The Vandals - Hitler Bad, Vandals Good. (Cover Artwork)

The Vandals

Hitler Bad, Vandals Good. (1998)


The Vandals are weird. I will start it off right there. Not in the sense that they are goofy "oh man we are so fuckin' funny!" weird. Weird in a sense that they used to be such an awesome band. Then something happened. I don't know what it was. They didn't sell out; in fact, they sold down by releasing all their new stuff on their own label, technically. They didn't abandon their roots (too much), and they didn't "change their sound" like most bands nowadays are doing. They just stopped writing good albums, and I don't know if it's because they are getting too old, or they just stopped caring. Right around the time of Look What I Almost Stepped In... is when it just started going downhill. Such is life, right? Either way, the Vandals used to be one of my favorite bands. Furthermore, Hitler Bad, Vandals Good. is probably one of my favorite records that is just silly punk rock.

With songs like "The People That Are Going to Hell," which is a quaint little number about everyone who sucks at life and is evil, and where they are going, and their parody homage to the mullet with "I've Got an Ape Drape," this record is full of songs that make you laugh. Probably the standout track for me on this album would be "My Girlfriend's Dead," a song about everyone who is just sick about talking about their ex, so they came up with a perfect solution: Tell them she is dead, end of discussion. With the incoropration of the tuba, saxaphone, bongos, and horns, this record basically has whatever you would want in a fun release. This album was one of my "firsts" back in my high school days, so these guys still have a warm spot in my heart.

The music remains tight throughout the whole thing. That's another thing about the Vandals: All of them are amazing with their respective instruments. They never miss a beat at all; on record or live, they are always on top of their shit. Josh, Warren, Dave and Joe know that they are great, and they let it show. From excelling solos on all parts, this record proves that they can write awesome tunes, which is why it's so hard to see a band who wrote such amazing songs just suddenly take a turn for the worse.

So if you are going to dig into the back catalogue of the Vandals, I would suggest starting here. It's a well-rounded album where you can almost avoid getting a little sick of the silliness before you have to turn it off. Because honestly, they are good, but sometimes you can only take so much of it. But if you're looking for a starter album for a friend or for yourself, here is a good one that you can't not enjoy your first time.