15 Songs, 34 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Black Flag’s debut album remains the definitive album of ‘80s California hardcore punk: angry and uncomfortable with suburbia and its relentless sunshine. Settling in with lead singer Henry Rollins after several other yowlers took their shot (as best sampled on Everything Went Black), Black Flag attacked the status quo with a supercharged rhythm section that ignored the speed limit and a guitarist in Greg Ginn who heard Chuck Berry as an instrument of free jazz. “Rise Above” opens things with the standard call to action (“We are tired of your abuse/ Try to stop us, it’s no use”) but with an added ferocity, while the 33 seconds of “Spray Paint the Walls” portends the hardcore onslaught of extremely short songs. But it’s the comedic goof on the boob-tube slackerdom of “T.V. Party” (with its perfectly dated references to “Hill Street Blues” and “The Jeffersons” and ridiculous group sing-along) and the existential breakdown of the album’s second side (“Depression,” “Padded Cell,” “Life of Pain”) that illuminate the growing ennui of the ‘80s punk era.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Black Flag’s debut album remains the definitive album of ‘80s California hardcore punk: angry and uncomfortable with suburbia and its relentless sunshine. Settling in with lead singer Henry Rollins after several other yowlers took their shot (as best sampled on Everything Went Black), Black Flag attacked the status quo with a supercharged rhythm section that ignored the speed limit and a guitarist in Greg Ginn who heard Chuck Berry as an instrument of free jazz. “Rise Above” opens things with the standard call to action (“We are tired of your abuse/ Try to stop us, it’s no use”) but with an added ferocity, while the 33 seconds of “Spray Paint the Walls” portends the hardcore onslaught of extremely short songs. But it’s the comedic goof on the boob-tube slackerdom of “T.V. Party” (with its perfectly dated references to “Hill Street Blues” and “The Jeffersons” and ridiculous group sing-along) and the existential breakdown of the album’s second side (“Depression,” “Padded Cell,” “Life of Pain”) that illuminate the growing ennui of the ‘80s punk era.

TITLE TIME

More By Black Flag

You May Also Like