Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Return of the Aquabats

At this very moment, I have not one, not two, but four Aquabats CDs in my car...and I don't even like the Aquabats! Traci and I are going to the Jamboree Music Festival this weekend because we we want to see (in this order) The Format, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Dashboard Confessional. Despite the fact that they don't fit in at all musically, the Aquabats are also on the bill. That's what happens at Utah County shows - there's always room for the Aquabats.

I haven't listened to the Aquabats since 1997, but I figured I'd give 'em another spin to see if maybe they sounded better to me now. So I went to the library and checked out all four of their albums. Within about 15 seconds I was thrust back to high school, crammed into Colin Lewis' mom's minivan (Colin was wearing his Bat Cadet costume) going to see the Aquabats. By 20 seconds in, I realized that I didn't like the Aquabats then and I still don't like them now.

I loved third wave ska. I still think that Catch 22's Keasbey Nights is one of the best albums of all time and periodically I have to listen to The Hippos. However, the whole genre was tainted by two problems: childish lyrics and horrible vocalists. I can handle stupid lyrics, no biggie. But bad lyrics combined with bad singers is too much. I guess if I had ever been really into comic books or dungeons and dragons it would be more fun for me. I've never liked They Might Be Giants or Devo and I don't like the Aquabats.

I am curious as to why on their latest record, the Aquabats have ditched their horn section. It made sense that in 1999, as third wave was ebbing, they moved away from straight ska to Oingo Boingo-style rock. But it's strange that now that they have found a new generation of high school ska fans, they would shift to a leaner sound. Maybe it costs too much to tour with such a large troupe.

So in just a few days, I will close my eyes, skank to the Aquabats, and pretend I'm in high school again.

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