Song 246: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, “They Came to Boston” (1992)


The students are back. Allston Christmas is over, so now we’re left with the people. They’re everywhere, these denizens of Harvard, M.I.T., B.U., B.C., and schools we didn’t even know existed. They’re clogging streets, slowing us down on sidewalks, and not following T-riding protocol (wait until all passengers get off, and then get on the train with your standup bass).

So goes the circle of life in Boston. They descend like locusts in September, they leave briefly in December, and they’re gone for a beautiful three months starting in June. But at all other times of the year, they (and their visiting parents) make the city a pain in the ass. It was apparently not much better 21 years ago, when the Mighty Mighty Bosstones recorded “They Came to Boston.” “I was here before they came,” rants Dickie Barrett, “I’ll be here long after. Don’t wanna swear but it seems clear that I’m gonna hafta.” Everybody now, as that Camry with the Connecticut plates drifts into your lane in the B.U. Bridge rotary: Awwww fuck.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones sound dated in all kinds of ways, but they sound timeless in many others: the combination of heavy distortion and peppy horns still hasn’t lost its novelty, and the band’s wry, biting lyrics are still funny. And you can’t deny, listening to “They Came to Boston,” the Bosstones’ musicianship, from that faux-metal solo at the beginning to the “a-dub-a-dub-a-dub-a-dub” breakdown. Then there’s “Rented a car to see the sights, but they found the Hub confusing. Looked for the swan boats in Mattapan, well, I find that real amusing.” That’s some Oscar Wilde shit.

Merry Allston Christmas!


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