Monday, January 23, 2012

Song #97 of 9999 - When the Lights Go Out by Oingo Boingo

Song #97 of 9999

Title: When the Lights Go Out
Artist: Oingo Boingo
Year: 1990
Album: Dark at the End of the Tunnel

1990 was not a good year for pop music. I had a really hard time coming up with even a dozen songs I'm excited about sharing. But here goes anyway. :)

By 1990, Danny Elfman had already become a major force in the movie music business, having written scores for the Pee-Wee movies, Beetlejuice, and Batman. I found his film music to be quite good, especially when paired with the right film and he had obviously found a kindred spirit in misfit Tim Burton. A huge fan of The Simpsons, I also admired Elfman's old-school opening theme for the animated sitcom. But I really hadn't had any experience with his pop music until I picked up Dark at the End of the Tunnel. 

The entirety of Dark at the End of the Tunnel doesn't live up to the opening track, but "When the Lights Go Out" is an insane piece of pop music. It's easy to hear why Elfman's music translates so well to the cinema as the song paints vivid and sometimes frightening pictures with its jungle beat, zombie backing vocals and slithery note-bending. The track production shows Elfman's sense of balance and ability to make sense of a busy, active space, additional assets where film music is concerned.

Not sure this song holds up super-well twenty years later, but I must admit I listened to it a lot that year. A sentimental favorite.

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