Good for Your Soul

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Good for Your Soul
Good For Your Soul Album Art.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 26, 1983
RecordedJanuary 1983 – June 29, 1983
StudioBaby O Recorders and Crystal Industries
GenreNew wave, ska
ProducerRobert 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

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


Good For Your Soul featured an increased diversity in songwriting and instrumentation from previous Oingo Boingo records. The songs "Fill the Void" and "Nothing Bad Ever Happens" showcase the band's African and ska influences, as well as Elfman's change to a softer vocal style. The album's subject matter is also poetically darker than on previous releases, such as themes of the supernatural in "Dead or Alive" and the warped ballad "Pictures of You."[1]

Several pieces were recorded as demos but omitted from the final album, remaining officially unreleased. Two outtakes, "Lightning" and "Cool City," would be resurrected for their next album release, So-Lo, in 1984. 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, in a new orchestral arrangement. The instrumental track "Cry of the Vatos," named after drummer Johnny "Vatos" Hernandez, contains a back-masked message jokingly promoting Christianity to its listeners.

The music video accompanying "Nothing Bad Ever Happens" depicts the band performing on a paradise island; Elfman appears watching TV, unaware that his house is being robbed behind him, referencing the lyrics of the first verse. He finishes taking a bath, before the tub catches fire, and catches sight of guitarist Steve Bartek being carried down the street by a lynch mob, but decides to ignore. The video ends with Elfman serving the singing severed heads of the band's horn section to three upper class diners, who at first appear shocked, but proceed to eat regardless. The paradise island from the start of the video then appears to get hit by a nuclear bomb while the band continue playing.[2] Elfman said of the song and video in 1986, "It's about somebody who chooses to ignore his neighbors' problems and doesn't get involved - but it's really about getting involved... We can't live like ostriches."[3]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Danny Elfman.

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
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:41:42


Oingo Boingo

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 Jimmie Wood


  • The track "No Spill Blood" is inspired by the 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?[4]
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 totalitarian 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 to keep tabs on every single person in the country. ("Big Brother is watching you.")[5] A music video of the band performing the song was aired on January 1, 1984 on the show Good Morning, Mr. Orwell.[6]


  1. ^ [1] Archived July 7, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Island of Lost Souls". Retrieved 2012-02-18.
  5. ^ Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  6. ^ mv of "Wake Up (It's 1984)" from Good Morning, Mr. Orwell, aired on Jan 1, 1984 (posted to YouTube on Nov 13, 2016)