They Got Knocked Down, but They Got Up Again

Chumbawamba The Boy Bands Have Won CD

The Very Short List

It was just 11 years ago that the Leeds-based anarcho-punk band Chumbawamba was all the rage on the dance-club circuit with its hooky, eminently catchy — catchy, some might say, in the annoying, sticks-in-the-brain kind of way — “Tubthumping” (“I get knocked down, but I get up again”).

But instead of following the usual path of one-hit club-music wonders (what’s up Jamiroquai?), Chumbawamba has defied all expectation with its current and actually thought-provoking release The Boy Bands Have Won. While the 25 folk — folk! — tracks are an aural delight, featuring beautiful, intricate acoustic guitars, accordions, and trumpets (and nothing resembling thumping, repetitive dance music), the real joy here is in spotting the myriad cultural references in the socially conscious lyrics: W. H. Auden, Bertolt Brecht, Paris Hilton, Jayne Mansfield, Margaret Thatcher, Charles Darwin, various social networking sites, and more.

Sure, you may have danced the night away to “Tubthumping,” but now that you’ve grown up (or at least gotten older), you’ll be glad to know Chumbawamba has, too.

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