Chixdiggit! - Born on the First of July (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Born on the First of July (1998)

Honest Don's

"Sikome Beach" is one of the best songs ever!

Ahem... now that I've gotten that out of the way... For many people the Chixdiggit! song "Gettin' Air," which was featured on a PS1-era Snowboarding game (anyone got the name? I can't recall), was their first introduction to the band. They had released a self-titled album on Sub Pop in 1996 that kind of flew under the radar. Lucky for us "Gettin' Air" was the first song off of the band's sophomore album 'Born on the First of July,' and was enough to get us to stop playing poor "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" clones and go out and buy the album.

Not surprisingly, 'Born on...' has the band in much better form in song-writing, composition, and overall production than the debut LP. The album is slick, but not over-produced. There are imperfect moments, but the band wears those on their sleeves because, in the end, the sheer joy of the music is too overpowering. One thing that Chixdiggit! do well every time is the backing vocals and this is where they earned their stripes. Put in just the right places, these backing vocals spice up every song and turn almost each and every one into a a great sing-along.

Chixdiggit! are also pretty darn irreverent. Even on *love songs* like "20 Times" the sheer humor of KJ Jansen's lyrics (and voice) telling us the obvious "'cuz they got one of those phones" comes off as silly and fun. "Chupacabras" is a blast to listen to and, apparently, play live as I've seen no less than five bands cover it at some point. "2000 Flushes" is arguably the most straight-forward punk song off the album, with its high tempo and whip fast lyrics, its a template for the more upbeat pop-punk bands that followed.

The mid-tempo "Brunette Summer" love song ostensibly tops off the album, letting you slowly cool off from the roller coaster ride you've just been on. However, the truly excellent surprise hidden track, a cover of Sylvia Hutton's "Nobody" truly finishes up the album.

Did I mention that "Sikome Beach" is one of the best songs ever? It really is. Try not to let it get it stuck in your head.

I'm not sure what the story is behind Chixdiggit!'s debut on Sub Pop... but 'Born on the First of July' is the album that put them on the map, and established them as one of the best bands in the pop-punk genre. The band has had sporadic output over the past decade or so, but still tours often and puts out music when they get around it. But the twelve tracks on this album (plus the secret cover song) are almost perfect in their imperfection, and should be required listening for anyone wanting to dip their toes in the pop-punk genre.