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Dead Man's Party

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Editors’ Notes

In an ironic twist suitable to such a literate and contrarian group, Oingo Boingo’s concept album about death turned out to be a rebirth for the long-running Los Angeles outfit. With a new label and a new production style, Dead Man’s Party seamlessly integrates Danny Elfman’s eccentric musical concepts and his band’s natural ability to write danceable rock music. That blend is evident on the album’s trifecta of hits: “Just Another Day,” “Weird Science," and the stunning title track. The band didn’t smooth out its beloved idiosyncrasies to win popular success. Instead, Boingo embedded its quirks in songs that were so tightly crafted and catchy and propulsive that the mainstream couldn’t ignore it. Whether you liked rock or new wave or club music, Dead Man’s Party had something to fit your tastes. Between the big hits are several overlooked gems, including “Heard Somebody Cry” (a percolating funk tune to match “Weird Science”) and “Help Me” (a '60s R&B rave-up conveyed with a splash of '80s neon).

Customer Reviews

Oingo Boingo - Possessed by Genius

First - ignore the official canned review above - whoever wrote it is obviously a clueless wonder. Context - Oingo Bingo at this time (1986) ruled in LA and San Francisco. Their live shows were incrediable - the band was superb, the crowds ecstatic, and the mosh pits relentless. When Danny Elfman began his werewolf howl at the beginning of "No One Lives Forever" the concert floor would erupt in a frenzy - everyone posessed by one of the great songs of midnight madness. This song is still one that can cast a spell of madness on a party. Danny Elfman was and still is a genius at production and arrangement (again ignore the fool in the review who wrote that critics dismissed Oingo Boingo's "wacky" production - yeah right, that's why Elfman was hired to do dozens and dozens of big Hollywood sound tracks cause he was so wacky and the critics hated him - I don't think so!). With this album the band really took off and found their style. The horns are fantastic, the rhythms work of genius and the lyrics sophisticated: "It's a dead man's party. Who could ask for more? Everybody's coming leave your body at the door. Leave your body and soul at the door." "Stay" is one of the band's greatest love songs - aching and wanting something to return that is going out the door. Wierd Science still holds up. A few of the songs forgettable (Heard Somebody Cry and Help Me), but overall an excellant album with some of Oingo Boingos best material.

The genius that is Oingo Boingo does not reach its peak here

Don’t get me wrong here – I love Oingo Boingo. Let me put it this way – I have over 10,000 songs in my iTunes library (you’re not misreading that, I did say ten thousand), and all of the Oingo Boingo discography reigns at the very top of this monstrous library. Oingo Boingo is my favorite band of all time. That being said, this is my least favorite album. But wait! Please, dear reader, don’t skip the rest of this review. It’s very important to me that you understand my point here. Let me put it this way – the version of the song “Dead Man’s Party” that became famous, that made it to all of the greatest hits, that was performed at their farewell concerts – is found not on this album, but rather on Boingo Alive. The same exact thing can be said for the song “No One Lives Forever,” which sounds here like a soprano sax and synthesizer nightmare. My point being? I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that some of the songs on here that you love most – “Dead Man’s Party,” “No One Lives Forever” – can be found in their prime form on the “live-in-the-studio” Boingo Alive. If you want to give this album a listen, or buy these versions of “Just Another Day” and “Stay,” you have my blessing. The only thing that matters is that you, the listener, know that this is in fact not Boingo’s best material, and is hardly representative of the band that Oingo Boingo truly is on any other album, stylistic changes or no. Thank you.

Boingo's Best

Classic! That is the best word to describe this album. This is Oingo Boingo's finest hour. They are musically tight, and the songs are genius. The title track has become a Halloween staple. The two singles off the album, 'Just Another Day' and 'Stay' are two of the best songs Danny Elfman has ever written. Both are gorgeously put together with layer guitars and keyboards, and both are given emotional punch from Elfman's vocals. The weakest link on the album is the soundtrack song 'Wierd Science'. Yeah, it's silly and fun, but it is not up to par with the rest of the songs. Despite the weak ending, it is still an enduring classic.

Biography

Formed: 1977 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

Although Oingo Boingo was often compared to Devo throughout their career (due to both bands' affinity for quirky new wave, goofy stage acts, and most obviously, peculiar yet intriguing band names), Oingo Boingo never obtained the mainstream success that Devo did. But the band did manage to obtain a large and devoted fan base, especially in their hometown of Los Angeles, CA. Oingo Boingo started not as a traditional group per se, as they were originally put together in the '70s by movie director Richard...
Full Bio
Dead Man's Party, Oingo Boingo
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