Saturday, December 1, 2012


YEAR:  1997
LABEL:  Universal
TRACK LISTING:  Tubthumping,  Amnesia,  Drip Drip Drip,  The Big Issue,  The Good Ship Lifestyle,  One By One,  Outsider,  Creepy Crawling,  Mary Mary,  Smalltown,  I Want More,  Scapegoat
IMPRESSIONS:  For some reason, Chumbawamba and their single "Tubthumping" (and consequently their entire album "TUBTHUMPER") has gotten the reputation as something of a joke; a one-hit wonder novelty band.  This seems more a demonstration of the ignorance of those holding this view as to the true nature and history of this band.  A band with what some would call extreme radical, almost anarchist political convictions, Chumbawamba had already produced (in their own Do-It-Yourself manner) nine previous albums during the previous 15 years before their mainstream "discovery" with this album.  The band was lambasted as sell-outs by their own fans when they signed to EMI before making this album much like the earlier controversy when the Clash signed to a major label and seemingly "betrayed" their punk aesthetic.  Far from a novelty record, TUBTHUMPER is a seriously accomplished, hook-heavy album which pairs social message with " beats, pop hooks and football chants..." in the words of Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine.  This, in effect, sugar-coats the possibly bitter social messages and slogans so they go down easily.  Speaking of the Clash, Chumbawamba mixes a cocktail of music with audio clips and sound effects much like Mick Jones' post-Clash project Big Audio Dynamite so successfully did; and there's some room for comparison between the two bands.  TUBTHUMPER plays straight through like some sort of anarchic dance suite that also gives the impression of being a concept album:  it's us against the them of oppressive governments, callous capitalist fatcats and fascist rascist bully boys.  All this to the drunken-sounding bar brawl of their hit single-led album.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS:  Tubthumping,  Amnesia,  Drip Drip Drip,  The Big Issue,  The Good Ship Lifestyle,  One By One,  Outsider,  Mary Mary,  Smalltown,  I Want More
FACT SHEET:  TUBTHUMPER is Chumbawamba's tenth album and won the 1997 Penguin Award for Album of the Year.  In July 2012, the band announced they were breaking up after a 30 year career.      

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