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Are you ‘happy’?

| Thursday, October 22, 2020

Mary O'Reilly | The Observer

To most people it’s spooky season, but to me, it’s Oingo Boingo season.

During the month of October, I listen to Oingo Boingo almost every day to get into the Halloween spirit. Not every song is necessarily “Halloweeny,” but their dark-humored spirit and mystic undertones get you in the spirit for this very festive holiday.

You may be thinking, “Here we go again, another article from Willoughby about Oingo Boingo,” but I assure you there is a reason for why I am writing about them today. If you are unfamiliar with Oingo Boingo, they were a new-wave band from Los Angeles formed by Danny Elfman in 1979. Originating from Eflman’s previous project, The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, the band produced new-wave, ska and punk-influenced music and preformed highly energized live shows for nearly 17 years. Most importantly, they were known for their annual Halloween shows which would go on for hours on end.

Since the band’s farewell in 1995, Elfman has been a film composer. He has composed, among numerous other scores, all of Tim Burton’s film scores, even serving as the singing voice of Jack Skellington in “A Nightmare Before Christmas.” However, Elfman has not produced any solo music since his solo album “So-Lo” in 1984 — and even that was technically an Oingo Boingo album.

On Oct. 1, Elfman hinted at the possibility of new music with a series of three unusual photos of himself, all captioned “What I did on my summer vacation … (very busy … stay tuned … ).” When I first saw these photos I was excited but I didn’t know what it meant; I remembered earlier this year Elfman posted a video of himself covering Oingo Boingo’s song “Running on a Treadmill,” and it made me wonder if this finally was the year of the Oingo Boing reunion.

Eleven days later, Elfman gave us a glimpse into what he has been working on. In another series of posts, we see Elfman and drummer Josh Freese jamming together on large drums, Freese making some noise on another set and finally Elfman sitting in the studio listening to the drumming audio with vocals chanting “happy.” The videographer asks Elfman, “Are you happy?” Elman, shaking his head, simply responds, “Yeah.” Each video points to the composer working on new music while fans are still left wondering what exactly he is up to.

Looking at the comments, I saw a fan write, “New album please god please more boingo,” and Elfman responded, “The world is a strange and curious place!” There is a big chance he will be using his old band’s name. Between the revisiting of an old Oingo Boingo song in April to now teasing his fans with potentially new music is something we need right now.

On Tuesday, Elfman posted another series of videos during a recording session with guitarist Nili Brosh. Like the previous posts with Freese, we are given an insight into this very mysterious recording process. The videos depict Brosh shredding on the guitar with Elfman joining her, but the muddled lyrics are hard to decipher. Nevertheless, we can presume this song will be entitled “happy” since we can hear it clearly in the first series of posts and Brosh’s comment, “Wait so … you’re telling me these sessions actually happened??? #happy.”

For Oingo Boingo fans or fans of Elfman’s film scores, this is a very exciting trail of events. It is currently a giant puzzle waiting to be solved, but it looks as though there is a serious chance of new music coming soon. Whether or not it is under the “Oingo Boingo” name or his own, we should be excited Elfman decided to revisit his roots and give us something to look forward to.

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About Willoughby Thom

i am the associate scene editor. if you didn't know already, my favorite band is Oingo Boingo.

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