Oh! Calcutta! (The Lawrence Arms album)

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Oh! Calcutta!
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta! cover.jpg
Studio album by The Lawrence Arms
Released March 7, 2006
Recorded October–November 2005
Genre Punk rock
Length 33:54
Label Fat Wreck Chords
Producer Matt Allison & The Lawrence Arms
The Lawrence Arms chronology
Apathy and Exhaustion
(2002)Apathy and Exhaustion2002
Oh! Calcutta!
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars link
Punknews.org 4/5 stars link
Stylus Magazine ( B ) link

Oh! Calcutta! is the fifth full-length album by the Chicago punk rock band The Lawrence Arms, released in 2006 by Fat Wreck Chords. It is the band's third studio album to be released on Fat Wreck Chords. In comparison with their previous album The Greatest Story Ever Told, Oh! Calcutta! is considerably faster-paced and more aggressive. It also finds Chris McCaughan and Brendan Kelly sharing vocal duties in an almost duet style, while on previous albums the two had split most of the lead vocals between songs. Brendan Kelly has stated that this is his favorite Lawrence Arms album.

The album's title demonstrates the band's propensity to juxtapose the twin elements of "legitimate" literature and philosophy and American pop culture, referencing both the 1969 off-Broadway revue of the same name and a comment made by Mother Teresa that conditions in Chicago's south side depressed her more than the poverty of Calcutta. The title of the song "Are You There Margaret? It's Me, God" references the book Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume, while the title "Jumping the Shark" references a pop culture term describing an episode of Happy Days. "Requiem Revisited" borrows melodies from the Naked Raygun song, "Soldier's Requiem." The whispered lyrics in the beginning of it are taken from the Nomeansno song "Brother Rat." The title of "Lose Your Illusion 1" is a reference to the Guns 'n' Roses album Use Your Illusion I. The album contains a "hidden" track after the last song entitled "Warped Summer Extravaganza (Major Excellent)," a reference to the band's experiences on the Warped Tour. The downloadable iTunes version of the album also included an extra track entitled "The Rabbit and the Rooster" not found on the CD or LP versions.


In a style that parallels the band's previous album The Greatest Story Ever Told, the inside back cover of the liner notes bears a pair of quotations designed to illustrate the album's juxtaposition of "legitimate" literature and philosophy with American pop culture:

  • "As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport."

-from William Shakespeare's King Lear, Act IV, scene i

  • "Billy, you are dealing with the oddity of time travel with the greatest of ease."

-Alex Winter in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by The Lawrence Arms

  1. “The Devil’s Takin’ Names”–2:00
  2. “Cut It Up”–2:13
  3. “Great Lakes / Great Escapes”–2:49
  4. “Recovering the Opposable Thumb”–3:05
  5. “Beyond the Embarrassing Style”–2:24
  6. “Are You There Margaret? It’s Me, God.”–3:35
  7. “Jumping the Shark”–2:36
  8. “Lose Your Illusion 1”–2:59
  9. “Requiem Revisited”–2:07
  10. “Key to the City”–3:01
  11. “Old Dogs Never Die”–2:12
  12. “Like a Record Player” / ”Warped Summer Extravaganza (Major Excellent)”–4:51
  • The iTunes download of the album separates the latter into two tracks, and includes the bonus track “The Rabbit and the Rooster”.


Album information[edit]

  • Record label: Fat Wreck Chords
  • Recorded October - November 2005 analog onto 2-inch tape
  • All songs by the Lawrence Arms, copyright 2005 Florence Farms ASCAP
  • Engineered and mixed by Matt Allison
  • Produced by Matt Allison and the Lawrence Arms
  • Mastered by Colossal in Chicago, Illinois
  • Photos by Ben Pier
  • Art slapped together by Sergie
  • Layout by David Holtz