The first time I remember hearing Reel Big Fish was hanging around the house I shared while I was in school. Sitting in the living room, surrounded by cases of beer and pizza boxes, watching “BASEketball” on my roommate’s newly purchased DVD player and big screen (35 inches!!!) TV and hearing a new and exciting take on the familiar intro to “Take On Me”. I remember sitting up straighter on the couch (I may or may not have spilled a bottle on the floor), and that was it. I was hooked.
Now, twenty years or so later, here I am sitting in my den with a microbrew beer streaming the new Reel Big Fish album through the browser on my 43” TV (which wouldn’t necessarily be considered a big screen). The more things change, the more they stay the same.
It’s been six years since their last album, and at first listen, Life Sucks…Let’s Dance! is definitely very much a RBF album. Despite the numerous line-up changes over the years, Aaron Barrett has managed to keep the sound and message consistent.
The whole album is fun to listen to. I would challenge anyone to try and sit still while it’s on. The songs have the familiar danceability of previous RBF releases, with plenty of horns and ska beats. Even songs that lament getting older, such as “Good Old Days,” come across almost manically happy. The pre-release single, “Ska Show,” is a fun song inviting people to a show; with a simple message, life is short and we might as well enjoy the time we have.
Other songs on the album are just as fun to listen to. “G.D. Beautiful Day” sounds like it could be the theme song for a Netflix comedy hit. The final track on the album, “Walter’s Highlife” is a four-minute instrumental showcasing the talent of the members of the band.