Monday, January 18, 2010

Review #45: Minor Threat - Minor Threat (EP) (1981)


Year: 1981
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Hardcore
Label: Dischord Records
Tracks: 8
Length: 9 Minutes (Short)
Style: Angry
My Rating: 7/8

Minor Threat was one of the many bands formed by Ian MacKaye, and probably the most influential of them all. They unintentionally set off a movement called the "Straight Edge Movement", in which members pledge to abstain from alcohol, drugs, and sex, which still thrives today, though Ian himself played no role in creating this movement. This EP is considerably more melodic than a lot of hardcore from the time period, so it's no wonder that Ian MacKaye would become a leader in the post-hardcore genre that began in the mid '80s. Nonetheless, this is a really good EP, and anyone who likes punk rock (period) should like this, so give it a shot.

1. Filler
This a fucking song I can relate to! It's about a friend of Ian's who left him to live alone with his girlfriend and religion. The song itself has a good riff, a fast pace. An ode for all of us who lost a friend to "the easy way out".

2. I Don't Wanna Hear It
Starts with a quiet bass, and then EXPLODES into another fast song with a great riff. It's basically about a person who is constantly being told corrosive bullshit and lies who "doesn't wanna hear it" and ultimately tells the person to shut up.

3. Seeing Red
This song is about conformist people who laugh at anyone who's different and judges them by their looks rather than their minds.

4. Straight Edge
Ah, the song that started it all. When this song was first written, punk rock was laden with sex, drugs, and alcohol. And yet, we've gone half-circle: it's no longer being yourself, it's another damned trend. It's "cool" is pick on people who use substances or anything to temporarily make them feel good, and another pillar of how "holier-than-thou" punk rock has gotten today. As for what this song meant in 1981, it probably wasn't very popular. A punk NOT wanting to smoke, drink, or fuck? What the hell? I'm sure Ian took a lot of crap for that, more than today's "Straight-Edgers" do. I'm certainly not 'straight edge', but I can respect Ian for making the decision he did. And it's never good to let sex, drugs, or alcohol control your life. I think that was the point of this song. Shortest song on the album. End of Side 1.

5. Small Man, Big Mouth
A song about an insecure dude who "competes for the boys" in order to prove his worth to society. The riff changes briefly in the middle of the song.

6. Screaming at a Wall
The song that got me into Minor Threat (I heard the Beastie Boys cover of it). It's fast and crazy. Ian barks his vocals like a really intelligent doggy, and the "screaming at a wall" section has a really fitting riff. I'd imagine hearing this song live and being in the middle of a pit or something would have to be one of the most intense moments of one's life. Two-thirds through the song, there's a slow section of the song before the song speeds up one last time. My guess is that the song is about a stuck-up, exclusive, "in-crowd" member of society (or even the punk scene!) who spits upon the song's lowly protagonist, who longs for the day when that social structure either crashes down or kicks out the antagonist, unless the protagonist someday "has to use his hands".

7. Bottled Violence
Another anti-alcohol song. It's about a guy who gets drunk to feel confident with himself and goes out to concerts to get in fights and beat up people. Very short.

8. Minor Threat
The slowest song on the album, and it's pretty good. Starts with the riff, then Ian says "play it faster", as the beat starts, and the message seems to be REAL prominent message of Minor Threat -- "Don't waste your time acting like a grown-up". "I might be an adult, but I'm a minor at heart". Those are words that I hope I stay true to after I'm 18. There are fast sections of the song, but before ya know it, it's over.

Well, it's only under 10 minutes long, but this EP has a fucking lot to say! It asks a lot of questions that people were afraid to ask at the time, and though it condemns what was the prominent rock-n-roll attitude at the time, it's still a very rebellious, edgy record. Minor Threat left a huge legacy when it only lasted for 3 years! That's hard to do nowadays. Ian went on to form the first emocore band, and another successful post-hardcore band called Fugazi that was popular in the indie scene during the '90s. SDSFDSKMKNkdjgdfbngbdf fgjnfkjdgfdg8ruyr8it45tkjng;;fkg dfnsdkjfsdklf jskdakjhfasjkdhsayd8HAUIHDAIHS (translation: I like this record)

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