The Mighty Mighty Bosstones: The Magic of Youth


Don’t Know How to Party and Question the Answers were probably the high point of ska’s third wave.  They mixed the fun and soul (something oddly missing with most third wave bands) with a hardcore edge and a dose of serious honesty.  In a decade of ponderous self-consciousness the Bosstones were refreshing.  However, if you want a rehash of “The Impression That I Get,” pick up a copy of one of the older albums.  The Bosstones have grown.

As fantastic as those early albums were, the worst thing imaginable for the Bosstones would be to simply remake them as if no time has passed.  While it might make commercial sense (as the Rolling Stones can surely attest), Dicky Barrett and company have surely changed over time and that is reflected over the last decade and notably on their latest, The Magic of Youth.  The great part is that this record shows what is really essential to this band, beyond the mix of hardcore and horns.  As much as the music, the Bosstones are about the story and there is a lot of honest, vivid, down-to-earth story telling here.  To boot, the old mix of ska and punk now has hints of soul and jazz.  This album may not have the punch of its predecessors, but that is because the band has grown wise and broad, not old.  “They Will Need Music” speaks of the “strength and warmth and comfort / That the music will provide.”  That’s just what the Bosstones have given us with the Magic of Youth.  And it’s a godsend and a gift.

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