TUBTHUMPER - CHUMBAWAMBA
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 "...dance 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.