Tubthumper by Chumbawamba

1997, 1 track, 4 mins 39 sec

Chumbawamba & Tubthumping, two words that make absolutely no sense at all yet are still capable of bringing joy to everyone who hears them, bringing up memories of a simpler time when songs were about having a good time with your mates & dancing the night away – Released in the summer of 1997, Chumbawamba’s infamously upbeat & hilariously titled jamtacular “Tubthumping” provides audiences with a delightfully upbeat Dance Rock tune about sticking to your guns in turbulent times, a song about “the resilience of ordinary people” as guitarist Boff Whaley once said. In particular, it’s about a group of individuals getting as belligerently drunk as possible following a successful protest up in Ireland, celebrating their political activism & enjoying a pint as a way of congratulating their seemingly good deeds – That’s right, “Tubthumping” is a politically-charged anthem, albeit a much more toned-down one than Chumbawamba’s prior Poli-Punk releases, aimed squarely at the act of being a raucous riot during Ireland’s revolts against England, basking in their die-hard heritage & making it known that no matter what regulations & rules are aimed at them, they’ll refuse to bend to anyone else’s rule, summed up perfectly in the chorus line “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down.” By drinking themselves silly – a.k.a. “pissing the night away” – & loosening up through some public singing, they believe you can strengthen the bonds of your community & give some fighting spirit to your cause, a cycle the Irish feel is responsible for their successful protesting culture & the continued resilience in times of hardship.
Modern day activists can certainly learn a lesson from this jubilant affair, as it turns out all you need to accomplish your goals is a bit of positivity & laughter, a healthy mix that’ll help you overcome any obstacle. This translates wonderfully to the actual instrumentation for “Tubthumping,” comprised of a lively, incredibly nineties drum beat with that iconic Alt Rock bounce, loudly blaring guitars with uplifting chord progressions & heavy distortion during the choruses, catchy anthem vocals designed for hyped-up crowd participation & serene melodies during the verses that make sure you’re in the correct mindset for this adventure, soothed into a state of blissful ignorance after your victories & comforted by the warm embrace of alcohol. The entire ordeal feels somewhat like an interpolation of Michael Jackson’s “Black Or White,” containing the same type of movement & grandiose production values only on a smaller scale, dropping the tempo a bit & softening up the scratchiness of that song’s iconic guitar riff, giving audiences a song that feels familiar but refreshing all the same – The accompanying music video takes things quite literally, showcasing the band at their favourite pub venue Fforde Grene in Leeds, a place recognized for its racially diverse crowd, good vibes & position as a ritualistic meeting ground for other Punkish activists; They drink till they’re pissed, embrace their brethren & have a generally laid-back time, with the video consisting of shots of patrons smiling in conversation, dancing with one another & doing mundane activities like fixing their makeup in the bathroom mirror whilst chatting about the night’s events, showing what it’s really like at a local pub, which is – of course – absolutely nothing like Hip Hop videos often show you – It feels pretty appropriate that this song has made its way back onto the charts during this rocky political period worldwide, so if you’re feeling a little down, just throw on a little “Tubthumping” & you’ll be alright.

Written by @camjameson from Extraneous Routes

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Song Info



  • Jan 01, 1997


"Tubthumping" (also known colloquially as "I Get Knocked Down") is a song released by British rock band Chumbawamba from their eighth studio album, Tubthumper (1997). It is the band's most successful single, peaking at number two on the UK Singles Chart. It topped the charts in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand and hit number six on the US Billboard Hot 100 (although it topped the US Modern Rock and Mainstream Top 40 charts). At the 1998 Brit Awards, "Tubthumping" was nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Single. It sold 880,000 copies in the UK.
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