Nothing to Fear

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Nothing to Fear
Nothing To Fear Album Cover.jpg
Studio album by Oingo Boingo
Released June 22, 1982
Recorded November 1981-January 1982
Genre New wave, synth pop, experimental
Length 41:34
Label A&M
Producer Joe Chiccarelli and Oingo Boingo
Oingo Boingo chronology
Only a Lad
(1981)Only a Lad1981
Nothing to Fear
Good for Your Soul
(1983)Good for Your Soul1983
Singles from Nothing to Fear
  1. "Private Life"
    Released: June 1982
  2. "Grey Matter / Nothing to Fear"
    Released: 1982

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 produced by award-winning engineer Joe Chiccarelli.


The album possesses a louder and more guitar-driven style than the band's previous releases; the result of frontman Danny Elfman's desire to increase the diversity of the songs. He declared Nothing To Fear to be "far more 'Boingo'" than the band's debut album.[1] The songs feature an unorthodox range in instruments, such as electric bells, xylophones and synthesizers, some of which were designed and built by the band.

Initial vinyl pressings of the album contain an alternative 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.[2] The song's release was accompanied by a music video, directed by Danny Elfman's brother Richard Elfman (who founded The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo).


The album was received with high regional sales and airplay, selling 125,000 copies in its original run, despite continuous condemnation from critics.[3] 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."[4]

The band went on a successful tour following their new release, 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.[5]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written 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: 41:34


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