Should We Come Up With a Better Name For Third Wave Ska?
See also: Reel Big Fish and Streetlight Manifesto Rocked the Marquee Last Night
Reel Big Fish: Is "ska" the right word for what these guys do?
See also: Reel Big Fish's Marquee Gig Was Fantastic...If You Were Under 25
I won't beat around the bush: I don't really like the music of Reel Big Fish. I don't like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones either, and found No Doubt a giggly waste of my time. In fact, while as a music critic I respect these bands for what they are trying to accomplish and the fact that they all have ardent fan bases, I find these and most other the so-called "Third Wave Ska" bands belittling to the original ska concept.
Ska shouldn't even be part of the movement's name. "Horn punk" is more what I think of when these bands roll around with their aggressive styles. Look back to the genre's roots, and you'll find ska was never intended to be a brash, loud, and in-your-face music.
While tracks like Desmond Dekker's "Shanty Town" could be somewhat rowdy, most original ska (never call it first wave) was laidback and groovin' with a bubbly undercurrent. The horns might pop on occasion, but that was more a nod to rhythm and blues as accentuation, and never grandstanding. Generally the music was more subdued, and frequently instrumental. And the guitars typically existed not to lead and scream and provoke, but simply provide the riddim and set the pace.
Ska is a predecessor to reggae and originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. It was an integration of numerous musical styles: Native mento and bluebeat, and American idioms like rhythm and blues, swing jazz, and jump blues. This stylistic conglomeration, with plenty of tweaking, was manipulated into the island beat and brought an important change to shifting musical landscape, namely ska, dubbed such for the genre's founding fathers The Skatalites. The music adopted a happy, carefree style, avoiding (for the most part) politics for songs about love, romance and island life.
More of this: Less of this:So how did we come to this, these generally aggressive Third Wave Ska'ers? Blame it on the punks.