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Album Review

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones' newfound willingness to take their time working out material paid off with Let's Face It, and thus, Pay Attention didn't appear until three years later. Even if ska's commercial momentum had slowed, the album was still worth the wait. Thanks to the band's tight quality control, the tunes here are catchy, but not quite as immediately poppy as much of Let's Face It — there's more punk and hard rock, with ska rhythms more integral to some tracks than others. The party anthems of yesteryear are pretty much gone, but in their place is a tone of reflective maturity; personal and social concerns are given an equal airing, and the band's sense of humor is still very much in evidence. Moreover, the Bosstones are still trying new musical approaches, as evidenced by the summery island feel of "She Just Happened" and the surprising Irish turn of "Riot on Broad Street." Other highlights include the alternately swinging and skanking opener "Let Me Be," the hard-rocking lead single "So Sad to Say," the bouncy sing-along "Where You Come From," the up-tempo "The Skeleton Song," and the poignant (yet not overly sentimental) album closer "The Day He Didn't Die." A few weaker numbers could have been trimmed without making the album seem short; also, a fairly large percentage of the songs would simply sound like catchy hard rock if the horn section was removed. Then again, it's not the first time the Bosstones have recorded material like that, and in the end, it's hard to see Pay Attention as anything less than the band's third high-quality album in a row.

Biography

Formed: 1985 in Boston, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A great deal of the groundwork for the mid- to late-'90s explosion of ska and ska-metal was laid by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, who were one of the first bands to cross high-energy ska with hardcore punk and heavy metal and who also helped shift its tone toward testosterone-filled party music. The Bosstones built up a devoted cult following throughout their career, but their level of commercial success never quite matched that of more pop-oriented third wave ska bands, like No Doubt and...
Full Bio

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