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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

GI

Germs

1979

Wikipedia

GI

Reviews

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4

A blast of self-lacerating L.A. punk in its original glory, (GI) is simply classic; a commanding, rampaging sneer at everyone and everything infused with a particular, disturbed vision. Said vision belongs to Darby Crash, whose proclivities for charismatic manipulation were already well established before he fully spelled them out in lyrics like "Lexicon Devil," here featuring in a re-recording, and "Richie Dagger's Crime." His David Bowie worship was also paramount -- "Land of Treason," "Communist Eyes," and "Strange Notes" are just three numbers featuring his transformation of the apocalyptic aesthetics of albums like Diamond Dogs and Station to Station toward more brutal ends. Practically speaking, his snarling star quality comes through more than his words, but it's more than enough on that front. Pat Smear has an equal claim to being the album's star, though, and for good reason -- not only did he co-write everything, his clipped, catchy monster riffing was as pure punk in the late-'70s sense as anything, wasting no time on anything extraneous. Lorna Doom and Don Bolles keep up the side as a kickass rhythm section, Bolles in particular making a good mark in the first of his many drumming stints over the moons. Joan Jett's production got knocked at the time for perceived thinness, but she and engineer Pat Burnette actually did a great job at recording the band with crisp, strong results. The notorious closing number, "Shut Down (Annihilation Man)," makes for a nicely balanced contrast to the 42-second opener, "What We Do Is Secret." While the latter song is pure hyperspeed, Crash sounding like he's about to run out of breath on the shout-along chorus, "Shut Down (Annihilation Man)," recorded at a club gig, shows how the Germs could (quite intentionally) tick off an audience via long, meandering numbers if they so chose.

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2

Not unlistenable, but not my style.

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2

It is definitely a punk rock album but not a good one. I don't think I needed to listen to this and I don't have a need to listen to it again.

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2

Proof that music is whatever people will make and whatever other people will listen to, everything else is extra.

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5

Awesome punk album. Crazy that it was made in '79. Wonderfully produced, every instrument comes in clear, while still being chaotically punk.

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5

Great classic punk.

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5

An important album for LA/hardcore punk, and it still sounds great and powerful

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5

One of my favorite albums of all time by one of my favorite bands. There's no denying the songwriting here is great - the songs all have great melodies and the lyrics are clever and poetic in a good way. I would even say Darby was one of the best lyricists in punk, maybe music in general. The music is also great, very catchy, fast enough, energetic and short as it should be. I'll admit I often skip Shut Down, but it's not actually a bad song. All in all, an absolute masterpiece.

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4

There's just something about this album... Its attitude, its strength, its lyrics... it is one-of-a-kind indeed... and jewel of the crown of US punk

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4

The newest member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - PAT F’N SMEAR!!!!!! Great album with lots of punk rock anthems. Best when kept short and sweet. I liked the 8 minute Shut Down track but it did feel like it took some unnecessary detours Fave tracks: “Lexicon Devil” “Communist Eyes” “Richie Dagger’s Crime”

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2

Nee...

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2

Les Minutemerde ont encore échoué dans leur couverture, on les reconnait immédiatement.

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1

I’m double vaccinated so didn’t think I’d have to put up with Germs. My first reaction was this sounds very basic and I can't understand the lyrics but the same could be said for The Clash's 1st album (which I rated 5) so I thought I should give it a chance. I looked up the lyrics to a few songs (including Communist Eyes and Lexicon Devil). Lexicon Devil seems to be about a dictator (possibly Hitler); it’s not necessarily taking a positive view but not taking a negative one either. The lyrics coupled with the violence incited at their concerts indicate that Darby was a nihilist. (I haven’t heard anyone being called a nihilist since The Big Lebowski). I immediately booked my booster shot so this is hopeful the last of the Germs showing up.

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5

Classic album. If only Darby lived.

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5

Hard punk f******

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5

👍🏼👍🏼

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5

One of my favorites albums of all time

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4

Classic punk, hilarious start for these guys, but a great addition to punk history

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4

Echt lekkere harde California punk. Zit ook nog wel een hitje op

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4

In 1979?!? Nonstop action like a grindhouse film of music.

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4

lekker punk

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4

yaaas lawd, yaaaassss

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4

Looking at the cover I want to say it's electronica like Kraftwerk or something, but 1979... probably just post-punk/new wave lol. lol it's punk, actual hardcore punk though and not new wave! Wasn't expecting that. This is a fun enough little album. It does just what it sets out to do: get from A to B in the shortest, fastest, loudest way possible. And it's still got a lot of melody/catchiness going on along the way. 4/5.

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4

Punk brutal.

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4

Good hardcore punk. Punk is definitely not my go-to genre, but hardcore is my favorite sub genre. This is messy, angry, and driving, everything you want from a hardcore record.

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4

My knowledge of The Germs up until now was limiting to knowing they were featured in Penelope Spheeris' film The Decline of Western Civilization, and that they were a hardcore band. Shamefully, despite their importance to the hardcore scene, GI isn't on Spotify. GI doesn't sound like a band that barely knew how to play their instruments when they were formed. For punk, this is not simple music. Compositionally, it has more in common with the Pixies than the Clash. There are start and stop rhythms, odd time signatures, and the chord sequences are not the standard I, IV, V beloved by punk bands everywhere, and all of this is played at breakneck speed, with energy to match. It would be tempting to lay this at the feet of guitarist and co-composer Pat Smear, who later went on to tour with Nirvana, but the truth is that bassist Lorna Doom and drummer Don Bolles match him step for step. They're a damned good rhythm section. As for frontman Darby Crash, he sustains a near inhuman level of energy, even if you can hardly understand a word he screams/sings. I feel like I'm not doing a very good job of explaining how good this band is. The thing is, Smear writes really strong riffs and instrumental hooks, and there's a wide range of stylistic variety for hardcore punk. It's just a shame you can't understand what Crash is saying and that he isn't technically a strong singer. Also, as fun as GI is, it starts to wear you down after four or five songs and there's sixteen tracks! At a mere 38 minutes, GI feels really long, even punishing. One last thing I should mention. Joan Jett (yes, that Joan Jett) does a great job of producing, imparting GI with a clarity of sound that reveals that the Germs were not just mindless hardcore punk thrashers.

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4

Fun good punk album, I'm always amazed listening to such old punk albums that would still hold up today.

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4

Rules

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4

Explosive! These guys are from California but sound like a DC band. Loved the voices and the aggressive snare sound

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4

This was excellent, loved it. Like a cross between Dead Kennedys and the Ramones. Definitely a keeper!

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4

Nasty and heavy

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3

Very raw fun punk album, something to be in the mood for but very interesting

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3

Germs are cool

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3

Who says you have to know how to play an instrument to make good music?

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3

Hardcore punk rock is a lot to take. But it gets the job done!

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3

Nice discovery more pop than I would have expected

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3

Bra ös

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3

Actually not that bad, even though a bit raw for me

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3

good germs!

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3

Band is good. Guys voice doesn't do it for me.

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3

It was a fairly straight forward punk album. Not the worst but not the best by far. Probably would be 2 stars if I wasn't biased.

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3

Yes punk!

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3

can't play a lot on Spotify or YouTube; trying someone's YouTube bootleg.... can't understand the words of what it can play this is PUUUUNK city has that thing where the singer goes too fast for the drums/base or vice versa not that tight, musically speaking; hard to understand; what I can hear on Spotify has better sound quality than the bootleg; this might grow on me, b/c the simple chords are a little catchy. 3/5.

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3

Bah, it's kind of a fun story, but not particularly excited about this album

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3

Good but higher energy than my background work music

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3

Most of this album is pretty bad, but I did enjoy Lexicon Devil and "shut down." 5/10 album.

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3

Never heard of this band or any of the songs. I'm enjoying some of this old punk.

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3

Good punk sound with unintelligible lyrics.

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3

I liked this more than I expected. I like punk but have never been a fan of the hardcore sub-genre. This was a little more interesting than other hardcore punk I've heard. Shame about the heroin and the premature demise of Darby Crash. 3 stars.

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3

I'm not a fan of west coast but damn I liked this album. It's loud and abrasive and offensive at times but the band has a kick ass rhythm section and there are enough tempo changes and possibly even some melodies to keep me interested. Though lacking in Wire's ear for hooks and pop song melodies, GI has enough surprising turns to make me think this is the Punk Flag of west coast hardcore. I'm tempted to give it 4 stars, but 3.5 🌟 is where it belongs

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3

Crusty early punk with surprisingly tight musicianship and solid drumming. Spotify only had 4 tracks available, would love to hear more.

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3

Spotify did not have the full album, only some mixed records. Not bad, but really tough to tell from very rough live songs.

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3

High energy (hardcore?) punk album. I enjoyed listening to it, but I'm not sure that it should be on this list. Quick wikisearch says arguably the first hardcore punk album.

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3

Darby Crash is one of the most influential punk artists of all time, essentially popularizing the hardcore subgenre alongside Black Flag, which began the most popular form of punk out there. Whenever you hear someone's into punk, it's usually a hardcore variety that shaped much of pop punk, which started with this young man. It's raw and carries the spirit of punk more than any other album on this list. This is a proper successor to the nastiness of The Sex Pistols. Tracks are short, minimalistic and chaotic, with incomprehensible vocals. But there's something strange going on here. Follow along to the lyrics, and you'll find them to be a poetic reflection of Darby's psyche and the punk attitude. They're honestly the highlight of this album for me. Production is great, done by Joan Jett. I don't think the intro track was a good choice. They intentionally picked the most abrasive and off-putting with probably the least interesting lyrics, but then again it's like a message telling people this album will be a handful. I like the solos that almost feel rock n roll-like. I'm a sucker for the abrupt stops. Number one issue is the repetitive sound, which makes the whole experience unbearable if not for knowing the chorus and lyrics. The instruments often don't feel like they're working together, but sometimes they do, so maybe they could get everyone to sound better together...? It's hard to criticize what exactly they're going for. The best I can do is look at the tracks I like, and what's lacking in the tracks that feel lackluster. The last extended track "Shut Down" was a good addition. A problem people have with albums like Pink Flag is that there are just too many tracks to digest, so you lose focus in the last third or so. But here, it's replaced by a long mild but still haunting track that showcases their inexperienced band members well. I'd listen to this album again, as soon as it's on Spotify of course. Favorite tracks: Land of Treason, Richie Dagger's Crime, Lexicon Devil, Lexicon Devil, We Must Bleed, The Other Newest One, Shut Down

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3

3.4 - I suppose one of the purposes of this listening exercise is to expand my musical horizons. In this case, here's an album I would never think to pick up on my own. I've listened to hardcore punk only in dribs and drabs, mostly struggling to find meaning through the droning guitars and indecipherable growls. I'm left more or less in the same place with Germs but I did find myself attracted by the nihilistic disgust that's grunting and spewing from Darby Crash over some jagged and screechy guitars. It's not music that I connect with personally but I can understand how an angry kid might find solace here. As a side note, it blows my mind that Pat Smear has managed to consistently play in highly influential bands.

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3

3/5

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3

Punk can't hold a candle to the hard rock and prog rock that came before it, but I found this album alright. Drums were very tight and technical, engaging to listen to. Good bass guitar. There were a lot of interesting chord progressions i enjoyed, but the guitar is mostly power chords the whole time, so not all that impressive to me. I appreciate the anger and vitriol, though I never knew what the singer was saying the entire time. I def prefer thrash metal over punk when it comes to "angry" music. Favorite song was Manimal, probably.

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3

Well this was hardcore punk wasn't it! Some of it I enjoyed more than others, but on the whole have to say was ready for it to be over. Listened twice as well as I wanted to give it my attention

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3

Punk en estado puro. Un tanto ruidoso y prácticamente todas parecidas. Me gusta el punk, pero más melódico. En ocasiones, demasiado estridente

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3

This singer has a hell of a lot of charisma. I hate screaming vocals but this is just short of that and I liked it despite my prejudices. The guitarist is hella good and the bass/drums are incredibly tight. If not for them I think the music would be a hot mess.

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3

Punk rock! And the best kind, short and quick. I could imagine that this album possibly influenced many an underground punk band afterwards.

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3

Rating: 6/10 Best songs: The gash

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2

Hardcore :(

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2

Hardcore just isnt my cup of tea, but I appreciate the historical importance of the album

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2

får en tvåa för det instrumentala.

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2

Punk är ju punk. Mäktigt i kontexten av industrin när den kom, hur stor kontrasten var gentemot radiomusiken osv. Kommer jag lyssna på denna igen? Förmodligen inte.

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2

Jevilongos. Rollo. Todo igual.

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2

Mm, beetje te rommelig

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2

Another one of these 'influential but not actually entertaining to listen to' ones

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2

Was led to this album originally due to Pat Smear being involved but it’s a world away from Nirvana let alone Foo Fighters. It’s not bad but not brilliant, and it is appropriately chaotic. Only learned it was produced by Joan Jett who obviously liked to end songs really abruptly. Energetic hardcore punk, Lexicon Devil being the pick of the bunch.

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2

Sounds like a punk album.

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2

Couldn’t really get into this album. Mostly all sounded the same.

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2

The only studio album by the band Germs is arguably one of the first hardcore punk albums released. The music definitely fits the hardcore punk sound, but it's not the type of music I'm into. It was weird to me how many songs on the album were under 2 minutes long; and then the final song is a whopping 10 minutes long because of the improvisation by the band towards the end of the song. Forgettable album by a forgotten band, but at least it was the first hardcore punk one!

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2

Vaikkakin alkuaikojen settiä, niin peruspunkkiahan tää oli. Ei mitään mistä pitäis liiemmin innostua.

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2

Genrelle tyypillinen levy, suoraa menoa ilman mutkia. Ei se oma juttu kuitenkaan...

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2

This is a first. I had to listen on YouTube since Spotify doesn't have the full album. That's who I am. I'm also a tender lover, but that's not really important right now. Here are my 5 favorite comments from various YouTube members for this album: 1. I used to hide my weed in this cassette. Good memories. 2. I'm 48 years old and I still play this really loud when I get pissed at my neighbors. 3. Drink vodka. Turn this shit up on max. Light the furniture on fire. Have a party! 4. Wtf even is this? I feel bad that someone even had to produce this. That's not music. 5. The album cover is the first known photo of Amazon's Alexa.

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2

I was hoping this was going to be brilliant but actually found it a bit boring.

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2

Punk rock Shame can't listen much of it

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2

C'est bon les Minutemerdes vous pouvez sortir de votre cachette.

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2

When I saw the clean Simple album cover I thought this was a modern EDM or electronic band. Wrong! Frenetic and very very samey. The pace didn’t let up and sound different until around the 10th song but by then I had tuned out. I think the Ramones did it much better

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1

If you read this, i've jumped out of my window.

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1

1979. Key Songs: Lexicon Devil

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1

Ew

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1

the fucking worst noise i’ve ever listened to.

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1

Not my jam. Some decent sounds but not for me

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1

Not on Spotify but it sounds like I would hate it

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1

Although having worked for a short period as a sound engineer in hard rock an trash metal and commercial music, I could not really appreciate this hardcore punk album. Although I could recognize a lot of riffs in the music to be hard rock and trash metal riffs.

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1

Spotify didn’t seem to have this one. Listened YouTube for like 10 seconds. Not my style

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1

Ew.

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1

“GI” by Germs (1979) This is a supremely enjoyable album. The cover art perfectly expresses the amount of music on the record (pause for laughter), but the lyrics, man, are primo. Lyricist (and ‘singer’) Darby Crash gives us some of the most politically and psychologically astute conceptions ever expressed in commercial music—all in service of anarchism and nihilism, ideologies rejected by most thinking people, and most non-thinking people too. I mean, the substance is atrocious. But it’s done so well. It’s like reading Nietzsche between the lines: Do a line, read a few paragraphs, then do another line. I would suggest not listening to this album, but rather printing the lyrics and quoting selected gems at random to friends, family members, and co-workers (“You are what you’ve seen”; “Progressed to the point of no distinction“; “I'm looking through Communist eyes”; “Calculate the thrones”; “Bite the hand that needs you”; “Evolution is too slow”; etc., etc.). Crash provides angry, antisocial, cynical, morbid feelings expressed in fine poetic cast, by reaching widely across the English language for sayings, idioms, and lexical choices that perfectly fit the staccato rhythm of rage. It’s evil, falsehood, and ugliness conveying the good, the true, and the beautiful. It’s simply great. Here’s a small sample (from “Media Blitz”): Don't steal your eyes off the TV screen Can you realize we're what we've seen Take an injection from the mad machine Don't read the papers read between the lines We're vision rapers and we seed the signs You'll play your part in the master mind We feed the science We deal in riots We play by ideal time We're a government fix All social convicts Watch the idle rhymes Hip hop artists could learn a lot from this poetry. Sadly, a year after recording these lines, Darby Crash killed himself (the day before John Lennon was murdered, so there wasn’t much press for Crash’s demise). Well, at least his lyrics live on. As an album, this is terrible. But as art, it soars. 1/5

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1

Fucking awful punk rock. I will never understand.

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1

Dan denk je Stille Zaterdag rustig op te starten, krijg je dit!

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1

Na 1 nummer al klaar mee. Pat Smear van Nirvana en Foo Fighters zat hier bij, maar daar is dan ook alles mee gezegd.

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1

i probably would've killed myself too if i was responsible for creating this garbage

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1

No idea if this album is of significance. Not heard of them. Not inclined to go any further.

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1

Didn't like anything about it. Especially vocals.

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1

1.5

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1

Not for me. At all.

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1

I don't like it when he hijg/roept in de micro :(

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1

I started listening to the 1001 albums with the intention of giving each album at least one full listen. And today I broke that intention. I got about 6 songs in and realised it’s all the same noise but with different (indistinguishable) lyrics attached to the tracks. in 1979 this may have been “cutting edge” today in 2020 it’s just noise, and not the good type either. It should be left in the 70’s it’s hasn’t aged well

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1

nope, like the worst of nu metal and American punk

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1

Couldn't even finish this

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1

Just not a vibe I'm into right now

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1

2/10

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1

This is peak punk. Can't understand anything the singer is saying though. 3/10.

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1

Since this came out in 79, I guess I can't make my comment about the fact that the hardcore guys were just punk wannabes who showed up too late. Some critcs say Germs lyrics are brilliant, but I've read them while listening to the tracks and still couldn't make them out - at times, I was sure I had the wrong song. However, I will say honestly, that I like this at least twice as much as all the hardcore that's been sent our way so far.

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1

I'd rather listen to a drill having a go at a concrete wall

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1

the worst thing I have ever heard...songs 1 and 2. Didn't even click on 3

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1

sounds like random yells. horrible

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