My Journey Through Music: Ska

8 Aug

 

Here are the 10 artists I listened to for ska:

First wave ska:
Skatalites
Toots and Maytals

Second wave ska:
The Specials
Madness

Third wave ska:
Operation Ivy
Aquabats
Mighty, Mighty Bosstones
Mustard Plug
Streetlight Manifesto
Hepcat

So far, this has been the most difficult genre to pick songs for. Thanks to @Thebraziliandude and my good friend Tori, I had way more than 10-15 artists to choose from. I also knew several of the bands previously (not well, mind you) such as Aquabats, Mighty, Mighty Bosstones, Streetlight Manifesto, and some others that didn’t get chosen. I couldn’t decide whether I should explore the bands that I knew more, or if I should find new bands all together. Ultimately, I ended up cutting up pieces of paper and drawing all the third wave artists (I only had a few first and second wave, so they were in by default). I was very excited at the outcome.

Once again, a genre has supported the idea that I’m not a huge fan of the pioneers in that genre. I’ve yet to figure out why. It might be that when I listen to “oldies”, I listen for a very specific sound. It might also be that I like a more well-defined, polished sound that comes later after a genre has gotten its footing. Either way, first and second wave ska wasn’t my cup of tea. I listened to Freedom Sounds and Latin Goes Ska by the Skatalites back to back, which are both instrumentals, and it was too much only seconds in to Latin Goes Ska. I can appreciate instrumentals as a musician, but I wouldn’t be able to listen to that for any extended period of time. I didn’t really like the Toots and the Maytals at all, probably because it was more reggae in my ska than I’d like, and Bam Bam was the only song I could really get into at all.

Up next on the playlist were the Specials. They were definitely a step in the right direction. Four of their seven songs I listened to, I liked. Too Much, Too Young, Concrete Jungle, Blank Expression, and Little Bitch all had qualities that I liked, whether it was the upbeat music of Too Much, Too Young (my favorite) or the lyrics of Blank Expression. They only had one song I didn’t like, which I had to fight myself not to change: Gangsters. As for Madness, I was really unimpressed. Their sound as a whole reminded me of your stereotypical 80’s band. When I finally recognized My House, I was even more turned off. Its obviously a catchy song, because every commercial about houses everywhere uses it in their promotions, but that was the end of what I thought about it.

I liked second wave more than first, and the pattern continued because I likelove third wave. The first song I listened to by Operation Ivy was Sound System, and I instantly knew that third wave was for me. Although I didn’t like Bombshell at all, everything else was felt on a positive note. Their songs were extremely short, which almost left something to be desired, but overall I have no major complaints. I was kind of indifferent about the Aquabats. I didn’t feel really great or really terrible after listening to any of their songs, but because of that I feel a little let down. I’ve heard people rave about them. Next, I got to listen to my much loved Mighty, Mighty Bosstones.

They were Amazing.

I loved all of their songs. If I had to pick a favorite of the ones I listened to, it would probably be Noise Brigade, but I liked them all so much I couldn’t truly say that one was my favorite.

Mustard Plug was also pretty good. I wasn’t a huge fan of Skankin’ By Numbers, but it was alright. I especially liked Lolita, and Everyday Girl even moreso (its a personal favorite of all music now). Streetlight Manifesto is on about the same level as Mighty, Mighty Bosstones with me. I knew a few of their songs previously, and I really liked them. I started my Streetlight Manifesto playlist with Better Place, Better Time, and I was instantly in love with them. All of their songs were fantastic. Hepcat didn’t really inspire any great thoughts in me, much like Aquabats. I liked Dance Wid Me a lot, and although No Worries was different, it wasn’t bad by any means.

In my mind, ska was a complete success. I found several new favorite songs, and I feel much more comfortable saying that I like ska. I did find a new website that I believe I will be using for the rest of my musical endeavors. Its called Top 50 Songs and I think it worked well enough.

Do you like ska? What wave do you like best? Have you been listening along?

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