Charge!!

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Charge!!
Studio album by The Aquabats
Released June 7, 2005 (2005-06-07)
Recorded 2005
Genre Rock, new wave, synthpop
Length 38:32
Label Nitro Records
Producer Cameron Webb
The Aquabats chronology
Yo! Check Out This Ride! EP
(2004)
Charge!!
(2005)
Radio Down!
(2010)
Alternate cover
Special One-Year Anniversary Edition cover
Singles from Charge!!
  1. "Fashion Zombies!"
    Released: April 1, 2005

Charge!! is the fourth studio album by American comedy rock band The Aquabats, released on June 7, 2005 by Nitro Records.

Following a nearly six year semi-hiatus which resulted in numerous line-up changes, Charge!! was The Aquabats' first studio album to showcase the band's radical shift in sound, featuring a reduced five-member line-up and a reinvented musical style of new wave-influenced rock and punk music. Released to largely positive reviews and several successful international tours, Charge!! effectively revitalized The Aquabats' then-stalling career into the new century.

Overview[edit]

Following their dismissal from Goldenvoice Records in 2000, The Aquabats entered a lengthy period of relative inactivity, bringing much of their touring and recording plans to a standstill and resulting in the eventual departure of several of the band's key members, including the loss of their once prominent horn section. In 2004, The Aquabats independently released the EP Yo! Check Out This Ride! in an attempt to generate label interest, successfully signing to Nitro Records later in the year and commencing work on a new studio album in the fall.[1][2] Despite this fortuitous turn of events, the band were still uncertain of their future following their semi-hiatus and radical shift in line-up. Singer Christian Jacobs (The MC Bat Commander) later commented that the band thought Charge! would possibly be their final album together.[3]

While the lyricism of Charge!! continues in the typical Aquabats tradition of comedic self-referential narratives and pop culture and geek culture-oriented satire, the music introduced a bold new sound for the band, featuring a predominant focus on guitar and keyboard-driven rock, punk and Devo-influenced new wave rather than the ska-driven eclecticism of their earlier albums. Notably, Charge!! was the first Aquabats studio album not to feature brass instruments, indeed one of the most remarked upon aspects of the album by reviewers; in a 2006 interview, Jacobs stated that the band attempted to write a saxophone solo into one of the album's songs but ultimately felt it sounded too out of place.[4]

Charge! would be the final Aquabats album to feature longtime guitarist Corey Pollock (Chainsaw) as an official member, as he would eventually leave the band in 2006 as a result of their increased touring activity interfering with his day job. However, until The Aquabats! Super Show! solidified The Aquabats' image as a five-piece unit in 2012, Pollock continued to perform with the band as a second guitarist at their California shows and contributed guitar tracks to their subsequent studio material.

Release and promotion[edit]

After months of online hype, The Aquabats officially announced Charge!! on their website on April 1, 2005, unveiling the album's title, artwork, track listing, release date and corresponding tour, all of which had been kept secret until then.[5] The band also released a free digital download of Charge!!'s lead single, "Fashion Zombies!", offering a contest that whoever could get their local radio station to play the song would win an all expenses paid dinner with The Aquabats.[6] The prize was claimed after a fan got the song airtime on Los Angeles' KROQ-FM and was taken to a T.G.I. Friday's.[7]

Although the album was leaked through peer-to-peer file sharing for nearly a month prior to its official release, Charge!! charted modestly upon release, reaching #21 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers.[8] Copies of the album were packaged with Aquabats trading cards featuring pictures of the band and song lyrics. Although the cards were produced in sets of thirteen, each CD came with only two, with an insert humorously instructing fans to buy more CDs in order to collect them all.

In promotion of the album, a music video for "Fashion Zombies!" was shot during the summer of 2005 and released online on July 12, 2005, and on September 23, 2005, The Aquabats made their debut appearance on national television on the G4 program Attack of the Show, performing "Fashion Zombies!" and "Nerd Alert!".[9]

Touring[edit]

On June 11, 2005, mere days after the release of Charge!!, The Aquabats embarked on a well-promoted twelve-week tour of the US entitled the Teenage Pajamas From Outer Space Tour, supported by New Wave band The Epoxies and rockabilly group The Phenomenauts.[10] The tour proved successful, selling out several of its dates and effectively helping revitalize The Aquabats' career, leading to subsequent tours throughout the United States, as well as touring Japan opening for The Offspring and touring the United Kingdom as part of the 2005 Good to Go Tour.[11] In May 2006, following the release of Charge!!'s "Special One Year Anniversary Edition", The Aquabats carried out another headlining US tour, the eleven-week This Better Work Or We Are Dead Tour, with Streetlight Manifesto and No Trigger supporting the West Coast engagements and Whole Wheat Bread and The Aggrolites supporting the East Coast.[12] In January 2007, the band announced they were finally wrapping up their touring to start work on a new studio album, performing their "last" show at The Glass House club in Pomona on January 27, where they played Charge!! in its entirety.[13]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[14]
IGN 7.9/10[15]
PopMatters 6/10[16]
Punknews.org 4/5 stars[17]

Critical reaction to Charge!! was generally positive, with many reviewers praising The Aquabats' transition in genre. Johnny Loftus of Allmusic gave the album four stars out of five, remarking that the band had "refocused its musical and ideological attack" during the six years since their previous studio album: "Intact are the pop references, zany in-jokes, and Batman villain fetishism...But Charge!! is much more rewarding musically. It doesn't loiter awkwardly between punk, pop, ska, and broad humor — it keeps the pressure on with a catchy guitar- and keyboard-driven blend of anthemic choruses and appropriately squawky elements."[14] A review on IGN also complimented this shift in style, writing "The neo-new-wave result is superbly effective, especially considering the band's campy, Saturday-morning-cartoon feel."[15]

Tim O'Neil of PopMatters also commented on the band's change of sound, writing that "The Aquabats' current strategic manifesto bears a strong resemblance to some of No Doubt's great late-period tactical accomplishments, especially on portions pertaining to the plague of 'Fashion Zombies!' and the propaganda manifesto 'Look at Me, I’m a Winner!'. Ironically, considering their near wholesale abandonment of the [ska] strategy, the greatest victory on Charge!! comes on the only battle to utilize the almost totally discredited Ska Force to full effect, the ebullient 'Waterslides!'"[16] Jesse Raub of Punknews.org, though giving the album a four out of a possible five stars, lamented the album's lack of ska music but ultimately praised The Aquabats' humor, noting " I guess as long as the Aquabats are around, I won't be able to escape their siren song of goofiness. Strictly for the music, this album has the catchiest damn hooks I've heard in a long time. It's poppy as hell, and it definitely shows the progression of the band. You really are going to be missing out on a lot if you let this pass by you".[17]

Special One-Year Anniversary Edition[edit]

In June 2006, The Aquabats released a tongue-in-cheek "One-Year Anniversary" re-issue of Charge!!, featuring three previously unreleased bonus tracks from the original recording sessions, a DVD and brand new album art by artist Brandon Bird. Printed in a limited run, the anniversary re-issue was made available only through The Aquabats' website and live shows.

DVD contents[edit]

  • "How About Charge!!??", a 45-minute documentary on the making of the album, featuring a track-by-track commentary by The Aquabats.
  • "Fashion Zombies!" music video, with optional audio commentary by The Aquabats and producer Justin Lyon.
  • "Behind the Scenesters", behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the "Fashion Zombies!" music video.
  • "Charge!! Photoshoot", behind-the-scenes footage of the album cover photo shoot.
  • Charge!! web teasers, a collection of in-studio teaser trailers promoting the album.
  • Trading card photo gallery

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by The Aquabats.

No. Title Length
1. "Now, Stand Back for Your Own Safety!"   0:06
2. "Fashion Zombies!"   3:16
3. "Stuck in a Movie!"   2:48
4. "Tiger Rider vs. the Time Sprinkler!"   2:25
5. "Nerd Alert!"   3:14
6. "Plastic Lips!"   2:42
7. "Look at Me (I'm a Winner)!"   3:35
8. "Hot Summer Nights (Won't Last Forever)!"   3:49
9. "Meltdown!"   3:38
10. "Mechanical Ape!"   3:06
11. "Demolition Rickshaw!"   3:14
12. "Waterslides!"   3:48
13. "Awesome Forces!"   2:51
Special One-Year Anniversary Edition
No. Title Length
14. "Cheeseburger Politics!"   2:45
15. "Video Nite!"   2:56
16. "Hi-Five City!"   2:48

Charts[edit]

Year Chart Position
2005 Heatseekers 21
2005 Independent Albums 30

Personnel[edit]

The Aquabats[edit]

Production[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nitro Records signs The Aquabats". Punknews.org. July 4, 2004. 
  2. ^ "The Aquabats: Interview". Mish Mash Magazine. July 28, 2005. 
  3. ^ "The Aquabats - Comic-Con 2011". The Hub. July 2011. 
  4. ^ Jacobs, Christian (2006). "Let's Talk About 'Charge!!' - "Horns?!?"". Charge!! One Year Anniversary DVD. 
  5. ^ "News Update - FINALLY!". www.theaquabats.com. April 1, 2005. 
  6. ^ "LESS THAN A WEEK UNTIL CHARGE!!". www.theaquabats.com. June 1, 2005. 
  7. ^ "CHARGE!! OF THE AQUABATS!". www.theaquabats.com. June 9, 2005. 
  8. ^ "Charge!! > Charts & Awards". Allmusic. 
  9. ^ "Attack of the Show episode guide - September 23, 2005". G4.com. 
  10. ^ "Aquabats, Epoxies and Phenomenauts touring". Punknews.org. March 25, 2005. 
  11. ^ "TheAquabats.com news update". theaquabats.com. July 28, 2005. 
  12. ^ "Aquabats to re-release "Charge!!," add more tour dates". Punknews.org. March 26, 2006. 
  13. ^ "Aquabats announce "last" show before they "go underground"". Punknews.org. January 10, 2007. 
  14. ^ a b Loftus, Johnny. "Review: Charge!!". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  15. ^ a b "Review: The Aquabats – Charge!!". IGN. 2005-08-11. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  16. ^ a b O'Neil, Tim (2005-07-22). "Review: The Aquabats!: Charge!!". PopMatters. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  17. ^ a b Raub, Jesse (2005-06-21). "Review: Charge!!". Punknews.org. Retrieved 2011-06-16.