Good for Your Soul

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Good for Your Soul
Oingo Boingo-Good for Your Soul.jpg
Studio album by Oingo Boingo
Released July 26, 1983
Recorded Baby O Recorders and Crystal Industries, January 1983 - June 29, 1983
Genre New wave, Ska
Length 41:42
Label A&M
Producer Robert Margouleff
Oingo Boingo chronology
Nothing to Fear
Good for Your Soul
Singles from Good for Your Soul
  1. "Wake Up (It's 1984)"
    Released: July 1983
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]

Good for Your Soul is the third album by Oingo Boingo, released in 1983. It was the band's last album to be released on A&M Records. It was produced by Robert Margouleff. The record continues the unorthodox arrangements that the band had become known for, while moving in a softer direction than their previous work.


Frontman Danny Elfman had become tired of fans' and critics' expectations that he consistently write high energy, fast-paced songs, as well as his frequent use of falsetto in his singing, and therefore decided to bring a new level of diversity to the songwriting of the album. The songs "Fill the Void" and "Nothing Bad Ever Happens" are particularly significant for showcasing the band's African and ska influences and well as Elfman's change in vocal style. The subject matter of the lyrics is also darker in Good For Your Soul than on previous releases, such as themes of the supernatural in "Dead or Alive" and the warped love ballad "Pictures of You".[2]

Several pieces were recorded as demos but omitted from the final track listing and remain officially unreleased, including "All the Pieces," "Waiting for You," "I Can't Pretend" and "Freak Show." One outtake, "Lightning," was resurrected for Danny Elfman's So-Lo. The song "Lost Like This" was also written and recorded during these sessions, but did not surface until many years later on the 1994 album Boingo with a new orchestral arrangement. The brief instrumental track "Cry of the Vatos," named after drummer Johnny "Vatos" Hernandez, contains a back-masked message jokingly promoting Christianity to its listeners.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Danny Elfman. 

No. Title Length
1. "Who Do You Want to Be"   3:31
2. "Good for Your Soul"   3:16
3. "No Spill Blood"   3:42
4. "Cry of the Vatos"   2:21
5. "Fill the Void"   3:42
6. "Sweat"   4:31
7. "Nothing Bad Ever Happens"   3:45
8. "Wake Up (It's 1984)"   4:44
9. "Dead or Alive"   4:04
10. "Pictures of You"   4:03
11. "Little Guns"   3:42
Total length:


Oingo Boingo
  • Danny Elfman - lead vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Steve Bartek - lead guitar
  • Kerry Hatch - bass guitar, bass synthesizer
  • Johnny "Vatos" Hernandez - drums
  • Richard Gibbs - keyboards
  • Sam "Sluggo" Phipps - lead tenor, clarinet
  • Leon Schneiderman - alto saxophone, baritone saxophone
  • Dale Turner - trumpet, trombone

The liner notes from Good For Your Soul also state:

Original Instruments: Leon Schneiderman
Horn Arrangements: Steve Bartek
All Horn Solos by Sluggo and Dale
Additional horns on "Vatos," "Dead or Alive" and "Wake Up" by Miles Anderson and Mario Guarneri
Harmonica on "Sweat" by Jimmy Wood


  • The track "No Spill Blood" is based on H. G. Wells' novel The Island of Dr. Moreau, and appears to directly quote Erle C. Kenton's 1932 film adaption of this novel, Island of Lost Souls. In this story, the mad scientist Dr. Moreau performed operations on wild beasts in order to make them more human and able to undertake menial tasks. When the beasts acted in an inappropriate manner, Dr. Moreau would crack his whip and challenge the beasts. In the film, this takes the form of a litany:
Dr. Moreau: What is the law?
Sayer of the Law: Not to eat meat, that is the law. Are we not men?
Beasts (in unison): Are we not men?
Dr. Moreau: What is the law?
Sayer of the Law: Not to go on all fours, that is the law. Are we not men?
Beasts (in unison): Are we not men?
Dr. Moreau: What is the law?
Sayer of the Law: Not to spill blood, that is the law. Are we not men?
Beasts (in unison): Are we not men?[3]
The repeated "Are we not men?" in this passage was also the source of Devo's song "Jocko Homo".
  • "Wake Up (It's 1984)" is based on the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four in which the entire world is controlled by three separate socialist super-states who are constantly at war with each other. The main plot follows one man joining a rebellion against a pseudo-futuristic socialist England. The government is referred to as "Big Brother" and through an extensive spy network as well as subliminal indoctrination manage keep tabs on every single person in the country. "Big Brother is watching you[4]"


  1. ^ Good for Your Soul at AllMusic
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Island of Lost Souls". Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
  4. ^ Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four.