Only a Lad

Only a Lad
Studio album by Oingo Boingo
Released June 19, 1981
Recorded December 1980 - February, 1981
Genre New wave, ska, art punk, college rock[1]
Length 38:12
Label A&M
Producer Pete Solley and Oingo Boingo
Oingo Boingo chronology
Oingo Boingo
Only a Lad
Nothing to Fear
Singles from Only a Lad
  1. "Only a Lad"
    Released: May 1981
Professional ratings
Review scores

Only a Lad is the full-length debut album by Oingo Boingo, released in 1981 following their self-titled EP.


The album's musical arrangements, by vocalist Danny Elfman and guitarist Steve Bartek, complete the group's switch from a cabaret act to a new wave band (see Oingo Boingo - The Mystic Knights Years). Only a Lad features complex and frequently changing time signatures and keys, often incorporating harmonies borrowed from jazz and 20th-century classical music; all hallmarks of Elfman's songwriting.


On the cover of the album, the drawing of a cat by Louis Wain that previously appeared on the cover of the Oingo Boingo EP is visible on the shirt of the scout. The cover is a parody of the Boy Scouts of America 1960 official handbook cover illustrated by Norman Rockwell.[3]

The nature of some of the songs featured on the album generated mild controversy, such as the opening track "Little Girls", the music video for which was banned in Canada.[4] On songs such as "Little Girls" and "Capitalism", Elfman has since stated that his intentions were to write in jest from the perspective of various disreputable characters, adding he was "out to offend everybody".[5]


The commercial and critical success of Only a Lad was limited; however, largely due to the backing of Los Angeles radio station KROQ, it established Oingo Boingo as a permanent fixture in the Southern California music scene.

The National Review Online named "Capitalism" as one of the "50 greatest conservative rock songs".[6] "Capitalism" featured in the film Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005). "Only a Lad" is a playable track on the PlayStation 2 video game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.

Track listing

All tracks written by Danny Elfman, except "You Really Got Me" by Ray Davies. 

1."Little Girls"  3:44
2."Perfect System"  3:46
3."On the Outside"  3:39
4."Capitalism"  3:40
5."You Really Got Me" (The Kinks cover)4:40
6."Only a Lad"  3:56
7."What You See"  3:43
8."Controller"  3:24
9."Imposter"  2:59
10."Nasty Habits"  4:06
Total length:38:12


Oingo Boingo

Recorded December 1980 - February, 1981 at: Record Plant, United Western Studios, Cherokee Studios, and Westlake Audio.
Mastered at: Sterling Sound by legendary engineer George Marino (Metallica, Kiss, AC/DC, Guns N' Roses).


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