Hitler Bad, Vandals Good (25th Anniversary Edition)
Hitler Bad, Vandals Good is the latest record from SoCal punk veterans, The Vandals, to receive a special anniversary reissue from Craft Recordings. Originally released in 1998, the 25th anniversary edition of the cult classic – featuring none other than Josh Freese, now of the Foo Fighters, on drums – is pressed with a striking blue and white splatter pattern for its first ever vinyl release.
With the opening track, “People That Are Going To Hell”, two things are immediately apparent. Firstly, from a songwriting, performance, and production point of view, Hitler Bad, Vandals Good captures the band at, arguably, their most refined. There is a polish to the record that coincides with the fact that the band was at their biggest surrounding the release of the album. At this point the band was seven albums deep into their career, and Hitler Bad, Vandals Good stands as one of their greatest creative performances a quarter of a century later. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, The Vandals were instrumental in setting up the massive pop punk wave that took over mainstream culture in the late ‘90s and early to mid 2000’s, yet, they remain largely, and unjustly, absent from discourse on the topic.
Despite the outer polish to the album, at their core, The Vandals remain the same group of loveable goofs who once named an album after diarrhea. There is a stupid sense of humor behind most of their lyrics that will leave you smiling and, at times, audibly laughing at both their audacity and ridiculousness. Musically, the band is as tight as ever, largely thanks to Freese’s relentless performance – and a drum tone that slaps hard. Highlights include “My Girlfriend’s Dead”, “If The Gov’t Could Read My Mind” (featuring No Doubt’s Adrian Young on bongos), “Euro-Barge”, and “Ok”.
Twenty-five years later, Hitler Bad, Vandals Good stands strong as the definitive statement from The Vandals. The album is a pop punk classic that should be regarded as such. In this regard, Craft Recordings’ reissue is a celebration of The Vandals and their seminal work.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: THE VANDALS – HITLER BAD, VANDALS GOOD (25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION)