Boingo (album)

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Boingo Cover Art.jpg
Studio album by Oingo Boingo
Released May 17, 1994
Recorded January 1994
Genre Alternative rock, progressive pop[citation needed]
Length 76:45
Label Giant Records
Producer Danny Elfman, Steve Bartek, John Avila
Oingo Boingo chronology
Best O' Boingo
Singles from Boingo
  1. "Hey!"
    Released: April 1994
  2. "Insanity"
    Released: 1994

Boingo is the eighth and final studio album by American new wave band Oingo Boingo. It was the band's only album recorded for their new label, Giant Records, as well as the band's only album to be released under their new identity, "Boingo."


Frontman Danny Elfman, whose career as a film score composer was by that time fully formed, decided to completely overhaul Oingo Boingo with a new alternative rock style and line-up. By 1990's Dark at the End of the Tunnel, Elfman had felt he was "starting to get bored" with the band's musical direction and that a change was necessary to stay active.[1] The instrumentation on Boingo is a dramatic departure from all previous work by the band, making liberal use of both acoustic and electric guitars and dispensing with the band's trademark synthesizers and horn arrangements. Orchestral arrangements make appearances on several tracks, orchestrated and conducted by lead guitarist and long-time arranger, Steve Bartek. Opening track "Insanity" is based on a recurring orchestral motif composed by Bernard Herrmann for the Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo.[2] In another departure from the band's familiar style, Boingo features several ballads, such as "Can't See (Useless)" and "Mary."

Danny Elfman cited The Beatles as a key influence on his songwriting at the time, paying homage with a cover of their song "I Am the Walrus."[3]


Recording for Boingo commenced in February of 1993 but was postponed when Elfman was commissioned to score The Nightmare Before Christmas with his long-time collaborator Tim Burton. Upon returning to the project, the band became unsatisfied with much of their recorded progress and began to collectively improvise in the studio, a technique they had never used previously.[4] This spontaneity yielded much longer songs than usual for the band, with the majority of the eleven tracks being over five minutes in length. Ultimately, so much material was recorded that several significant pieces, including "Water" and "Vultures," were cut from the final tracklist.[5] Notably, the song "Lost Like This," which was originally demo-recorded in 1983 for the album Good for Your Soul, resurfaced during the Boingo sessions in a different arrangement.

Upon its release, Elfman said the Boingo album was "the most challenging, fun, and difficult record we've ever done. It felt like a cold bucket of water splashed in our faces," and that he "expected" long term fans might be put off by the new sound.[6]


The band's new label, Giant Records, wanted to heavily promote the album as a relaunch of the band, in order to find success across the USA. The songs "Hey!" and "Insanity" were released as singles, with an accompanying sinister, stop-motion music video for the latter.[7] Giant also hoped to produce an MTV music video for the single "Hey!", which never came to fruition.[8] "Hey!" peaked at #23 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart in July of 1994.[9]

A limited edition package of the album, designed by Deborah Norcross, was issued in a foldout digipak, packaged with an embossed hardcover booklet containing lyrics and additional photography by Anthony Artiaga and Melodie McDaniel.[10] A special edition was also released in Europe[11] and Australia[12], featuring an additional song, "Helpless," which had previously only appeared as the B-side to the "Insanity" CD single. The American and Indonesian cassette versions of the album also included "Helpless" as its final track.[13][14] Boingo was the first Oingo Boingo album without a vinyl release.

After the album's release in 1994, the band made numerous television appearances sporting new 'skater' looks, with long unkempt hair and loose T-shirts, in contrast to their previous eclectically-suited appearances throughout the 1980s.[15] Despite all efforts to re-establish their image, Oingo Boingo announced their decision to disband in 1995, thus making Boingo the only studio album produced by this incarnation of the band.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Danny Elfman, except for "I Am the Walrus," by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

4."Can't See (Useless)"4:35
5."Pedestrian Wolves"9:21
6."Lost Like This"4:54
8."War Again"5:53
9."I Am the Walrus"4:09
10."Tender Lumplings"0:37
Total length:76:45
Bonus track
12."Helpless" (Exclusive to US/AUS cassette and EU/IDN CD releases)3:36


Oingo Boingo[edit]

Additional Personnel[edit]

  • Carl, Cameron and Taylor Graves, Maxine and Julia Waters: Vocal Backing
  • Orchestra Concertmaster: Bruce Dukov (arranged by Danny Elfman; conducted by Steve Bartek; contracted by Patti Zimitti)
  • Solo Cello: Fred Seykora


  • Produced by Danny Elfman, Steve Bartek and John Avila
  • Recorded by Bill Jackson; Second Engineers: Mike Piersante and Marty Horenburg; additional recording by Michael Barbiero
  • Orchestra recorded by Shawn Murphy
  • Mixed by Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero; assisted by Mike Baumgartner and Chad Munsey
  • Mastered by George Marino
  • All songs published by Little Maestro Music, except track 9, published by Northern Music/ATV Music/April Music.


  1. ^ Poggi, Alison (July 1994). "The Elfman Cometh". SLAMM, San Diego's Lifestyle and Music Magazine via Flickr. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-02. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-03. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2016-11-29. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-02. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2016-11-29. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-02. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Boingo Limited-Edition Special Compact Disk Package". AIGA Design Archives. Archived from the original on 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-17. Retrieved 2016-11-29.