Fastbacks – Answer the Phone, Dummy: #475 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Fastbacks - Answer the Phone, Dummy

So why is Fastbacks’ Answer the Phone, Dummy on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

There’s more about the Fastbacks – along with a State of the Best 1,000 Albums Ever of sorts – below so let’s dive right into Answer the Phone, Dummy straight away.

As with all things Fastbacks, I dig this album more every time I listen to it. “On Your Hands” has emerged as my favorite song on it. Initially, it has the chugging beat of “K Street,” one of my all time Fastbacks faves, but quickly turns into its own thing, endlessly catchy and rocking and upbeat and delightful all at once.

The Fastbacks are pop punk master craftspeople at heart. Exhibit Something is “Waste of Time”: I love the way the guitar riff builds and folds into some of the most lovely vocal harmonies you’ll hear in rock music, let alone the punk rock scene.

There are some really fun quirks on Answer the Phone, Dummy as well. For example, I love the short, instrumental “brd ‘Coated’.” Just tremendous guitar work here, and a blast of a good time.

Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Fastbacks’ Answer the Phone, Dummy

Sometimes I’ll take a step back and think, “Am I crazy for producing this best 1,000 albums ever project, or crazy crazy?” Then I’ll calmly advise myself to not answer the question (let alone the phone, dummy), and carry on.

But seriously, take the Fastbacks for example.

They’re an unusual band in that they are both truly great and relatively unknown by most people. The Fastbacks have also produced a large number of albums, almost of all of which are consistently good-to-great. Therefore, even choosing a relative “rank” for this one single band is a potentially maddening exercise to undertake.

But this is the very stuff of fun nerdy insane obsession, yes?

A friend of mine noticed that there have been a few Lenny Kravitz albums featured on the best 1,000 albums ever project in relatively close proximity. But are they too close in proximity, I wondered? That’s just where they happened to land… but does it “look weird”? Does it matter? Am I weird?

* Answer key: there’s no such thing as “too close” in proximity, it doesn’t look weird, it only matters as much as I and we let it matter, and oh yes I am certainly weird, thank you.

And meanwhile, I’ve been thrilled of late to hear from people all over the world about this project. The feedback has been overwhelmingly and wildly positive, and I’m especially excited and proud of the praise I’ve received from my fellow music bloggers.

A huge shoutout here to some recent examples of music bloggers who are actively promoting Pop Thruster and the best 1,000 albums ever project: Right Side of a Good Thing, Hear Rock City, The Hits Just Keep On Comin’, Toppermost, Last of a Dying Breed, Dream Weapons, Clean Nice Quiet, and alternative rock-focused Alt77.

I also heard recently from someone with the initials M.F.*, who took the time and effort to craft the following assertions:

Dear Mr. Berlin,

I think your project is totally useless as it does in no way represent music in general. yes, humans make music since thousends of years and the invention of the phonograph is only around 100 hundred years old so recorded music only represents a small part of the musical heritage of mankind. while scrolling through your list I noticed some women and people of colour but no music from africa, asia, south america or eastern europe, there is no classical or traditional music. how can you dare to say that only rock musicians make important albums? therefore your list is only white male bulls–t.**


* Yes, M.F. is the person’s real initials.
** This is verbatim so please excuse the spelling and grammatical issues.

So this might be a good time to highlight a quote from “What Does ‘Best 1,000 Albums Ever Mean’ And Why Are You Doing This?” (which, as a casual aside, I BOTH quote AND link to from every album entry on this website for easy reference):


It’s NOT a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. I’m not qualified to do that. I’m not sure that anyone is.

This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my best 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style.

If it’s not clear, the best 1,000 albums ever project is about celebrating music that I have happened to have personal experience with, both over the course of my life and during a many months long research process. It’s a celebration, and it’s an invitation to have a conversation about music that turns you on, what would make your personal list, and why.

You know, fun and stuff.

And really what my take boils down to is, which I think about often – and especially when people tell me that they dig Pop Thruster and this project: If I can turn ONE person onto any of the albums on this project (and especially some of the lesser known ones) that they may not have been aware of before, it’s a good thing, a satisfying thing.

M.F. a great thing even.

Some stats & info about Fastbacks – Answer the Phone, Dummy

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Punk Rock, Pop Punk, Alternative Rock, Seattle Bands
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 3 out of 5 stars
  • When was Answer the Phone, Dummy released? 1994
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #475 out of 1,000

Fastbacks’ Answer the Phone, Dummy on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Fastbacks’ Answer the Phone, Dummy that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

They said it was such a good time for everyone to not get along. And how was everyone so right if only everyone was wrong?