• Darby VanDeVeen

Head Back to Margaritaville With 'Life on the Flip Side'


Calling all Parrotheads! Grab a margarita, dig your toes in the sand and get ready to feel the salty ocean wind in your hair on a trip back to Margaritaville. Jimmy Buffett’s 28th studio album, Life on the Flip Side, is as comfortable as stretching out in the sand on a warm summer’s day. Recorded with the Coral Reefer Band, soft island sounds make listeners want to spend their life on island-time. 


A storyteller through and through, Buffett uses his own personal experiences to craft an album experience that is true to himself and his way of life. Buffett told Apple Music that “Cussin’ Island” was something that actually happened to him: he did playfully ‘strand’ his children on an island for swearing. He also touches on some of his past works, merging “Pencil Thin Mustache” and “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw” into his new song “Half Drunk.”


While each song has that distinct Buffett-sound, “Down at the Lah De Dah” encapsulates this sound similarly to his biggest hit “Margaritaville.” Driven by his acoustic guitar, the Coral Reefer Band in the background adds to the feeling of being down by the beach. A classic song, I can already hear fans singing along to this as soon as concerts start up again.

(Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)

“15 Cuban Minutes” is also a hit, and gives a new meaning to ‘island time.’ “15 Cuban minutes/Fairly safe to say/Can feel more like an hour/Or the entire day” Buffett sings. Latin music backs this tune about not having your life run by a clock and just taking things as they come.


You can hear bits of classic rock on the song “The World is What you Make It,” through the use of electric guitar. Paul Brady originally wrote the song, and appears to have vocals on the song as well. Buffett still manages to make this cover fit his style by adding trumpets to lighten up the song a bit.


“Slack Tide” is a subtle track on the album, making comparisons of how animal interactions and human interactions aren’t all that different. “I don’t take to politics on the stage. I like to be the oasis where everybody can go and have a brief moment and have fun in life before going back to whatever’s going on. But I wanted to kind of summarize that it would be nice if everybody could do that, and it would be nice if the world could run at slack tide,” Buffett told Apple Music.


Wrapping up the album on a positive note, “Book on the Shelf” leaves listeners with the message that Buffett does not intend to slow down his life anytime soon. He wants to keep releasing music and touring for as long as he is able to. An acoustic song with powerful lyrics, Buffett reflects on his career so far and how lucky he is to live the life that he does. “I’ll keep scribblin’ on pages, not jumpin’ off stages/Not ready to put the book on the shelf,” he croons as the song (and album) ends.


Stream Life on the Flip Side here. If you want to ‘see’ Jimmy Buffett live, follow along with the Cabin Fever Virtual Tour, as Buffett re-broadcasts old shows.

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