Track By Track: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ “The Magic Of Youth”
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones frontman Dicky Barrett takes us track by track through the legendary ska group's new album, The Magic Of Youth. You can listen to the album here.
On the one hand it's simply about being afraid of the unknown. Beyond that it suggests that some eye-opening event brought me to a place of self-realization and gave me a better overall understanding of my own place in the universe. Parts of the verse reduces the "eye opening event" to being nothing more than a booze fueled night on the town, and other parts suggest it could be something more spiritual than that. Things turn around in the chorus when both the negative and positive effects of whatever this event might be are channeled into a "nothing can stop us and let's take advantage of everything life has to offer us" sort of a battle cry.
I love the surf/garage punk feel this song has. The horn parts are very Satanic.
"Like A Shotgun"
Lyrically, I wanted it to feel like it could either be about a homicidal maniac about to take someone's head off with a sawed-off shotgun or someone being hit full-force and knocked over with the realization that he really loves someone.
This is one of my favorite songs we've ever written. I think it does what we do best. It lulls the listener into what is ultimately a false sense of security and then jolts them back hard into a harsh and cold reality. A classic Joe Gittleman bass line combined with JTK's terrific drumming, add Lawrence's tasty guitar work then insert the haunting horn line written by saxophonist Kevin Lenear and (if I do say so myself) we've done it again. Lyrically I'm proud of the power of its simplicity.
"Sunday Afternoons On Wisdom Ave."
Stylistically we wanted this song to be Madness meets John Doe. It's what we had in mind. Why we we had that in mind I'm not sure, and whether or not we achieved it is neither here nor there. It's about my childhood and visiting my grandparents where my father grew up in Providence, just around the corner from the Blessed Sacrament Church. The ska verses are really solid combined with the schoolyard chant of a chorus. I think they set up the longer rock and roll middle section nicely. This song is more in the vein of our last masterpiece Pin Points And Gin Joints or something off of A Jacknife To A Swan or Pay Attention. A perfect song for Ben to skank to.
"They Will Need Music"
It's supposed to be a modern day Battle Hymn. It was originally more of an Oi! Song that had a simple verse into an over the top sing-a-long chorus until producer Ted Hutt and piano player JG helped us build the epic Dixieland middle section that delights me every time I hear it.
"The Package Store Petition"
Joe G. gave me the line "and we'll knock down every statue that they've put up" and the story of a homeless guy at a local liquor store that went from bumming money for booze to an aggressive activist with a clipboard and a cause overnight. He's the kind of guy we never shy away from writing a song about. At the risk of sounding like I'm bragging, I think this song rips. A textbook Joe Gittleman rocker.
"The Horseshoe and Rabbits' Foot"
With its seventies-sweet soul baseline and Motown meets Two Tone overall feel, I was trying to write an adult lullaby. When all else fails, try calling it a day and set your sights on tomorrow.
"The Magic Of Youth"
I like that it sounds like it might be an inspirational Sinatra standard but it just ends up being the story of a junkie and his girl who misspend their younger years, waste their lives and do nothing more than grow old together. The first half of the verses are very light and breezy and right when you realize what's going on it leans forward and gets a lot darker.
"The Upper Hand"
Another one of my all-time favorites. An outright attack on the men and women that try to call the shots and think they run things.
"The Ballad Of Candlepin Paul"
This is a song is about an athlete that played a sport that few people outside of New England even know about. Growing up in Boston and vicinity we thought that big-ball bowling was something Fred Flinstone did. We watched candlepin bowling shows on local t.v. and when we went to the bowling alley we bowled candlepins. The song is about the greatest legend Candlepin Bowling has to offer.
"Open And Honest"
Another one of our songs dedicated to the faithful. Written for the loyal BossToneS supporters that have been with us through the ups and down, the ins and outs, and thick and thin while we honed our skills, became better BossToneS, and delivered our latest and greatest offering, The Magic Of Youth. Nothing left to say, thank you. alt