Sunday, March 21, 2010

Review #86: Black Flag - Six Pack (Single) (1981)

SIX PACK (Single)

Year: 1981
Genre: Punk Rock
Label: SST Records

5 Minutes (Very Short)
My Rating:

"Six Pack" is among the most popular and well-known songs by Black Flag. It's somewhat the signature song of the Dez Cadena era, the Black Flag vocalist who had rough, harsh vocals like no other. Some consider his vocals even more brutal than Henry Rollins. They never really released an album with Dez, but they did release two singles, and some of his lesser-known work is on the compilation titled "Everything Went Black". The single also contains two B-Sides, which I personally consider better than the A-Side... funny how things work, isn't it? Well, the cover is an early work by Raymond Pettibon, portraying a punk painting himself into a corner because the band believed that "punk was painting itself into a corner." And while that could be summed up as the main philosophy of Black Flag, this record, along with everything that came before it is linear and "normal" enough for just about any self-proclaimed punk fan to enjoy. I wouldn't doubt that the ironic nature of the title song was lost on some early fans, though...

1. Six Pack
Begins with a downbeat bass-driven melody, and an abrasive guitar section. The intro suddenly transforms into a speedy, upbeat song about a guy who dislikes most people and would rather just spend all of his time with a six-pack of beer and get wasted.

2. I've Heard it Before
The intro is a spoken (or should I say 'yelled') piece with a lot of lead-guitar and a beat that progressively gets faster and faster. The main section is a faster part like in "Six Pack". The chorus is pretty catchy. A classic teenage rebel anthem about being tired of hearing the same rhetoric forced onto you when you wanna break free from the useless rules! Something I've definitely been feelin' lately.

3. American Waste
My favorite song on the 7"! It's got a great riff, a fast beat, and great lyrics. It's about feeling lost amidst the large American system, not wanting to die as another slave to it, but living for your own dreams, not "burning up in the heap" like the rest seem to mindlessly do.

As I said before, it's a classic punk record and if you were to ask some random person what their favorite Black Flag album was (if they've even heard of Black Flag), they might just name this one. It's short, but satisfying. The band released another two-song 7" record with Dez Cadena on vocals and one side contained a cover of "Louie, Louie" by the Kingsmen, and another side contained "Damaged", the first slow song Black Flag ever did. The song "Six Pack" on this single would later be re-recorded and sung by Henry Rollins on the band's debut EP. But, I'm not really even supposed to be writing any of this because a few days ago I got grounded for -- GASP -- making my own rock music! How depraved of me, right? Well, even this record gives me comfort that someone else expresses the same sentiments as I am, right now; in a world where even my own friends are preaching to me about what's wrong or right in life and slowly growing up before my eyes. It's nice to hear from someone else that it's okay to rebel.


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