Album Review: “Life Sucks… Let’s Dance!” By Reel Big Fish

Andrew Wessel, Herald Contributor

California-based ska band Reel Big Fish released their long-awaited ninth album, “Life Sucks… Let’s Dance!” Released on Dec. 21, 2018, the album holds 14 tracks that make you want to dance. The band combines sounds of reggae and punk with comedic musical elements and lyrics to create a happy, fun style of music that anyone can listen to. The band is comprised of five members: A drummer, bassist, trombonist, trumpeter, saxophonist and guitarist/vocalist. On this record, the band talks of how sometimes, even when things are bad, you should look on the bright side and just dance. They also talk about young love, beer (a recurring theme for the band) and reminisce over the good old days.

If you want a song that makes you want to get up and dance, the first track is for you. Track number one is the title track of the album and contains all the band’s typical components. The chorus’ lyrics want you to move your feet, “life sucks, so let’s dance, yeah, maybe if we have some fun, we won’t feel so bad.” It has a backbeat guitar part with a straightforward guitar part and horns accompanying throughout which makes this a typical ska song. About halfway through the song, the feel changes to a slowed-down reggae beat and transitions back into the chorus with the addition of a saxophone solo.

“Tongue Tied and Tipsy Too,” track number five, talks of young love and how nervous people are in this time of their lives. “It was such an awkward night,” the hook of the chorus expresses this perfectly. The song follows a heavier punk beat and is just under two minutes long. It’s just long enough for you to get up and skank with your friends or sing aloud to the lyrics on a night drive.

On the other side of RBF’s spectrum of sound comes track number eight, “Bob Marley’s Toe.” This song has a laid back mood which is seen with most reggae-based music. For anyone who listens to reggae, this is the band’s dub song for this record. The song is a tribute to Bob Marley, the King of Reggae. The lyrics talk about how life is hard and people still don’t get along. They wish Bob Marley had not died yet, so that he could keep spreading his good vibes through his music, “thanks for trying to save us with a reggae song.”

Overall, this album is great. It’s a ska album filled with chill vibes and comedic lyrics. If you like either of these things, or good music in general, you should take a listen.