Just as music evolves over the years, so too do the delivery methods we find most suited to our normal lives. In a shameless plug update championed by a former Penthouse editor-in-chief, we're highlighting a way to make your life better no matter what kind of music you enjoy — yes, even show tunes.

BOOM-Chaka-Laka … Wonderboom

Back in the “before Wonderboom” days, my relationship with music got off to a pretty rocky start. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I had no control over the radio growing up — that was strictly my mom’s domain. Sure, she meant well, but my young ears were abused by the Annie soundtrack ad nauseam in the early eighties. Shit got a little better a year later when the soundscape of the Aronowitz household was dominated by Flashdance, but not much. (Come to think of it, I can probably attribute my lightweight welding fetish to that movie, but I digress.)

I didn’t really understand the magic of music until I got my own system and was allowed to buy records, tapes, and (eventually) CDs with my allowance money. That’s when it hit me: Music is awesome. (Only certain types of music suck … like show tunes, and Chinese opera.)

And so it began: My youthful experiments with sound. The Art of Noise, Iron Maiden, Kool Moe Dee — blasting on my stereo. Helping me get through my homework, girl problems, and garden-variety teen angst.

But my newfound love affair didn’t really hit its stride until the advent of the iPod in 2001 — that clunky, wonderful, funny-looking device with shitty little headphones that forever changed my relationship with music. Not only was my catalogue now incredibly portable, but I could make playlists — monster mixtapes categorized by mood and genre. It wasn’t long, however, before I found myself wanting more. Needing more.

Even with the iPod, I was still forced to listen on headphones or by plugging into immovable sound systems. Then streaming came along and fucked everything up even more. My playlists were outdated, the iPod was all but obsolete, and I either had to spend a small fortune to feed my music fix through iTunes, or evolve and start all over with some uppity bitch called Spotify. And evolve I did, but something was still missing.

That’s when I met the Wonderboom portable Bluetooth speaker, the latest release from the Swiss geniuses at Ultimate Ears. Sure, she’s short, round, and stubby, but she fucking rocks! Not since the iPod has an invention so profoundly affected my life and listening habits. I bring my music everywhere — be it from room to room, indoors to outdoors, or around the globe. I am no longer a victim of crappy hotel docking stations, music-less pools, or silence in general.

“I now realize that I had an opportunity to see if the Wonderboom would pass the Pet Shower Test, but I fucked that one up as well.”

The Wonderboom may be small, but it has a full sound and bumps big, beautiful bass. It has ten hours of battery life and is waterproof, so you can take it pretty much anywhere. Plus, if you’re feeling kinda loose, you can tether two Wonderbooms together and live your life in full surround.

I would love to say that I road tested the Wonderboom in some type of demented Penthouse way, but alas, I was rather uncreative with it. I should have tested it at the Pet Pool Party we threw in early spring, but I didn’t. I should have experimented to see if “waterproof” also means “lube proof,” but I didn’t do that either. And I now realize that I had an opportunity to see if the Wonderboom would pass the Pet Shower Test (whatever that is), but I fucked that one up as well.

Instead, I paired two Wonderbooms with my iPhone and blasted music in my office while I worked. I closed the door and kept ratcheting up the volume to see if I could get these things loud enough for someone to complain… and it didn’t take long. Apparently, the art department needs to actually concentrate on whatever bullshit they do, and my Tuvan Throat Remix playlist was ruining their focus. Oh well. I lowered the volume and still enjoyed the big sound filling my big office all by my big self.

That is until Rhonda walked in. I forget what she was there for — perhaps to remind me that I suck, or give me the finger, or call me a loser… the typical Rhonda fare. But instead, she looked up at the speakers, smiled, plopped down on my couch, and tried to strike up a normal conversation.

What? I listen to music so I don’t have to listen to people… and one of the worst of them was actually trying to connect with me over what I was listening to and how amazing it sounded. I felt like I was trapped in a paradox, spinning in an endless Rhonda loop.

I guess that’s the only negative thing I have to say about the Wonderboom… that it attracts Rhondas who never leave your office… ever. In fact, I bet she’s in my office at this very moment. Sitting on my couch. Listening to my music. Stupid Rhonda.

Granted, given display at certain angles, the Wonderboom volume controls can begin to resemble some sort of a weird modern religious artifact, but maybe that was on purpose. We know for certain that viewing Emily Addison displaying them in the header image provides its own sort of religious experience, so that works. In furtherance of this reverent theory, we provide the following Emily gallery across a variety of fashion and location.

Since the publication of this article in the magazine, the Wonderboom has evolved to an even better experience. You can still stay current on their site and their general wonderness via the web, naturally. Perhaps more interestingly, Wonderboom has managed to hold its $100 price since 2018, and let’s be honest, a lot happened in between then and now. Oh, and for the record, there really was a “Rhonda” at our offices back then, and some of us still miss her a lot.

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