Wednesday, October 26, 2022

House of Pain - Self Titled 2xLP - Orange Vinyl & White Vinyl


Tommy Boy (2022, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

While I absolutely had this album when it was first released, I wasn't sure if I was ever going to add it to the collection on vinyl.  I had this album really early when it came out in 1992, I remember the first time I had heard about it was via a promo sticker that had come with an issue of The Source that I had.  I then saw the video for Jump Around on Yo! MTV Raps and picked up the album.  This was before the song would take off into the stratosphere and turn into a perennial Jock Jam, completely inescapable.

So, I soured on House of Pain a bit and just sort of let them be forgotten.  As I started ramping up my hip hop vinyl collection, I wondered if I should give the album another chance.  So about a year ago I downloaded the MP3s and gave it a whirl for the first time in probably 25 years or so.  It's still a pretty solid album in spite of itself.

What I really mean more than anything is that this is a pretty good album in spite of Everlast.  It's the beats.  The beats on this record are just incredible.  Muggs, Lethal and Ralph string together a parade of hits.  Even "Jump Around" is completely undeniable from a production standpoint.  Everlast's lyrics are another story.  They were never great, but with thirty years of hindsight, they sound even worse to me.  Gravelly throated, Irish pride was kind of an odd thing for rap in 1992 and it sounds even weirder now.  Nothing about it is necessarily bad, but it's such an outlier for the sort of records that were coming out back then.  But I keep coming back to how good the production is.

Which, ultimately, is why I decided to pick up the album and specifically, why I decided to buy the fancy double LP version.  This one has all of the remixes, including Pete Rock's excellent version of "Jump Around."  If I'm going to add this to the collection, I'm going to add the best possible version.  That said, I didn't get the free jump rope that was supposed to come with it.  Oh well.

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