless while British ska isn't. See, told ya it was simple.

Oh, so I can't leave it like that?  Bugger...

American ska (or ska-punk, if you like) is for the most part light and happy sounding despite the lyric content.    The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are a great example of this.  Lyrically, a lot of the tracks on Let's Face It deal with the nasty side of addiction, be it alcohol or drugs.  But you wouldn't know it by the music, which is shiny, brass laden and up tempo and just the sort of music young lads wanna drink a lot of lager to and get skankin'.  This only serves to beat down the lyrics and has me thinking the message is disingenuous.

This isn't to say British ska can't be light and fun because it can.  But the lyrics generally and genuinely match the mood of the music.  Take The Specials or The Beat, for instance, who came together at a time when England was going through some serious shit - Thatcher, conservatism, high unemployment, atrocious racism and crime.  It made for some brilliant, intense and desperate music.  American ska just doesn't have the same emotional content.

Fuck, I didn't mean to turn this into a discourse and I am prepared to be proven completely and utterly wrong.  So, having said all this (yes, Mine, I know - its another long-winded ramble), where do I stand now with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones?  Having worked all this out, finally, can I really get past it?  The answer is yes.  They provided a great highlight at a Warped Festival I went to years ago and I still found myself boppin' along in my chair as I listened and wrote this review.  I'm just going to have to ignore the lyrics.


More examples of my husband's ska obsession - which I really didn't realise was as big as it is!  I liked the hit single, The Impression That I Get, but once again I find the relentless sameness of the songs just a little boring.

The most annoying part of all this is the fact I was totally convinced the band were in a great film (Swingers, 1996) - and I had a really great entry all based around that.  Which leaves me a little bereft. (Insert holding music here... think Girl From Ipanema)

OK, so all I've got is a recommendation you see said movie (early Vince Vaughn/ Jon Favreau and totally worth it unlike Couples Retreat, which OMG the tedium...) which actually features a swing band called Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.  However, Let's Face It would make a reasonably good driving CD, as long as you had a reasonably good driving companion to chat with as well.  It'd fill in the gaps in conversation, and is chirpy enough to keep the conversation positive, without any of that deep angsty stuff I'm sure Radiohead would provoke.


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