Voodoo Glow Skulls – Symbolic: #446 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Voodoo Glow Skulls - Symbolic

So why is Voodoo Glow Skulls’ Symbolic on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

This project gets both more challenging and more fun as it goes along.

Voodoo Glow Skulls’ Symbolic is a great case in point for a few reasons. One is that VGS as a whole is easily in the Top 10 in terms of bands that I’ve flat out spent the most time listening to during my lifetime. Between the band’s large, high quality catalog and its insanely catchy, frantic brand of ska punk (which I’ve also seen referred to as barrio ska core), it has been a core component of my workout and jogging mix tapes and streaming playlists dating back to the mid-1990s.

Symbolic specifically happens to contain two of my most favorite Voodoo Glow Skulls songs of all: “Last Party” and “Orlando’s Not Here.” While the rest of that album isn’t quite at that level, VGS is in that very rare crop of bands/artists for me where there’s not really a single song that I wouldn’t consider to be at least pretty good.

The hook on “Last Party” melts my brain every time I listen to it. And by the time the horns kick in, this track simply sizzles. As should be noted every time Voodoo Glows Skulls comes up: the horn section is just about the best you’ll find in modern music, and really the entire band deserves credit for producing consistently exuberant and fast-paced music that’s tight as a drum.

Likewise, the pace and hooks on “Orlando’s Not Here” make it an absolute scorcher of a ska punk number. While the vibe, sound, and even the very brief skit to open the song make it seem like fun, the lyrics are actually pretty dark, depicting a guy from the neighborhood named Lando who succumbed to a life of drugs.

“Musical Therapy” has really grown on my over time. It begins with a brutal hardcore punk assault and never really lets up, though it has an eclectic, almost progressive punk* feel at times that is unique and compelling.

* Is “progressive punk” even a thing? You know what, make it so, as Captain Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation (a known ska punk fanatic) would surely say.

Personal stuff that has something to do with Voodoo Glow Skulls’ Symbolic

There’s something about the reckless abandon of “Last Party” – both musically and lyrically – that pulls me back to my senior year of college at Binghamton University. I’ve written about those days here and there, but it’s important to emphasize that there were parties involving anywhere from 15 to 100+ people going down at our house on Leroy St. upwards of five nights a week.

That average number of parties per week number would likely have been even higher if not for the fact that as the unofficial “rugby house,” we were actually pretty good about keeping things chill on Friday nights ahead of our Saturday morning games. And Sunday nights (post-Saturday partying, which began immediately post-game at the event appropriately known as the Drink Up) were often quiet as well, though we’d typically gather to catch the latest episode of The Simpsons.

Some stats & info about Voodoo Glow Skulls – Symbolic

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Punk Rock, Ska Punk, Third Wave Ska Revival, Rock Music
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 3 out of 5 stars
  • When was Symbolic released? 2000
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #446 out of 1,000

Voodoo Glow Skulls’ Symbolic on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Voodoo Glow Skulls’ Symbolic that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

I’m living in a nightmare can’t you see, I need some musical therapy.

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.