Before getting lost in the world of orchestral strings and Tim Burton soundtracks, Danny Elfman was the singularly strange lead singer/songwriter behind guitar/horn section new wave hybrid Oingo Boingo. Big duh. But while the band is known mostly for the “wacky” songs like “Weird Science, “Only A Lad,” and “Little Girls,” the group’s later, more serious work doesn’t seem to get much flashback radio love.
That’s too bad, because later albums like Dead Man’s Party and particularly BOI-NGO are filled with hook-laden, should-have-been hits like “Just Another Day,” “Stay,” “Pain,” and a big personal favorite, “Not My Slave” (download). A tune either celebrating or lamenting a lover’s independence (nice touch on the ambiguity, there), “Not My Slave” takes the classic Boingo ingredients like a skipping beat, catchy synth riffs, and sinister overtones and while not muting them, brings them closer to the mainstream. The remixed single version (download), a superior mix, beefs up the drums even more and adds a slashing guitar riff across the chorus. Sadly, radio shrugged and threw it on the intern promo giveaway pile.
MCA’s faith in the single showed by their commissioning an extended dance mix (download), but here the remixing fails, as it strips the song down to almost nothing but the originally thin beat, keys and vocals. Not the most danceable dance remix and its non-chart showing wasn’t a big surprise.
Hey, how about Oingo Boingo performing the BOI-NGO era singles on the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, with an intro from Jerry himself, no less (“Oyyynnngoooo Boyyyynnngooooo, LAAYYYY DEEEE”)?
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While a little maturity is good for a formerly “zany” combo, sometimes too much can ruin a good thing, as Oingo Boingo discovered in the mid-90s when they dropped the “Oingo” from their name and recorded as simply “Boingo.” The result was another album called Boingo (no hyphen this time), a dark, bloated, almost universally ignored album.Â The band split a year later and Elfman now spends his days rolling around on piles and piles of money, sometimes massaging the paper into his lily white, untouched-by-the-sun flesh.
“Not My Slave” did not chart.
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