Out Now: Danny Elfman Adds to His Legacy with the Truly Unique ‘Big Mess’ (Listen)


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Rock Cellar Magazine
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Don’t let the words repeated in increasingly unsettling ways on “Sorry” fool you — Danny Elfman isn’t sorry.

The renowned composer/songwriter/music icon returned today, June 11, with Big Mess, his first proper solo album in 37 years, and it’s a challenging listen … by design.

“I knew from the start that this wasn’t going to be a neat, easy-to-categorize record,” said Elfman of this project. “It was always destined to be this crazy cacophony, because that’s who I am. The Big Mess is me.”

Click here to pick up Big Mess on CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Big Mess on 2-LP from our Rock Cellar Store

Everything’s off-kilter, everything’s a bit jarring and fully reflective of Elfman’s creative spirit, which has guided his career in irreverent (and acclaimed) directions for decades.

The ambitious double-album spans 18 tracks and features guest spots from drummer Josh Freese (Devo, Weezer, The Vandals), bassist Stu Brooks (Dub Trio, Lady Gaga, Lauryn Hill), and guitarists Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses) and Nili Brosh (Tony MacAlpine, Paul Gilbert).

The album began spontaneously during the pandemic, per a news release, with it rapidly expanding past Elfman’s intentions:

“Once I began writing,” he explained, “It was like opening a Pandora’s box and I found I couldn’t stop. None of it was planned. I had no idea how many songs I would write but from the start it quickly became a 2-sided project with heavily contrasting and even conflicting tones.”

The record also features a reworking of the Oingo Boingo song “Insects,” but this new version is quite different.

“In the beginning of 2020 I was preparing a live show for Coachella,” said Elfman in a statement regarding “Insects.” “I’d been looking for old Boingo songs that connected to the dystopian nightmare I found myself immersed in at that moment in time living in America. As I played around with different songs it occurred to me that ‘Insects’ made sense. Who were the ‘Insects,’ the blood suckers of today? It was obvious to me – they all hived together in Washington and seemed to thrive on sucking the rational sense of reality out of our brains.”

Big Mess spans more than 70 minutes of musical madness from Danny Elfman, compositions twisting and turning in unexpected directions and more or less exorcising some of the intense feelings and anxieties we’ve all held for much of the past few years.

Load the album up on your digital streaming device of choice, turn off the lights, pour a beverage and dive in …


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