Boingo (album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedMay 17, 1994
RecordedFebruary 1993–January 1994
GenreAlternative rock
ProducerDanny 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 only album to be released by the band's 1994–95 line-up.


After 1990's Dark at the End of the Tunnel, frontman Danny Elfman felt he was again "starting to get bored" with the band's musical direction and that a change was necessary to stay active.[2] In 1994, he decided to reshuffle the band's line-up without a horn section or keyboards and add second guitarist Warren Fitzgerald. However, horn players Sam Phipps, Leon Schneiderman and Dale Turner, as well as keyboardist Marc Mann, are credited in the album's liner notes.[3]

Boingo was a dramatic departure from the band's previous album releases, featuring an emphasis on guitar-heavy alternative rock and elements of progressive rock and funk, as well as longer song structures and orchestral flourishes.[4][5][6] Orchestral arrangements were devised and conducted by lead guitarist and arranger Steve Bartek.[3]


Recording for Boingo commenced in February 1993 prior to the change of line-up, but was postponed when Elfman was commissioned to score Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.[7] Elfman claimed that much of the earlier recordings were abandoned, although the since-departed members were credited on the final release.[2][3]

The album was the first time the band had improvised some material in the studio, most notably "Pedestrian Wolves" and the long instrumental passage to "Change".[7] The cover of the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus" was purportedly a jam recorded in one take, simply "to use up the rest of the [tape] reel", but was included on the album as an afterthought.[2]

A number of songs recorded between 1993 and 1994 went unreleased, including "Water" and "Vultures".[2][8] "Lost Like This" had originally been written and demo-recorded in 1983 for the album Good for Your Soul before resurfacing live in 1993 with a new arrangement.

Upon its release, Elfman stated that Boingo 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.[9]


Giant Records wanted to heavily promote the album as a relaunch of the band. The songs "Hey!" and "Insanity" were released as singles, with an accompanying sinister, stop-motion music video for the latter.[10] Giant also hoped to produce a music video for the single "Hey!", but it never came to fruition.[9] "Hey!" peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart in July 1994.[11]

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.[12] The European and Australian CD editions, as well as the American and Indonesian cassette versions, featured an additional song, "Helpless", which had previously only appeared as the B-side of the "Insanity" CD single.

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.[13] Despite the recent reshuffle, Oingo Boingo announced their decision to disband in 1995, making Boingo the only studio album produced by this line-up.

Boingo was not issued on vinyl until 2023, when Music on Vinyl released a limited 180 gram colored LP edition via Record Store Day on February 24,[14] followed by a black LP edition on May 5.[15]


Mark Jenkins of The Washington Post observed that the band had "found a more comfortable niche: bombastic early-'70s-style prog-rock", and while he praised several of the songs' "appealing melodic moments", he ultimately concluded that the band was "too busy showing off to let them be."[4] Steve Hochman of Los Angeles Times felt the album was the group's best since the early '80s, praising Elfman's "more down-to-earth presence" and the band's new "pared-down, guitar-rock attack."[5]

In retrospective reviews, Peter Fawthrop of AllMusic bemoaned the absence of "the plucky instrumentals on past efforts", concluding that the band had "made an unquestionable, 100 percent crossover into grim alternative." Fawthrop also praised the cassette-only "Helpless" as the stand-out track, noting Elfman's "Jack Skellington-mode" vocals, and felt the song "nearly parodies the grieving found on the rest of the album."[6] Sputnikmusic called the album "one of their most experimental releases ... strongly influenced by the uprising of alternative rock", adding that it was "the perfect antidote to the hordes of humorless suburbanites that have been dominating the airwaves lately, a dark album with effective humorous undertones."[16]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are 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:73:03
Bonus track
12."Helpless" (Exclusive to US/IDN cassette and EU/AUS CD releases)3:36
Total length:76:39


Oingo Boingo

Additional personnel

  • Rich Sumner – additional percussion
  • Katurah Clarke – additional percussion
  • Carl Graves – backing vocals ("Lost Like This")
  • Cameron Graves – backing vocals ("Insanity")
  • Taylor Graves – backing vocals ("Insanity")
  • Maxine Waters – backing vocals ("Pedestrian Wolves")
  • Julia Waters – backing vocals ("Pedestrian Wolves")
  • Fred Seykora – solo cello ("Mary")


  • Danny Elfman – co-producer, orchestral arrangements
  • Steve Bartek – co-producer, orchestral conductor, orchestrator
  • John Avila – co-producer
  • Shawn Murphey – orchestral engineer
  • Bruce Dukov – orchestral concertmaster
  • Patti Zimitti – orchestral contractor
  • Bill Jackson – engineer
  • Mike Piersante – second engineer
  • Marty Horenburg – second engineer
  • Steve Thompson – co-mixer
  • Michael Barbiero – co-mixer, additional recording
  • Mike Baumgartner – second engineer (mixing)
  • Chad Munsey – second engineer (mixing)
  • Jimmy "King" Amson – studio tech
  • Tim Durfey – studio tech
  • Nick Jeen – studio tech
  • Bruce Jacoby – studio tech
  • Matt Luneau – studio tech (Drum Doctors)
  • George Marino – mastering
  • Deborah Norcross – art direction, design
  • Anthony Artiaga – photography
  • Melodie McDaniel – band photos
  • Mike Diehl – ideoque typeface design


  1. ^ "Oingo Boingo - Boingo". AllMusic. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d Poggi, Alison (July 1994). "The Elfman Cometh". SLAMM, San Diego's Lifestyle and Music Magazine via Flickr. Retrieved 2017-07-05.
  3. ^ a b c Boingo (CD liner notes). Burbank, California: Giant Records. 1994. p. 1. 9 24555-2.
  4. ^ a b Jenkins, Mark (September 16, 1994). "DANNY ELFMAN'S OVERBLOWN 'BOINGO'". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 17, 2023.
  5. ^ a b Hochman, Steve (May 15, 1994). "ALBUM REVIEW (***):BOINGO, "Boingo" (Giant)". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 17, 2023.
  6. ^ a b Fawthrop, Peter. "Boingo, Oingo Boingo - Boingo Album Reviews, Songs & More". AllMusic. Retrieved November 17, 2023.
  7. ^ a b Snyder, Michael (June 12, 1994). "Q and A with Danny Elfman". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on April 3, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  8. ^ "Vultures - Boingo - YouTube". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  9. ^ a b "Billboard article". Archived from the original on 2016-04-02. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  10. ^ "Insanity (Music Video) - Oingo Boingo - YouTube". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  11. ^ "Oingo Boingo". Billboard.
  12. ^ "Boingo Limited-Edition Special Compact Disk Package". AIGA Design Archives. Archived from the original on 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
  13. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2016-04-17. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  14. ^ "Boingo - Boingo [Colored Vinyl] [Limited Edition] [180 Gram] (Smok) (Hol)". Record Store Day. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  15. ^ "BOINGO - BOINGO - Music On Vinyl". Music on Vinyl. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  16. ^ oingyboingy7 (August 25, 2008). "Oingo Boingo - Boingo (album review)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved November 17, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)