The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Question the Answers: #557 of best 1,000 albums ever!

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Question the Answers

So why is The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ Question the Answers on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

It’s funny, the way that time can play with memory and our perception of events. So it is with our real life interactions, and so it is with our relationships with other things, like music.

For example, I discovered The Mighty Mighty Bosstones through friends that I made in college. I have a very specific memory, in fact, of seeing a little square of material with a plaid design pinned to my new friend Dave’s corkboard in his dorm room. I asked him about it, and he said that he tore it from Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ lead singer Dicky Barrett’s pants during a live show.

I was intrigued.

In short order, I wore out my copies of the Bosstones’ first two full length albums: Devil’s Night Out and More Noise and Other Disturbances (both are loud, raucous, and brilliant – spoiler alert that they have not yet had their Moments of Honor on the best 1,000 albums ever proj as yet).

I mention this because it took me some time to get around to checking out Question the Answers, which was released in 1994, only a few short years after More Noise. Why? To paraphrase the depressive, neurotic Mikey from the iconic movie Swingers, when asked how he was able to obtain a girlfriend in college during an attempted pep talk, he replied, “I don’t know… it was college, there was drinking.”

Because it took me some time to get “back” to Question the Answers, it always felt like a “later” MMBT effort to me even though in reality it really wasn’t. But that sense does bear out too from the standpoint that the band, while still fairly loud and raucous at times, does tone it down a bit overall (as it surely would even more on Let’s Face It in 1997) while the songwriting becomes a bit more mature and refined.

It’s a very solid sweet spot, in other words, even if the early albums do show off the band’s energy and wild ska core-meets-ska punk charisma at its very peak.

“Hell of a Hat” displays this sensibility perfectly, starting out with a great and loud horn-driven barrage before mellowing down to a chill and even elegant ska groove. The lyrics back up the more refined tone, which is a clever entreaty to dress up all you like when you hit the scene, but there’s no need to bring guns and violence into the equation.

“Kinder Words” has a “classic” MMTB feel to it, like it could have been removed from being included on Devil’s Night Out for being just a touch too toned down. I also love the use of organ to back up Barrett and the bands ska punk attack.

“Dogs and Chaplains” continues the tradition of remaking the song that started out as “Drunks and Children” on Devil’s Night Out, and it’s one of my overall favorite Bosstones songs of them all. It has that incredibly exciting and visceral feel of being at a MMBT live show, which is an experience of a lifetime.

See also:

Some stats & info about The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Question the Answers

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Boston Bands, Rock Music, Ska Punk, Third Wave Ska Revival, Alternative Rock
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Question the Answers released? 1994
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #557 out of 1,000

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ Question the Answers on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ Question the Answers that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

We question one accessory: don’t think the piece is necessary. We agree you’re dressed to kill, but wonder if you will.

What’s the most interesting thing about The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ Question the Answers that most people don’t know?

Question the Answers was the band’s first album to be released on a major label, Mercury Records. Additionally, the album features a more polished and mainstream sound compared to their previous releases, which helped to bring The Mighty Mighty Bosstones to a wider audience.

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.