Why is Mr. Bungle on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Definitely not for everyone, but this wildly and weirdly experimental rock album has dizzying and genre transmorphing moments that are tremendously exciting.
Some stats & info about Mr. Bungle
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Metal, Experimental Rock, Noise Rock, Funky Metal, Funk
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
- When was Mr. Bungle released? 1991
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #958 out of 1,000
Mr. Bungle on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.
What does Mr. Bungle mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
This band and this album (which are named one in the same) are… not easy to describe, so I’m gonna hand this one over to All Music’s Steve Huey:
Mr. Bungle is a dizzying, disconcerting, schizophrenic tour through just about any rock style the group can think of, hopping from genre to genre without any apparent rhyme or reason, and sometimes doing so several times in the same song.
Which is to say: it’s definitely not for everyone.
But if you’re made of the stuff that can hang with the ride, there are dizzying and genre transmorphing moments that are tremendously exciting. I gravitate toward the songs on Mr. Bungle that, relatively speaking, hang together the best, such as “Squeeze Me Macaroni.”
And, no, I have no idea what the song title or lyrics of this song mean, thank you. Alternatively, I think we can all at least surmise what “My Ass Is on Fire” is about. That song leans into experimental funky metal and screechy noise rock in a way that’s not really my scene, however.
The seven-minute long “Slowly Growing Deaf” plays around with soft/loud dynamics and some rather good funk and relatively straight ahead metal sections that work surprisingly well as a whole.
And I’m partial to the weirdo carnival sounds that open “Stubb – A Dub,” followed by shockingly lovely vocals that could have been spun up by Brian Wilson. This then morphs into music that can perhaps only be described as angry clowns – in cahoots with the underpants gnomes, allegedly – invading your town to steal all the toys (and/or underpants) from the naughty boys and girls (or was it the good boys and girls?). So ready the incantations, eyes of newt, and The Bangles back catalog, my good people. And did I mention that this one runs for over seven minutes?
This album also sounds like
While writing this entry, I reflected that – spoiler alert! – while I have Captain Beefheart and Mr. Bungle on my best 1,000 albums ever list, I did not include an album (or at least a full album) from the likes of Primus or Frank Zappa. All of those artists/bands can be very broadly housed under an experimental rock + other genres-meets-super weirdo music for weirdos housing, and so for me, at least, the good Captain and Mr. Bungle do the best job of representing the kinda sorta sub-genre.
Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to Mr. Bungle
While I’m deeply disappointed that I never got to see them live (but all told perhaps it was for the best?), when I was in college I’d sometimes see advertisements for band called Stool, “featuring Crappy the Clown.” In my heart of hearts, I have to imagine that those guys were huge Mr. Bungle fans back in the day.