Bouncing Souls - The Good, The Bad and the Argyle (1994)
One of the best hardcore anthems ever written was written by a band that wasn't a hardcore band. Old School by the Bouncing Souls is one of the songs that encapsulates every sentiment about hardcore as a way of a life with just a simple riff and an earnest powerful delivery. The unity, the power, the collective sense of being able to change things with something that helped changed you and affected you so deeply... Of course it starts off with an awesome bass riff. You're off on the right foot if you start your anthem with an awesome slinking bassline... The song just crashes right into being from there. The lyrics are awesome and completely sentimental. Am I being sentimental right now? I'm all about the lyrics...
"Sing a song of old school / I don't really care where you were or who you know / Sing a song of old school / we don't really care what you have to say about this show / The music you love lost it's meaning / because these people are not aware / Some people talk others are listening / Sometimes I think I just don't care / It's easy to forget the choices we've made and the promises of the past / But if we really listen to these old school ideals / we'll find what's good and make it last / Sing a song of old school / everyone knows but it seems we all forget / the time we needed to see these ideals for ourselves and what it meant / I guess I'm on a soapbox singing a hymn that you don't want to hear no sermon / When I step down and look around all I see is separation / Find what's good / Make it last
Personally, that stands as a testament for future generations of any sort, whether or not they're into punk or not. But I digress.. The album is fantastic, really, from the first song, I Like Your Mom (I wanna marry her and be your dad) to the hyper fast The Guest, to These Are the Quotes From Our Favorite 80's Movies. This ones pretty funny... All the lyrics are from the most classic of 80's american teen movies, mostly with John Cusack and mostly by John Hughes. (Special nod to Some Kind of Wonderful with Eric Stoltz). Guess the movies out, leave comments, I dont have anything for you to win, nothing but Glory at least. And by Glory I mean a VHS tape of the Denzel Washington movie.
Joe Lies When He Cries (another 80's movie reference... any takers?) is one of the best Avail songs Avail never wrote. It even ends in a chant of "Lies Lies Lies!". It shares stylistic similarities with Avail, but it speaks quite poignantly, and humorously, about honesty (obviously). It's a good example of how the Bouncing Souls are good at delivering a strong message in a tongue in cheek sort of way. And it also goes towards describing why the Souls were popular with a lot of hardcore kids int he same way Avail were. Theirs was a strongly message based approach, but not in a way where they were beating you over your head.
Theres a few slightly experimental songs, for a punk band at least, and a few covers, most notably of I Like Candy, which they remain surprisingly faithful to. The best part of the end of the album is the song Neurotic, which besides having great lyrics of the same nature, has a great ending where everything just comes off the rails and ends with a sample of dude freaking out. It's funny and alarming all at once, and I'd like to think that that was what the Bouncing Souls wouldve wanted us to feel about them, funny, yet alarming.
1. This isnt really a footnote, but I'm numbering it anyway. I first heard of the Bouncing Souls the first time I saw Snapcase play live. The singer had a Bouncing Souls shirt on and a few days later I saw a review in a zine and went out to find it.