Why is The Toasters’ Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
I won’t play ball, won’t do as I’m told. I’d rather be a square peg in a round hole.
Some stats & info about The Toasters – Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? New York Bands, Ska, Third Wave Ska Revival
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
- When was Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down released? 1997
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #636 out of 1,000
The Toasters’ Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down 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 review of 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 The Toasters’ Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
The Toasters are the kind of band where, if you know about them, you know. They are legendary on the ska scene but relatively unknown for those who aren’t hip to the genre.
I had the great fortune to literally stumble into The Toasters and ska while in college, and ever since the hook was set, I’ve been reeled in ever since. More on this below, but now let’s get into Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down…
…literally, in the sense that I’ll start with the title track, “Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down,” an absolutely classic blast of The Toasters doing what they do best: upbeat, infectious ska with a catchy chorus and accompanying keyboards and horns to keep things popping. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that it’s a fantastic song title, album title, and message for all of us.
“I’m Running Right Through the World” is my favorite song on the album at the moment. It perfectly features Robert “Bucket” Hingley’s smooth, swingin’ vocals and again has both a catchy ska beat and chorus that can’t help but have you singing along before long.
“Weekend in L.A.” is featured on several Toasters albums over the course of their long career. And why not, as it’s one of their very best. The version on Don’t Let the Bastards happens to be my favorite: tight, punchy, and propulsive.
Personal stuff that has something to do with The Toasters’ Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down
I started telling this tale back in the entry for The Scofflaws: Live!, Vol. 1: #918 of best 1,000 albums ever:
A fundamentally important night in my musical education came somewhere around the winter of 1993, when I happened to see The Scofflaws, The Pietasters, and The Toasters play at a great venue in Ithaca, NY called The Nines.
It was the Skavoovie Tour, and it’s something that I’ll never forget. I was only a little bit familiar with ska at that point, and was probably only a year or year and a half out from having my brain (and ears) melted by hearing the at-the-time explosive attack of The Mighty Mighty Boss Tone’s combination of ska and hardcore punk for the very first time.
The Skavoovie bands produced a sound that was exciting while much less aggressive than the Boss Tones, with a tilt toward dancing and certainly away from moshing. All three bands were great, and The Toasters headlined and put on a terrific show. The crowd was into having a great time, and it was a spectacular night overall.
What was also wild to me was that after The Pietasters performed, they came out into the audience to watch the rest of the show with the crowd. I chatted with one of the band members briefly, which capped a perfect night.