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Reel Big Fish - Turn The Radio Off (Cover Artwork)

Reel Big Fish

Reel Big Fish: Turn The Radio OffTurn The Radio Off (1996)
Universal Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: bloofyArejay
(others by this writer | submit your own)

With a new album released this past year (We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy), I decided to read some reviews about the legends of third wave ska-punk, Reel Big Fish (RBF from here on in). Disgusted to see the lack of a review for Turn The Radio Off, arguably RBF's best album, I decided to submit.
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With a new album released this past year (We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy), I decided to read some reviews about the legends of third wave ska-punk, Reel Big Fish (RBF from here on in). Disgusted to see the lack of a review for Turn The Radio Off, arguably RBF's best album, I decided to submit one of my very own. I decided to write individual reviews of the highlight songs from the 15-track album because I'm lazy. (Tongue-poking-out smiley goes here.)

First, don't get me wrong, I am still very new to ska music. With only 8 ska-punk albums to my collection, I am far from an expert on this very old and very varied genre. From the shores of Australia, I believe my country was reasonably untouched by the late 90's ska explosion into the mainstream. But don't quote me on that; I was only about 10 years old during this time and was probably too worried with whatever else was happening. (I remember hearing the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' "Impression That I Get" on the radio however. Great song! So catchy!)

Turn The Radio Off immediately gives listeners a kick in the behind with the first song. "Sell Out," the first track, is a very upbeat guitar and horn-driven number with an undeniably catchy, toe-tapping chorus that gives first timers a very good summary of the band's sound. This track, at almost four minutes long, leads nicely into "Trendy," a shorter song that perfectly suited to be played at a house party, with a singalong chorus and some great brass work.

A song many of us may have heard on the hilarious film "Baseketball" comes in at number six. Probably everyone's favourite RBF song, the distinctive "Beer," is a great guitar-driven song with some very catchy bass guitar work and surprisingly little trumpet and trombone, making it more of a punk than ska song (also, the upstroke guitaring is absent and replaced with very funky stuff that isn't really heard of on this album). The multi-talented Scott even gets the keyboard happening! Overall, "Beer" is a really fun track worthy of its reputation. The very next track, "241," is an almost entirely instrumental one that shows off the talent of all the musicians and shows just how well their sound blends together.

"Skatanic," song number 10, is a very sinister, downbeat song with Aaron Barrett's usually very happy voice being quite the opposite, making this song a powerful track. The chorus is quite alarming; while softened screams of "Fuck you bitch, I love you" and "I'm not crazy" make the song very unique on the album. The very driving trumpets through the verses also add other elements to the already unusual track.

"All I Want Is More" is another great song that brings the mood straight back to the upbeat style that RBF pulls off so nicely, as does the following song "Nothing," that sports some very cool bass work and singalong moments of "I don't fuckin' care anymore."

"Alternative, Baby," the last song on the album, closes the curtains on the album on an upbeat note perfectly, mostly thanks to the excellent vocals of Barrett and great participation from all the horn players who are so essential to RBF's trademark horn-driven sound.

Reel Big Fish are generally accepted as not being the most serious of bands. In fact, you would think it would be impossible when you play such an upbeat, catchy and glorious style of music, as these gentlemen do so well. Even if you love or hate ska, there is no denying the fact that RBF are one helluva fine-tuned ska-punk-pop band. This album, Turn The Radio Off, is RBF at their finest and boasts some of RBF's biggest fan favourites. TTRO is a great first step for punk fans who want to explore this fun and inspirational band or for ska dudes who like their music upbeat.

8.5/10

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
neffernin (June 6, 2007)

First let me mention that Op Ivy's "Energy" wayyyyyyyy preceded the mid-90's ska wave. If anything, it was the trigger.

Next, if you don't listen to ska anymore.... then congrats to you. No one really cares, the vast majority of people in this world jump from bandwagon to bandwagon so what makes you so special?

Last: This is one of the top 5 ska albums that have been released imo. Pezcore was a good CD, but I don't think it was as solid an effort as this; there is no weak spot in this CD. If you haven't listened to it, do so. If you don't own it buy it. No more for me to say.

HillHillJJ (July 8, 2006)

This album kicks ass! Reel big fish is 1 of the best ska bands and has a little bit of a different style than other ska bands!

KungPowza (June 8, 2006)

One of the essential RBF albums, as well as an essential 3rd wave album in general. If you don't have it, get it right away.

Anonymous (October 10, 2005)

Oh wow, rad.
I never realised they actually put it on the site. m/
-Arejay

klonny (October 2, 2005)

I've heard a few songs on this album. So far, I love it. I need to buy it soon.

Anonymous (August 30, 2005)

score is fore the cd. love it. beer is a great tune. most of the cd is great.

and "Anyone else remember how awesome Mike Park is?"

remember, i know mike park is still awesome and will always be awesome.

radioXwaves (August 30, 2005)

This record brings me back. I do enjoy it quite a bit. I just wish their other records were as good as this one.

axx (August 30, 2005)

I love this album. There you are.

But also, just wondering, what happened to all the guys in the band at that time, like Tavis and such?
did they go seperate bands or what?

Anonymous (August 29, 2005)

You grew out of it? I bet you're into screamo now

Anonymous (August 29, 2005)

this cd made me want to play in a ska band, 8 years later im still in the ska scene. now i find i grew out of it, but it reminds me of high school.

mcyourmomwich (August 29, 2005)

I love that ska. I also love fish. a reel big fish.

WhatHappenedToMusic (August 29, 2005)

Great cd, too bad all their cds after this sucked donkey balls.

discofucker (August 29, 2005)

I totally hate this kind of music now, but when I liked it, this album was the shit.

Anonymous (August 29, 2005)

Anyone else remember how awesome Mike Park is?

Anonymous (August 29, 2005)

the song your referring to is the one about Suburban rhythm. they also mentioned sublime

stevejonestherealbones (August 29, 2005)

to anyone that knows, did they change the lyrics to one of the songs when they rerecorded them? i seem to remember one of the original songs having a lyric about gwen stefani or something that isnt in the new version. i cant quite remember...

- jones

southpawnation (August 29, 2005)

Most of these songs are re-recorded versions of tracks from their self-produced/self-released Everything Sucks CD. Being their major label debut, Turn the Radio Off is obviously better recorded, but what struck me most when it came out was the vastly improved horn parts. One thing that really drug Everything Sucks down for me was that every song's horn section sounded just like "Party at Ground Zero" (Fishbone).

I don't know about this record being a classic, but I have a soft spot for it as light summer listening. I still own it and it still gets a spin every so often. For fans of silly, poppy mid-90s ska-punk like Dance Hall Crashers, Mad Caddies, Golfdinger, Save Ferris, etc., this is the RBF album to pick up, if you you're going to swing that way.

Although, if you're looking for a "classic" mid-90s ska-punk album, I'd recommend seeking out Less Than Jake's Pezcore first. And, I'm assuming everyone already owns OpIvy.

ElVaquero (August 29, 2005)

poop

poopypants (August 29, 2005)

this is a great classic skapunk album , but i personally prefer 'why do they rock so hard?', their follow up to this album. it had all the same elements and style that made this album great, they just did it better that time

paul

dazed (August 29, 2005)

As much as I never listen to this kind of thing anymore I loved this album in early high school and still have enough of a soft spot for this band that I haven't put any of their CDs in the "trade in for something better" pile. This is the best one by far, though, and gets an automatic nostalgia exemption.

Anonymous (August 29, 2005)

I can't believe how terrible this band became, and I can't stand cheese-core ska anymore... (except mad caddies, hehe). But I rocked this album many times; how can I lie.

-Not-To-Regret

fattony (August 29, 2005)

This album changed my life.

Don't laugh, I'm serious.

joeg (August 28, 2005)

"legends of third wave ska-punk"

i'm old and confused now.

CallingLondon (August 28, 2005)

this was just about the only album i listened to for much of senior year of high school. i think the new album might be almost as good.

Fuzzy (August 28, 2005)

This album was great, Keep Your Receipt as well, then "Why..." was great, and then nothing else is really listenable. Plus, their live show, which used to be great has gone quite downhill.

the_other_scott (August 28, 2005)

i never got super into the whole ska thing

96/97 i was more into bad religion and unwritten law

just thought i'd share

Anchors (August 28, 2005)

""Early in life, I didn't manage to have much luck with girls. I don't know if it was because of my face or the fact that I'm a pretentious dickhead. On occassion, though, I'd manage to Slip It In"

-Anchors, er, Will"

That would have been funny if you posted in on the correct review. Way to be, failure.

Anonymous (August 28, 2005)

I do own this album yes, and it was good for its time, but the horn instruments continue to be one the most grating instruments I know. I don't know why, but the sound of a trumpet is not a nice sound to me. Even good players work no wonders on my ears. Maybe it's because I played the trombone in my early years and hated its guts and thus it scarred me for life.

i-type-poorly (August 28, 2005)

This album was the first album i ever loved. I've always defined RBF not as a silly ska band, but as a spiteful, rude, and depressing one, with an ironic sugar coating. TTRO is full of all that from start to finish, even though most of the songs are remakes... but i still don't think it compares to the moral lows they reached on later albums.

Anonymous (August 28, 2005)

"Oh man... if this didn't dominate my life in 96/97. Let's hear it for high school!

-adam"

couldn't have said it better myself.

Anonymous (August 28, 2005)

good cd got me into the reel big fish and now i cant stop liking the bastards, the live dvd is worth buying it really shows how they are live not too shabby
the peck

benz (August 28, 2005)

Why do they rock so hard is better.

-benz

skaboom (August 28, 2005)

All the vegans in the house...All the vegans! All the vegans!

Anonymous (August 28, 2005)

if this was cheap enough id wipe my ass with it.

adam (August 28, 2005)

Oh man... if this didn't dominate my life in 96/97. Let's hear it for high school!

-adam

john-311 (August 28, 2005)

I love this album! BTW, the Show Must Go Off DVD...well, they don't take themselves too seriously on that either, hah. It's pretty good once you get pass the 3 do-overs in the first song.

Crookedsuperhero (August 28, 2005)

I haven't listened to this in years.

Score's for what i remember of it. And that later song that isn't a mess.

AlmostPunkEnough (August 28, 2005)

"its kinda wierd not learning at least one new tidbit about anchors life..."

i know, what the fuck is going on here?? i feel so scared and alone.

i like a lot of ska, but i'm not a huge RBF fan, this album is easily their best stuff. and i think 'Beer' is kinda overrated, too.

wannabepunktony (August 28, 2005)

Great album from a band that has since lost it's way.

TheCaptain (August 28, 2005)

Why is everybody in love with the song "Beer?" It's not even in my top 5-6 from that album.

skolarx (August 28, 2005)

only time i ever saw these ass clowns and thought they were good was around 97 or so while they were touring on this album and played with 22 jacks in a half full tiny venue. everytime after that they seemed sort of full of themselves and kinda half assed the performance

yayforapathy (August 28, 2005)

Eh, their alright. Hardly "insprirational" in my opinnion. "Beer" is very catchy tune, however.

stevejonestherealbones (August 28, 2005)

I've have never seen their live show but have thought about picking up their Show Must Go Off dvd. Is it any good?

i havent seen the dvd, but i have seen them live quite a few times, and its been pretty unconsistent. sometimes great, sometimes just average at best...

i would assume the show must go off is a really good one though since they knew they were filming it...

- jones

psychoos231 (August 28, 2005)

Say what you will about these guys. They do "rock hard".
I've have never seen their live show but have thought about picking up their Show Must Go Off dvd. Is it any good?

Anonymous (August 28, 2005)

The argument against this being their best is..... "Why do they rock so hard" 'nuff said.

Anonymous (August 28, 2005)

"Early in life, I didn't manage to have much luck with girls. I don't know if it was because of my face or the fact that I'm a pretentious dickhead. On occassion, though, I'd manage to Slip It In"

-Anchors, er, Will

BlAquaCadetZstyles (August 28, 2005)

Arguably their best? I can't think of one argument against it.

stevejonestherealbones (August 28, 2005)

its kinda wierd not learning at least one new tidbit about anchors life...

- jones the bones

Anonymous (August 28, 2005)

Yeah, kinda seems like the people who'd like this would already have it, but hey, it's the order of the queue. Next sunday, I should be dominating like Anchors. Bwahahaha.

-Will

gladimnotemo (August 28, 2005)

So this is one of the "classics" being reviewed on Sundays now? Interesting idea of classics.

I used to like this band, when I was 13 or 14. They have probably the worst lyrics I've ever read.

stevejonestherealbones (August 28, 2005)

this is a really good album. i remember having a copy of the original before mojo...i think that one was even better...but i lost it or let someone borrow it or shoved it up my ass. i forget.

anyway, this album is fun

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

Anonymous (August 28, 2005)

complete shit

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