The Arrogant Sons of Bitches – Three Cheers for Disappointment (2006) review: The best album of the decade?

This is a guest post by Dan’s little brother, Patrick.

I’m writing this because my brother called me out. I said that Three Cheers for Disappointment was not only the best indie album of the past 10 years, but the best rock album of the same time period. He mentioned a couple of albums that might be better, but I told him they were all worse. He said if I thought so strongly I should write a review of the album to defend myself. So here I am.

Three Cheers for Disappointment is a raw, ska-punk masterpiece. It was the last album put out by the 6-piece ska outfit The Arrogant Sons of Bitches. (I call them the Arrogant Sons of Bad Ladies or ASOB in polite company). Hailing from Long Island, the group plays incredibly brutal, energetic, punk music, different from the 3rd wave sound of bigger name groups like Reel Big Fish or Goldfinger. In this case, the sound works incredibly to their favor. Aside from their punk sound, the band was well known for their incredible performance energy and DIY punk ethics (They self-released two studio albums, and have a good story about fighting their way onto a Warped Tour stage in 2004).

I feel obligated to give a little context because I’m confident not many people have heard of this band, and this album is something you are missing out on. The album tells the story of a disappointed man, who is wrought with guilt over the past and faced with depression about the future. He decries the “man”, and all of his sham friends. While not a traditional concept album with an overarching story, the album is incredibly cohesive and acts almost as a collection of short stories about the same man and his struggles in life.

Every album has a best song, and that holds true for this album. If I had to pick one song for someone to listen to, the obvious choice would be “So Let’s Go Nowhere”, an anthem of a complicated relationship that never seems to end. However, limiting myself to one track seems stupid. Unlike most music I listen to though, I find myself listening to “Three Cheers for Disappointment” on loop, for hours on end. When it gets to the last song, I can’t wait to hear that fateful kazoo note that starts the whole circuit again.

Talking about any single track to me feels like it would be unfair to all the other incredible tracks on this album, so instead I’ll simply list titles of songs to listen to to get a taste for the album: “Kill the President”, “Last on my List”, and “So Let’s go Nowhere” are the shining stars of the bunch, but their supporting cast is far from incompetent. I cannot say enough how well each track on this album stands up on its own.

Now that you realize how awesome this album is, its time to lay the best bomb shell: The album is available legally for free from Quote Unqoute Records website. This means that you can send the link to all your friends when you realize you’re in love with it, and spread this amazing little album’s glory far and wide.

One thought on “The Arrogant Sons of Bitches – Three Cheers for Disappointment (2006) review: The best album of the decade?

  1. Alrighty, I just listened through this album for the first time. And I don’t believe that I would survive an Arrogant Sons of B*tches show if I were anywhere near the front of the crowd. Like, physically. I believe that I would be crushed by the mother of all pits, and it would be worth it.

    As for the album, I can immediately see why this could contend for album of the decade. This album has loads and loads of payoff. But payoff comes with investment. So that’s what you need to be aware of as a promoter, and what any newcomers need to know before the hit play.

    A lot of people would give up three or four tracks in, feeling buried in sound and desperate for a lyric liner. There’s an enormous amount of variety blended together seemlessly, and the density of ideas is off the charts, yet the band never drowns themselves out. Still, none of this is meaningful if you don’t get what’s going on. Without standard hooks or frequent choruses it’s hard to find a foothold.

    Getting through this album without a map takes faith. Adventure is for some, not for all. But I’ve seen things like this before, and I know that this is the absolute best kind of music for people who have it all committed to heart (even if you don’t know every last word).

    The funny thing is, for me, it all started to set in _during the first listen_. I could’ve sworn, around track 6 and again around track 11, that the boys were slowing down and that they never got back up to the speed of the first few tracks. I just went back to those first few tracks and realized, dang, they didn’t slow down, I just started getting it.

    Each song held up, no singular disappointments. And the album cohered. If I had a 40-minute drive to make in the suburbs or the open highway, I could crank this up and rock it front to back. This passes my qualification round; I’d gladly entertain deeper arguments, or see this pitted against specific opponents, other contenders for the “album of the decade” title.

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