11 Songs, 28 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The MC5’s second studio album didn’t bulge at the seams with the raw proto-punk power of its 1969 debut, Kick Out the Jams. But there’s a deeper magic working its way throughout 1970’s Back in the USA. Here, the band soaked up the soul, doo-wop, and R&B coming out of its Detroit home and blasted it out from towering amplifiers. It opens with a supercharged cover of “Tutti-Frutti,” giving the tune more muscle than even Little Richard could. The band's own “Tonight” melds '50s jukebox-inspired riffs with lyrics of teen angst. Speaking of teen tension, you’d be hard-pressed to find a rock ‘n’ roll song that better channels the burning urgency of adolescent libidos than “Teenage Lust.” It conveys the palpable yearning for carnal indulgence even better than The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction”—so much, that the only way to follow up the song’s climactic ending was with the smoldering soul ballad “Let Me Try,” where Rob Tyner’s voice serves as a reminder that he was raised on the emotional music coming out of Motown. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

The MC5’s second studio album didn’t bulge at the seams with the raw proto-punk power of its 1969 debut, Kick Out the Jams. But there’s a deeper magic working its way throughout 1970’s Back in the USA. Here, the band soaked up the soul, doo-wop, and R&B coming out of its Detroit home and blasted it out from towering amplifiers. It opens with a supercharged cover of “Tutti-Frutti,” giving the tune more muscle than even Little Richard could. The band's own “Tonight” melds '50s jukebox-inspired riffs with lyrics of teen angst. Speaking of teen tension, you’d be hard-pressed to find a rock ‘n’ roll song that better channels the burning urgency of adolescent libidos than “Teenage Lust.” It conveys the palpable yearning for carnal indulgence even better than The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction”—so much, that the only way to follow up the song’s climactic ending was with the smoldering soul ballad “Let Me Try,” where Rob Tyner’s voice serves as a reminder that he was raised on the emotional music coming out of Motown. 

TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
31 Ratings

31 Ratings

Speediejohn ,

MC5 Back IN The USA/

One of the Best Rock N Roll Records of all time. I've been listening to it for over 25 years and it still knocks me out! The greatest guitar solos ever put to vinyl. One of the bands that influenced the origins of the Punk Rock movement. This band kicks serious A*#!!!

hurricane smith ,

Most accessible MC5 album

If you're not a devout fan already this is probably the album to get. I do think Kick Out The Jams is better overall but if you want to get a taste of what the MC5 were all about this is the album to get. It's their most straight ahead rock & roll album and as such definitely anticipated Pub Rock and Punk.

JollyRogers ,

My Fave by the MC5

I wasn't really planning on writing a review, but I read the one by that guy preaching about how the MC5 were rubbish and thought I'd have my say. The dude who wrote that review ranked this badly because of the critical hype surrounding it and then acted as if someone can't like this and other artists at the same time. That's very narrow-minded to assume that people have to ignore some music to like another set as I personally love Kind of Blue and Joe's Garage Pt 1 and II.

BUT ON TO THE ALBUM: I am not a big MC5 fan, I don't like their first album aside from kick out the jams and I've never listened to their third album, but Back in the U.S.A. is killer for anyone that likes straight forward 60's rock. It's tight, the solos work really well, and the lyrics reflect youthful and exuberant subject matter. One thing I admire most is that the album just has a constant feel and sound to it. Some albums have singles that are great and then the album goes a totally different direction, but this one stays true the whole way through. It's a consistent work and that's admirable considering that it came during the hit and miss psychedelic period in rock.
Personal Faves: Looking at You, High School

More By MC5

You May Also Like