The Ink Spots - The Very Best of the Ink Spots
Published (various) 1939-1952
So, to get this part out of the way. I first learned about the Ink Spots because of a video game. The game is called Fallout, and it is one of the finest post apocalyptic worlds that has ever been created. The premise is that shortly after WWII there was a major nuclear incident which was only survived by mutants on the surface and people who lived in Vaults. This alternate history continued using what was popular culture around the time of the incident and the juxtaposition of the destroyed world and the old music is actually quite effective.
Over the opening credits of fallout 1, 2 and 3 an Ink Spots song plays. Each one of them was moving and beautiful. So, I did some searching and found their compilation album. Now the question should be asked, do greatest hits albums fit the structure of the project?
Probably not, but I have some shit to say about it anyway.
The compilation is both the easiest album in the world and the most likely to go completely off the rails. Here is why: given that you are able to solely pick from your greatest hits, you should be able to construct an album that hits every high note from your career. However it is in no way guaranteed that the nuance of the song will hold up in the new context. For instance, maybe your second hit doesn't hold a candle to your first, and that quickly becomes apparent when you hear them back to back. Or maybe the reason that song was so well received was because of the prevailing musical attitude at the time, and your gimmick no longer works.
Whatever the reason, it is difficult in this context to make your music heard as if both new and interesting. A potential album project and excellent effort is the Rolling Stones, who's 40 licks gives an excellent picture of the band and their development (or lack thereof, if you talk to some) is fully on display.
The Ink Spots get off easy in this case. I mean, I couldn't even find one of their records if I tried, and when I say record I mean record. I have no context for these songs other than the context on this disc and my personal emotional stake in the few songs I knew going in. I'm happy to report though, that the music is spectacular and will make you enjoy the retro nature. These songs, some of which are covers, are, to a song, done well. They are toe tapping, finger snapping good. They are fun, funny upbeat and even romantic.
What you must remember going into this album is that there was once a time when it was considered inappropriate to tell a woman " you're a crazy bitch, but you fuck so good I'm on top of it". I know, shocking right? There was once a time in America when the first thing out of a singers mouth was not "shake that ass". This was an ancient time when men could say things that may have even approached respect toward a woman without fear of public castration or Justin Beiber comparisons.
This innocence is the source of two things. 1. Grandpa-itis, which makes older men say things like you damn kids don't know what you're doing and get the he'll off my lawn, and 2. Me liking this album. What can insay, I'm a romantic at heart, and hearing "I don't want to set the world on fire, I just want to start a flame in yur heart" pulls a cheap and easy tab on my heart. It's so silly and easy that it seems corny, until you realize how good they are.
The harmonies are on like a large barrel throwing primate. The music, while simple, makes it's presence felt, and gets out of the way. The singing and speaking are very good, and it's all around a great album. However, it should absolutely be optional.
In some songs, it is just too silly for words. Sometimes they get carried away, and some people will just think it's corny crap. However, if Maybe and I don't want to set the world on fire have some effect on you, you should get your heart checked out, tin man.
Nobody to thank this week, so thank you Fallout teams past and present, and the Ink Spots.
How you ever hear yourself thinking with all that sloshing around amazes me, meatbag.
PS - Arctic Monkeys are up next.