The Slackers - The Question (Cover Artwork)

The Slackers

The Slackers: The QuestionThe Question (1998)
Hellcat Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

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

After writing and posting a five-star review for a Let's Go Bowling album, people who knew who the band actually were told me I overrated it, and then had an argument about what the best ska album of the '90s was, which I guess is normal post-review behaviour on the Org. This disc got mentioned a lo.
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After writing and posting a five-star review for a Let's Go Bowling album, people who knew who the band actually were told me I overrated it, and then had an argument about what the best ska album of the '90s was, which I guess is normal post-review behaviour on the Org. This disc got mentioned a lot, it's one of my favourites (ever) and no one has reviewed it, so here I go.

The Slackers have been recognised as one of the greatest ska bands of all time, being smart, sophisticated, musically tight, catchy, danceable, melancholy, joyous, open-minded and ambitious about how they play their smooth rocksteady sound. I haven't heard 1997's Redlight (which is also contested as their best) properly, but I've only known the band for about two years, which I hope is a good excuse, so I'm only able to say this is the best one I've heard.

Nonetheless, what an album! For something that opens with a Bill Bailey-style cockney piano intro, the record is simply beautiful. Calm, sweet numbers: "Yes It's True," "No More Crying" and "The Question." Bluesy, rock-influenced songs: "Do You Know", "Face in My Crowd," "The Mummy" and "And I Wonder," which sounds a little Steely Dan-influenced to me (and with the band's wide and varied taste, it could well be).

There's cheerful traditional ska, like "Manuel," the slightly cynical Sitar-powered Calypso ska (best description I could think up) of "Mountainside" and the toasting instrumental "Motor City." And one of my favourite songs of all time: the pretty, slow burning "Alone Again."

The album is coherent and fits together perfectly. There are no bad songs (though we can ask just what is the exact point of "The Question (Version)"), only better ones. The only flaw is the lack of a lyrics sheet. Why? This is hardly even a setback, though, so never mind.

This is a lovely album. It's not epic; it's not bombastic; it's just lovely.


People who liked this also liked:
Cobra Skulls - American RubiconThe Flatliners - CavalcadeFake Problems - Real Ghosts Caught on TapeCobra Skulls - Bringing the War HomeThe Menzingers - On the Impossible PastThe Sidekicks - Awkward BreedsThe Slackers - The Great Rock-Steady SwindleThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangNOFX - Punk In DrublicThe Clash - London Calling

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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.
Banger (January 29, 2011)

To correct my last post, the fast version of "Feed My Girl" was on the Boss Harmony Sessions, not Lost & Found.

I second milesqtoast: the first two songs are awesome. "Manuel" in particular is a popular live song.

nedsammy (December 24, 2010)

i will agree the mummy's a bit boring, and the question (version) could have been left off. but i said this album was five stars... what the fuck happened?

pinkerton (December 23, 2010)

excellent album!

milesqtoast (December 22, 2010)

Cos the first 2?! the first 2 are awesome you cheeky monkey

milesqtoast (December 22, 2010)

love this album. don't know if it's the best but none of their others really stuck with me like this one.

GlassPipeMurder (December 21, 2010)

Great album. "No More Crying" is my favorite.

Cos (December 21, 2010)

This is so funny--just broke this one out this past weekend. I still stand by my opinion that this album is too long and with a few filler tracks--Question (Version), Mummy, and in all honesty, the first two and last two tracks--but even without those tracks, you're still left with 14 solid-to-amazing songs. A great set.

rosshostage (December 21, 2010)

I think it's crazy to say that The Question or Redlight are The Slackers' best releases. Although both records are phenomenal, and I was introduced to The Slackers during their Redlight tour, I feel that both of those records represent a burgeoning band reaching the top of their game while albums like Close My Eyes, Peculiar and Self-Medication show a band who have realized their sound and gotten incredibly tight over the span of their career. I'm glad that The Question is finally getting some well-deserved praise on the .Org, but I think it's foolish to say that albums released over a decade ago are the best in a catalog that gets better and better every year...

StraightToHell82 (December 21, 2010)

So, so, so great.

MN_DrNick (December 21, 2010)

Wait... this was never reviewed on this site until 2010? Wow. Anyways, this is probably their best release.

eatdogs (December 21, 2010)

i picked this album up last time i was in new york. the record store had two huge fat cats that lived there and slept in the middle of the aisles. they were nice cats. oh, and this is my favorite slackers album. red light comes in second, but only because this was my first one. such smooth jams...

Banger (December 21, 2010)

The best Slackers album. I saw them live for the Nth time a few days ago at their annual holiday show in Brooklyn and they played more songs off The Question than any other album, including "Have the Time," "Keep Him Away," "Yes It's True," and "Feed My Girl" - though it was the faster version of the song as it appears on Lost and Found. I shot a video of "Feed My Girl" and posted it on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJcwQH6Z_pE

baseball (December 21, 2010)

This is a classic. Although I might like Redlight a little more.

Wyld_Stallyns_Rule (December 21, 2010)

Hard to choose a favorite, but this is right up there. I love these guys.

86themike (December 21, 2010)

The Slackers are too good. The Question is awesome but almost all their albums thru Peculiar can be debated to be the best. It is safe to say though that they as a band put out the best ska record of the 90's.

Good review regarding this records diversity and strength. The Question is great from start to finish and almost all songs are essential. Have the time, and I wonder, alone again, yes it's true... the album is solid.

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