Fishbone – Fishbone: #356 of best 1,000 albums ever!

So why is Fishbone on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

So, I was tempted to move Fishbone’s debut EP from 1985 significantly higher on this here best 1,000 albums ever project.

Sorely tempted.  

It starts with the fact that “Party at Ground Zero” is one of my favorite Fishbone songs – my second favorite, in fact – and one of my favorite songs of the 1980s: it’s a lunatic thrill ride of joyous, exuberant ska, punk, funk, and a wildly electric energy that Fishbone is the only band on the planet capable to deliver.

And that horn hook: I could just listen to it over and over.

And while all of that is going on, it’s also somehow an effective satire of the preposterous existence we’ve lived in now for decades*, on the brink of nuclear devastation based on the whims of a small group of people with access to the proverbial button.

Johnny, go get your gun, for the commies are in our hemisphere today
Ivan, go fly your MiG, for the Yankee imperialists have come to play

* I so wish I could say that this sentiment is a relic of the dusty past, but the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing threats from Vladimir Putin and others that nukes could be used at some point are just a leading example of why I can’t say this.

Okay, so there’s that. And the rest of Fishbone is really strong too, even though it’s an EP of just six songs. But somehow for me, I always grouped this album – and particularly “Party at Ground Zero” –with my favorite all time Fishbone song and flat out one of my most favorite songs of all time.

And that’d be “Skankin’ to the Beat.” It’s Fishbone operating at the peak of its powers: exuberant, frantic yet controlled, old school ska mapped against high energy punk rock. I never get tired of hearing this song, it’s absolute magic for putting me into a good mood whenever I need it.

But… it’s not included on Fishbone the EP. It’s not even included on a studio album, incredibly. Instead, it was released on the Say Anything soundtrack (#759 of best 1,000 albums ever), which as it happens is one of the very best movies of the 1980s.

And as great and as wildly eclectic and innovative as Fishbone is, I’ve often wished that they would have produced more music in the vein of “Party at Ground Zero” and “Skankin’ to the Beat” – super-powered ska punk with a mix of influences – versus the heavier, metal/funk amalgam that they trended into post-Truth & Soul (#734).

Back to Fishbone the EP. “Ugly” and “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” represent exactly the kind of music that Fishbone excels most at: cranked up beats, ska rhythms, and inventive song writing with maximum level confidence and charisma. Lisa Grant’s vocals add a really nice element to “Lyin’ Ass Bitch.” She sounds a lot like Pauline Black from The Selector, in fact.

“V.T.T.L.O.T.F.D.G.F.,” which stands for “”Voyage to the Land of the Freeze-Dried Godzilla Farts” (because of course!), sounds like a great cover of an early funked up Red Hot Chili Peppers hit song that doesn’t exist.

Some stats & info about Fishbone

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Ska, Ska Punk, Funky Metal, Rock Music, Indie Rock, Metal
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 3 out of 5 stars
  • When was Fishbone released? 1985
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #356 out of 1,000

Fishbone on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Fishbone that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Party at ground zero, a B Movie starring you, and the world will turn to flowing pink vapor stew.

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.