So why is The Toasters’ Skaboom! on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
This is one scorching (toasty) collection of high octane, old school third-wave ska.
There are actually two versions of Skaboom! that took me a little while to sort out. The “second” or later version, which is the one that I’m highlighting in this here best 1,000 albums ever project, is an expanded edition that layers in songs that had been included in an earlier EP, in addition to some other tracks.
Which is all to say that the 20 song version of Skaboom!, that runs over an hour, is pretty incredible.
Let me begin though with a quick “defense” of ska music first. I think for some people who are aware of ska at all, it’s a quick punch line to dismiss the genre (and its myriad sub-genres) as a trend or fad that scored a few hits in the mid-1990s and then thankfully went away.
And, sure, ska has had periods of “crossover” popularity, such as in the early 1980s, with the two-tone ska revival that came out of the UK with bands such as Madness and The Specials, and then the 1990s saw a period where “third-wave” bands like The Mighty Mighty BossTones, Rancid, Reel Big Fish, and No Doubt had some ska or ska-ish hits*.
* I’m big fans of all of the above bands, no trendy bandwagon thing happening over here on the best 1,000 albums ever project, thank you very much!
When I hear the opening thwack-y ska chords of “Recrmination(s),” followed by a pulse-y new wave organ, I’m reminded that I adore that pure ska sound, which essentially boils down to the “off beat” being emphasized (there’s more to it than that, but that’s the heart of it). Anyway, it’s a fantastically catchy number, with clever, snarky lyrics telling of some dude needing his space from his lady (but down you come with your nag, nag, nag!).
“Talk Is Cheap” has a “classic” ska and Toasters vibe to it. If you dig this one, you are a ska fan, my friends. I love how seamlessly the horns mesh with the ska chords, and I’m reminded too how adept the band is at the songwriting craft – it’s exceptionally constructed to speed along in a way that feels utterly effortless.
“Weekend in L.A.” and “East Side Beat” are in a similar mode as “Talk Is Cheap,” perhaps not quite as good but plenty great.
There’s a live track included on Skaboom! called “Calling All The Rude Boys,” that dates back to 1985. The sound production isn’t great, but you get an idea of how spectacular The Toasters were live back in the day.
I feel so fortunate that I caught The Toasters live in the early ‘90s in Ithaca, New York, a fabulous ska show that also included The Scofflaws and The Pietasters.
The Toasters are get off your feet and get moving kind of music.
This is ska, kids. Dig it.
Some stats & info about The Toasters – Skaboom!
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Ska, Rock Music, Third Wave Ska Revival, New Wave
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Skaboom! released? 1987
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #336 out of 1,000
The Toasters’ Skaboom! on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from The Toasters’ Skaboom! that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
We get ourselves in situations I don’t understand – that always leads to confrontations getting out of hand.
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.