Nothing to Fear

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Nothing to Fear
Oingo Boingo-Nothing to Fear.jpg
Studio album by Oingo Boingo
Released June 22, 1982
Recorded November 1981-January 1982
Genre New wave, ska, experimental
Length 41:34
Label A&M
Producer Joe Chiccarelli and Oingo Boingo
Oingo Boingo chronology
Only a Lad
Nothing to Fear
Good for Your Soul
Singles from Nothing to Fear
  1. "Private Life"
    Released: June 1982
  2. "Grey Matter / Nothing to Fear"
    Released: 1982
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]

Nothing to Fear is the second album by Southern California band Oingo Boingo, released in 1982 on A&M Records. It was one of the first works to be produced by award-winning engineer Joe Chiccarelli.


The album possesses a noticeably louder and more abrasive tone than those of their previous releases; the result of frontman Danny Elfman's desire to increase the diversity of the songs. He later declared Nothing To Fear to be "far more 'Boingo'" than the band's debut album.[2] The songs feature an unorthodox range in instruments, such as electric bells, xylophones and synthesisers, some of which were designed and built by the band.

Initial vinyl pressings of the album contain a lesser known mix of the song "Private Life", featuring more prominent bass guitar and xylophone. The single version, which was subsequently used on all re-releases of the album, is also shorter by approximately 27 seconds, since it shortens the transition into the chorus among other alterations.[3] The song's release was accompanied with a music video, directed by Danny Elfman's brother Richard Elfman (who was also a founding member of the group).


The album was received with high regional sales and airplay, selling 125,000 copies in its original run, despite continuous condemnation from critics.[4] Elfman often used this negativity to the band's advantage through publicity, stating: "The music [the critics] like is inspirationless and contrived. If we start getting praise from this clique of six or eight reviewers, we'd probably have to evaluate where we went astray."[5]

The band went on a successful tour following their new release, even opening for bands such as The Police and Fear on occasion. The song "Wild Sex (In the Working Class)" was later featured in the John Hughes film Sixteen Candles.[6]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Danny Elfman. 

No. Title Length
1. "Grey Matter"   5:50
2. "Insects"   3:02
3. "Private Life" (3:45 on earliest pressings) 3:18
4. "Wild Sex (in the Working Class)"   4:06
5. "Running on a Treadmill"   3:20
6. "Whole Day Off"   3:54
7. "Nothing to Fear (But Fear Itself)"   3:52
8. "Why'd We Come"   3:57
9. "Islands"   4:40
10. "Reptiles and Samurai"   5:23
Total length:


Oingo Boingo
  • Danny Elfman - lead vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Steve Bartek - lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Richard Gibbs - keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals
  • Kerry Hatch - bass, key rhythm vocals
  • Johnny "Vatos" Hernandez - drums, percussion
  • Sam "Sluggo" Phipps- tenor and soprano saxophone
  • Leon Schneiderman - baritone and alto saxophone
  • Dale Turner - trumpet, trombone
  • The inner sleeve notes from Nothing to Fear state: "All the boys bang things: Rumba-phones, original instruments designed and built by Leon Schneiderman."


  • Steve Bartek - Horn arrangements
  • Joe Chiccarelli - Engineer
  • Krohn McHenry - Second recording engineer
  • Mitch Gibson - Second mixing engineer
  • Jules Bates (Artrouble) - Back cover and sleeve, Art Direction
  • Laura Engel - Production Assistant
  • Georganne Deen - Front cover