Goldfinger - Topic

Open Your Eyes Play

Take the title of Goldfinger's fourth album to heart -- it's an order, a demand to their audience to wake up, take stock, and start again. Even with titles like "Spank Bank," there's very little jocularity here. No silly covers, few jokes, not much ska -- just a lot of anger, lots of hard-driving guitars, pummeling drums, snarled vocals. There's a lot of loss here -- a lot of songs about failed long-term relationships (remembering what it was like in 1993), lots of regrets, admissions that things went wrong (perhaps because the narrator did things wrong), and an attempt to patch things up with an estranged dad. Sometimes the hard rock falls a little flat, but not often. This is the toughest Goldfinger has ever been, and the most thought-provoking -- even the joke, "FTN" (stands for "F*ck Ted Nugent," btw), bristles with anger. Not as catchy as their debut, not as fun, but a worthy bid for credibility that will take longtime fans and less-interested parties by surprise. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Hang-Ups Play

On their second album, Hang-Ups, Goldfinger wisely decided to expand their ska-punk base, adding stronger melodic elements drawn from '60s pop and '70s punk. As a result, the record is stronger and more varied than its predecessor, which helps put their ska workouts in sharper relief. They still have a bit of trouble putting together a consistent set of material, but on the whole, Hang-Ups is evidence that the band is starting to mature and improve. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Stomping Ground Play

As far as punk bands with a ska edge go, Goldfinger writes and performs punchy, three-minute slices of adrenaline as well as anyone, with the notable exception of Rancid. Of course, the whole genre is haunted by the specter of the late, great Clash, who did it better than anyone else. On Stomping Ground, Goldfinger shows a little more versatility. The beginning of "The End of the Day" almost has a Kinks feel to it. "Bro" is Soundgarden-heavy. Goldfinger still hasn't matched their breakthrough "Here in My Bedroom" from their 1996 debut, but "I'm Down," "San Simeon," "You Think It's a Joke," and a cover of Nena's "99 Red Balloons" (interesting choice) highlight a fine album that's the logical next step for a still-maturing band, an adjective that doesn't often apply to a band in this genre. ~ Mark Morgenstein, Rovi

Goldfinger Play

The year 1996 was a breakthrough year for a new sound: the fusion of ska and punk. The Suicide Machines debuted, Less Than Jake made their major-label debut, but no one had more success with this new sound than Goldfinger on their self-titled debut. That could be because the band went even farther with their genre-bending, throwing metal and a touch of reggae into the mix. Or it could be because songs like the hit "Here in Your Bedroom" and "Mabel" are irresistibly catchy, creative, and, with such self-effacing lyrics as the maybe-size-does-matter line in "Mabel," hopelessly endearing. The album is an emotional roller coaster, from the self-affirming "Bedroom" ("You have changed/Cuz I still feel the same") to the confusion of "Mind's Eye" ("Every time that I see you/I act like a different man") to the oh-well-I-give-up humor of "My Girlfriend's Shower Sucks" ("It's like the shower's going pee"). And there's plenty of anger and aggression left over for songs like "Answers." The album went gold in 1998. ~ Ron DePasquale, Rovi

Hello Destiny... Play

Goldfinger discuss some serious issues on Hello Destiny... -- political activism, suicidal despair, breakups, war, religion, media exploitation, and political prisoners -- but do so with such bright, exuberant melodies that it's easy to overlook the lyrics. This makes the album work on two levels, engaging those who are there for the sociopolitical messages (albeit not particularly inspired or original ones) or just the fun and breezy nature of the tunes (albeit not particularly inspired or original ones). While the performances are solid on Hello Destiny..., there's nothing exceptional on display. Instead, John Feldmann, Kelly Lemieux, Charlie Paulson, and Darrin Pfeiffer sound settled in their groove. They're comfortable with each other and their influences, which allows the group to dabble in a myriad of styles here, including punk-pop, ska, and hardcore, while still maintaining a surprisingly smooth and consistent listen. Even the tough subjects dealt with in Feldmann's lyrics blend in nicely, thanks to his playful vocals. However, the bounce can't hide the more controversial items on offer (such as the manic "Handjobs for Jesus," which snidely takes both religious conservatives and George W. Bush to task, or "Free Kevin Kjonaas," an incessantly catchy number that advocates the release of an incarcerated animal rights activist), and that could make some listeners uneasy. Still, Hello Destiny... is at its heart a good-natured album, and it's refreshing to hear a band take on societal ills with hope instead of fury. It's by no means an essential album, but it's certainly a fun and educational one. ~ Katherine Fulton, Rovi

Disconnection Notice Play

Compared with its predecessor, Darrin's Coconut Ass, the title leaves a little something to be desired. The good news, though, is that the music doesn't. Here, longtime fans who lamented what by popular consensus was the premature abandonment of the band's ska leanings are treated instead to a full-throttle genre swing-a-thon. Opening track and first single "My Everything," for instance, careens through a tangle of jet-fueled guitars into the till-now solid wall dividing emo and post-punk, and album closer "Stalker" plumbs a quirky pop vein better associated with bands like Fountains of Wayne. Never mind the dips and swerves, though -- it works, and well enough to solidify this disc into something even the ska holdouts will deem worthy of repeat spins. Only the politically disenfranchised require advance warning: by the time the album is three-quarters done, an excess of loaded lyrics could prompt their permanent disconnection from the band, and without warning. ~ Tammy La Gorce, Rovi

The Best of Goldfinger Play

The year 2005 marks a decade of Goldfinger. As John Feldmann says in his entertaining liner essay, that's ten years of playing 2,000-plus shows, ten years of seeing bandmates naked too often, ten years of trying like crazy to just be entertaining. And The Best of Goldfinger is certainly that. Of course it kicks off with "Here in Your Bedroom," and as a ska-punk anthem and southern California jam, the cut still resonates. Alongside No Doubt's "Just a Girl" and Sublime's "What I Got," it's a relic from a summer that somehow seems much longer ago. The Best of Goldfinger's remainder highlights the band's Mojo and Jive output, adds a previously unreleased cut (the pop-punk 9/11 meditation "Innocent," co-written with Benji Madden), and tidies their soundtrack and tribute album appearances. "We've really only had one 'hit'," Feldmann says in the liners. "But I think we've got some other pretty cool songs." "Mabel"'s singsong chorus and "She's the bomb" punchline is a hoot, "Counting the Days" (from 2000's Stomping Ground) is a rowdy and pogoing primer for the Good Charlotte/A New Found Glory, etc. explosion of the early 21st century, and "Spokesman" is a solid enough, only slightly bitter rant against the plastic stars on MTV. The Best of Goldfinger also surveys the band's stock of punk-ified cover songs. Their take on the Cure's "Just Like Heaven" is a forgettable double-time skate-ramp shouter. But "99 Red Balloons" is brash, hyper, and totally great -- Feldmann even sings the last verse in German. It also summarizes Goldfinger's approach, which as The Best of Goldfinger shows, has always been to be loud, funny, and fun. The collection also included a DVD with videos and live material. ~ Johnny Loftus, Rovi
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