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Mutiny

Too Much Joy

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Album Review

Too Much Joy's third and final album for Giant records (after 1990's re-release of Son of Sam I Am and 1991's Cereal Killers) should have been the album to break the group on a wider commercial level. The group already had a solid college-age cult following, and Cereal Killers' brilliant single "Crush Story" had made minor radio waves, plus their 1991 arrest for playing a set of 2 Live Crew songs in a Florida nightclub as a combination publicity stunt and censorship protest had garnered them a fair amount of publicity. (This album's cover of the Records' power pop classic "Starry Eyes" rewrites the verses to commemorate this event.) The album even had a killer first single, the singalong stomper "Donna Everywhere," complete with a clever video directed by Teller (of Penn and Teller) showing the band blowing their video budget at the mall, complete with a running tally of the shoot's cost in the lower left corner. Mutiny, however, was not a commercial success, and even a certain segment of Too Much Joy's core audience felt disappointed in the album at the time, because singer Tim Quirk's lyrics were less frivolous and dryly sarcastic than before. There's a certain maturity to many of these songs, and while that's an admirable quality, it's not one often associated with a group whose first album was called Green Eggs and Crack. In fact, there's a certain amount of darkness on this album; it's not for nothing that the cable channel Court TV is thanked for inspiration, as not one but two songs, the manic funk spasm "Walk Like a Man" and "Sort of Haunted House," are about adultery and murder. Other topics include the sly social commentary of "Sin Tax" and "What It Is," and even a more or less straightforward love song in "In Perpetuity." Musically, William Wittman's production suits the band extremely well; the sound is clean and powerful, but much less slick than Paul Fox's production on Cereal Killers. (Wittman was such a good fit that he actually joined the band in 1996 when original bassist Sandy Smallens left.) In retrospect, this is probably Too Much Joy's best album, and certainly their most consistently listenable. At the time, however, it was a commercial disappointment, and the band was dropped by Giant and held in limbo for the next four years.

Biography

Formed: 1981 in Scarsdale, NY

Genre: Alternative

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

Too Much Joy was part of the explosion of collegiate comedy rock in the late '80s, distinguishing themselves with a more mature side than the Dead Milkmen and a simpler, speedier punk-pop approach than the arty King Missile. Starting out via the independent route, the band spent several years on a major label before drifting from view. Although they never had the breakout MTV novelty hit that some of their peers managed, they had an amusing ride along the way — they were sued by Bozo...
Full Bio
Mutiny, Too Much Joy
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  • $14.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Adult Alternative
  • Released: 1992

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