Jun 11, 2021
By Mark Redfern
Photography by Jacob Boll
Film composer (and former Oingo Boingo frontman) Danny Elfman has released his first new solo album in 37 years, Big Mess, today via ANTI-/Epitaph. Now that it’s out, you can stream the whole thing below. Also, today we posted our new interview with Elfman about the album and you can read that here.
In October of last year Elfman shared the album’s “Happy,” which was his first solo single in 36 years. Since then he’s shared five other singles that show up on Big Mess: “Sorry,” “Love in the Time of Covid,” “Kick Me,” “True,” and “Insects,” which was shared via a crazy video and is actually a reworked version of an old Oingo Boingo song of the same name, originally found on their 1982-released second album, Nothing to Fear.
The album came together during the 2020 COVID-19 quarantine. “Once I began writing,” Elfman explained in a previous press release, “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 two-sided project with heavily contrasting and even conflicting tones.”
Elfman’s last solo album was 1984’s So-Lo. Since then he’s been a prolific film composer, often working with Tim Burton (Batman, Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Dumbo, and many more), but also working with plenty of other filmmakers on many big films (the original version of Justice League, Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, Good Will Hunting, all four Men in Black movies, Milk, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, Hulk, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, among a multitude of others).
Big Mess also features drummer Josh Freese (Devo, Wheezer, 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).
Even though the album came out today, Elfman will also be releasing a limited edition Big Mess box set this fall. It will feature unreleased remixes and alternate versions of songs, as well as collectable artwork, a USB with video content and bonus material, and an artbook “featuring Sarah Sitkin’s original creations and never before seen photos and ephemera.”
Summing up the album, Elfman said: “I knew from the start that this wasn’t going to be a neat, easy-to-categorize record. It was always destined to be this crazy cacophony, because that’s who I am. The Big Mess is me.”