Monday, April 19, 2010

Review #97: Bad Brains - Pay to Cum! (Single) (1980)

PAY TO CUM! (Single)

Year: 1980
Genre: Punk Rock, Reggae
Bad Brains Records
3 Minutes (Very Short)
My Rating:

Bad Brains is considered to be one of the earliest hardcore punk bands ever, and also one of the most famous. They were also one of the earliest bands in the Washington D.C. scene. The group formed in 1977, originally called "Mind Power". They started out playing jazz-fusion, but quickly became interested in punk rock and started playing hard, fast music like no other at the time. Early on in their existence, the members of the band were introduced to punk bands such as the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, and the Dickies. The band renamed itself "Bad Brains" after the Ramones song "Bad Brain", and H.R. (Human Rights), originally a guitarist, became the band's vocalist. This was the first release by Bad Brains, and also likely the first hardcore-punk record to come out of the D.C. scene, which would later also be the source of bands like Minor Threat.

1. Pay to Cum
One of the most famous Bad Brains songs, it's very fast. A lot of cowbell used, also. H.R. sings a mile a minute (more like a few seconds, actually), as his lines accumulate into an explosion of a group-shout of a single syllable. The lyrics sing about how humanity has lost sight of what matters in life, and if they don't rethink things, we will all die as a result of our ignorance. This song was later included on their debut album, and an alternate, slower version can be found on a 7" EP called "Cum to Pay". I actually like that version the best.

2. Stay Close to Me
A slower, slightly more mellow song. More on the reggae side of Bad Brains' musical style. Still, some of the drumming is pretty punk-influenced. The lyrics are pretty much what to expect from a love-song -- the protagonist tries to get his girl away from another man who ultimately isn't for her.

Well, that's all of "Pay to Cum". In 1982, the band released their debut album, simply titled "Bad Brains". The band would further delve into the Reggae style of music, as well as the Rastafarian religion, which the members were/are devout followers of. At one point, they had almost exclusively been playing reggae. They are practically one of the only notable all-black punk bands, and they are also one of the few original hardcore punk bands that still exists today -- they still perform shows and record new records! I must admit that I have only recently started listening to Bad Brains, but from the sounds of this and their first LP, I like what I hear so far.

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