Thursday, February 18, 2010

Review #67: Minor Threat - Out of Step (1983)


Year: 1983
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Hardcore
Label: Dischord Records
Tracks: 9
Length: 21 Minutes (Medium-Length)
Style: Rebellious/Angry
My Rating: 7/8

Minor Threat was a hardcore-punk band from the early '80s. And while they only lasted about three years, they were really influential. As a result of one of their songs, they unintentionally sparked off a movement known as the Straight Edge Movement, and they were notorious for playing very fast, short songs like no other band at the time. The music was aggressive but good-natured, mixing their brash, uncompromising instrumentation with positive lyrics. Hell, they had their 'Minor Threat' EP's cover ripped-off by Nike and a hot sauce named after them. Minor Threat are a very memorable punk rock band. But it just goes to show, they were only around for several years, they could release two EPs and just one fuckin' full-length album and be as influential and remembered as they were. For a band nowadays that's near-impossible (sadly). But I'm not here to talk about how many people like Minor Threat or the impact they had on the punk rock scene. I'm here to review this album. So let's do that. Right about... now. No, actually, not then. I review this album after THIS sentence.

1. Betray
A song about a friend who "betrays" you by outgrowing a friendship and becoming "too mature". Very fast for most of the song, then at the end there's a slow bridge-section, and after that a fast but not-as-fast-as-the-beginning outro. My favorite song on the album. I really liked that slow section. I could relate to this song and it helped me a bit when I was having a problem with my friend who I felt like was growing apart from me. It's all fixed now, though. But trust me, this song's really good.

2. It Follows
A song about how the ways and silly social patterns of life never really end. It's fast. The chorus sounds a little like the song before this one.

3. Think Again
Slightly less fast. Like the two songs before it, it's really good. While in "Betray", the magic is in the tempo-shifts and rhythm, and in "It Follows", it's in the vocals, here it's just plain in the riff (all of them have amazing riffs, though). This song questions stupid behavior. Second-favorite one on here.

4. Look Back & Laugh
Slow intro, but most of the song is fast. It's about being in a bad situations with friends and the friendship getting ruined by it, when you should've really just looked back and laughed. Longest song on the whole album (over three minutes). End of Side 1.

5. Sob Story
A song dedicated to all depressing crybabies who just can't stop complaining. Maybe more emo kids should listen to this -- oh yeah, nevermind, when they get happy they just turn into even bigger assholes. I forgot. Ends with a "boo-fuckin'-hoo". Heheh.

6. No Reason
A song about pointless grudges.

7. Little Friend
A song about Ian's "little friend", a mixture of intensely negative feelings that rages on inside of him. This song is kinda slow (which I like).

8. Out of Step
A song that further elaborates on Ian's 'straight-edge' philosophy, and how (at the time at least) he is 'out of step with the world'. Ian talks about how he simply does these things because he doesn't find them very important.

9. Cashing In
For some reason the album doesn't credit this track as being on it, but it's there. Ian sings about stealing peoples' money through playing shows and how they just don't care or pretend to pose. A few references to "The Wizard of Oz" such as "I'm taking a walk on the yellow brick road" and the repeated phrase "there's no place like home...", which he ends with -- "So where am I?", in a sung voice rather than screamed or yelled. And, that's the end.

So with all that said, that was Minor Threat's only true LP. Not too long after it was released, the band broke up (and Ian went on to form countless other bands such as Fugazi). And for a full-length of Minor Threat, it's pretty good -- I liked the first half the best, but all of the songs are good in their own right. It's considerably a tad bit more melodic than the two records before it, but not by too much of a stretch. But, if you're a fan of Minor Threat or punk rock and haven't already heard this, go and check it out!

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