Oingo Boingo

Best O' Boingo

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A gothic, experimental band that utilized a simple blend of R&B and new wave, Oingo Boingo was quite an innovative force in the eight or so years covered on Best O' Boingo. Few bands can claim such a unique spot in the annals of pop music, but thanks to the visionary songs from lead singer Danny Elfman, Oingo Boingo often transcended the limitations of whatever genre they chose to take on. Picking up after their highly bizarre new wave years, this retrospective emphasizes their poppy, mainstream work, starting with their morbid good-times anthem "Dead Man's Party." Perhaps the best song in their catalog, the track utilizes every likable aspect of their sound, from the intense horn work and start-and-stop rhythms to Elfman's endearingly nasally yelp and impressive compositional skills. Other highlights include the Talking Heads-influenced "Not My Slave," the eerie Eastern-flavored "Sweat," and the campy creep-out anthem "No One Lives Forever." Without access to the material from Boingo's years on A&M Records, the album does feel a bit padded, especially when material from the bland Boi-ngo gets so much play. But with so many great Elfman songs in one place, it's hard to argue with the amount of quality new wave that makes it onto the record. Besides, 1999's Anthology underrated this period in their career, making Best O' Boingo the premiere sampler of their pop-oriented years.

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