The Hippos – Heads Are Gonna Roll: #560 of best 1,000 albums ever!

The Hippos - Heads Are Gonna Roll

So why is The Hippos’ Heads Are Gonna Roll on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

When I first moved to California in late 1998, I spent a lot of time exploring my new town of Berkeley, located in San Francisco’s East Bay. And inevitably in my travels, I’d end up really exploring the music racks at Amoeba Music, located on Telegraph Ave. if memory serves.

I’m pretty sure Amoeba, as with many music stores back then, didn’t have any “listening stations” where you could sample the music in the store before buying. So there would be times when I’d take a gamble on purchasing an album purely based on the look and feel of the album art, the name of the band, their album, and such.

I bought The Best of Inner Circle during this era and was rewarded in that case in that it’s a really good reggae album (and, yes, it includes “Bad Boys,” which is iconic… or perhaps infamous is the right word, as theme song for the long running Cops TV show).

And as you may have guessed by now, I took a gamble on purchasing Heads Are Gonna Roll by a band called The Hippos. I’m positive that I bought the album on cassette out of the bargain bin, perhaps for as little as $3.00*. In any event, it was well worth the money, as it’s a fantastic and consistent pop punk meets ska record with hooks and harmonies for days.

And I mean, come on! “The Hippos,” with those oddball (retro? maybe?) haircuts and 1960s-ish band uniforms on the cover art. Instant buy, says yours truly.

Heads Are Gonna Roll is the kind of album where there’s not really a right or wrong starting point, so I’ll just dive in with the first track, “Lost It,” which is as strong as any song on the album, and reminds me too that The Hippos leverage the organ in a way that additionally helps them stand above the late 1990s ska punk din.

“Wasting My Life” has a super ear pleasing organ sound as well, and coupled with its super strong hook might just be the best song on the album.

“Pollution” reminds me of what a central influence Weezer is on The Hippos’ sound. They’re nerd rock meets ska (pop) punk at heart, really. Which, yes please.

If there’s one slight off note on Heads Are Gonna Roll, it’s the seemingly obligatory ‘80s cover – in this case “Always Something There to Remind Me,” by Naked Eyes. There’s nothing wrong with it, really, but I just don’t find it necessary.

Some stats & info about The Hippos – Heads Are Gonna Roll

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Third Wave Ska Revival, Alternative Rock, Ska Punk, Pop Punk, Rock Music, SoCal Bands
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating3 out of 5 stars
  • When was Heads Are Gonna Roll released? 1999
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #560 out of 1,000

The Hippos’ Heads Are Gonna Roll on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from The Hippos’ Heads Are Gonna Roll that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Something in the way she never looks my way, I’m in love, I’m in love.

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.