The Bouncing Souls - Ghosts on the Boardwalk
Record Label: Chunksaah Records
Release Date: January 12, 2010
Last year, to celebrate New Jersey's favorite punk rock band's 20th anniversary, The Bouncing Souls self-released one song per month on their own label to mixed thoughts. Some people (myself included) loved the idea of spreading out an album's worth of material over a 12 month calendar year while others hated the idea for whatever reason (was the $.99 price too much?). Now that 2009 is in the books, the band is releasing all 12 songs on a physical CD and calling it Ghosts on the Boardwalk (which also happens to be the title of one of the new songs). Throughout the 12 tracks on Ghosts, there are songs of joy ("We All Sing Along"), songs of love ("I Think That the World"), songs of life ("Gasoline"), and a song that sounds like it was left on the cutting room floor while recording their 1997 self-titled album ("Badass").
"Gasoline", the opening track, sets the tone for the rest of what's ahead while "Never Say Die/When You're Young" picks up the pace and reminds us why we still love The Bouncing Souls after 21 years. From lyrics such as "slavery is still alive" (from "Gasoline") to "All of the past, it can't be wrong. Let's let it go, and move along" (from "The Mental Bits"), Greg is up to what he does best, writing/singing lyrics from the heart about life in general, life as a whole. "Ghosts on the Boardwalk" is the album's ace in the hole; it's an amazing track that will be a lot of fans' favorite new song for years to come. It made a lot of sense that they released this in the middle of last summer because it's a perfect summertime song about a beach (all signs point to Asbury Park) where all is forgotten and the moment is cherished. The melody is beautiful and the song as a whole is amazing.
Songs like "Big Eyes" and "Boogie Woogie Downtown" are pretty simple, but it's the sound of The Souls that make them great; no other band would honestly be able to pull songs like these off and not be boring for the listener. When I hear songs like them, I'm reminded instantly of simple songs like "The Pizza Song" (off of 2006's The Gold Record) and "The Whole Thing" (off of 1999's Hopeless Romantic) to name a couple. "Airport Security" is sort of a political-driven lullaby that features a catchy chorus you'll be humming in your head for weeks.
The album's closing track, "Like the Sun", is the calm after the storm. It's a memorable song that's also a fitting closer for the album. I'm a fan of little things, like most of us here, and I really love how the song closes the album, with Greg repeating "shine on" as the song fades out. The final track listing is not in the order of when the songs were released last year, but after listening to the album in it's new order, I strongly prefer the new track list, as the songs just fit together much much better.
In closing, Ghosts on the Boardwalk is another gem from The Bouncing Souls. It's an album about celebration and dedication. It's something that once you press play, it's going to take you away from all that's wrong and deliver something that packs a powerful punch. If everyone listened to The Bouncing Souls, the world would be a much better place, but until that moment happens, "here's to the memories".