GI, stylized as (GI), is the only studio album by American punk rock band the Germs. Often considered the first full-length hardcore punk album, it was released in the United States in October 1979 on Slash Records with catalog number SR 103. The album was later released in Italy in 1982 by Expanded Music with the catalog EX 11. The album's title is an acronym for "Germs Incognito", an alternate name the band used to obtain bookings when their early reputation kept them out of Los Angeles-area clubs. After (GI)'s release, the band would only undertake one more recording session, for the soundtrack album to Al Pacino's 1980 film Cruising. On December 7, 1980, a year after the release of (GI), vocalist Darby Crash killed himself. The entire album was included on the 1993 compilation CD (MIA): The Complete Anthology. In 2012, (GI) was reissued on CD with "Caught in My Eye" as a bonus track, after "Shut Down".Wikipedia
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.
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.
Proof that music is whatever people will make and whatever other people will listen to, everything else is extra.
the fucking worst noise i’ve ever listened to.
Awesome punk album. Crazy that it was made in '79. Wonderfully produced, every instrument comes in clear, while still being chaotically punk.
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.
Not unlistenable, but not my style.
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.
Great classic punk.
An important album for LA/hardcore punk, and it still sounds great and powerful
A mad band, though only the rhythm section benefits, musically speaking. Hardcore moves fast enough that misses and hits are obvious; Remarkably, Germs veers back and forth between success and failure in the space of seconds. Repeatedly. This is a remarkable set to have captured on wax. The bass and forward momentum carry a listen or two and one hopes there are grimy depths to plumb.
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
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.
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”
Raw, sneering, blistering, hyper-paced, classic punk album. The lyrics are pretty impossible to fully discern by ear but surprisingly smart and eloquent. It's incredibly biting political and social commentary, some of the best. Listen, the go read the lyrics to catch the full measure of what this band was about. Album is not on Spotify, go to YouTube. Fave Songs: Our Way, We Must Bleed, Media Blitz, The Other Newest One, Land of Treason, Strange Notes
4.5 The Ramones may have invented punk, but The Germs invented hardcore... and the genre owes so much to them for it. It's not for everyone, but man it's for me - I couldn't help but bang my head along even though I was working in the office while listening. Darby Crash is an all-time great punk vocalist (RIP) and Pat Smear (later of Nirvana/Foo Fighters fame!) an all-time great guitarist. Would have loved to mosh to these guys. It's really all killer, no filler here - just 38 minutes of raw, uncut punk. Yeah, not the most versatile record to exist, and maybe some songs blend together, but dammit I had a great time with every single track. Special shoutout to Lexicon Devil for being one of the greatest punk songs ever written. Would listen again in a heartbeat... though probably need to take a minute to calm my anarchical urges. Favorite songs: Liked them all, but love Lexicon Devil
No need for a coffee wake-me-up this morning. "(GI)" is the only studio album from the LA punk band The Germs and it is often considered the first full hard-core punk album...GI standing for Germs Incognito. Oh, and it rocks in a pretty relentless way. The album was produced by no other than Joan Jett as the band were big fans of The Runaways. The band consisted of the charismatic (in a hardcore punk way) lead singer Darby Crash, Pat Smear (guitar, he might have been in a few subsequent bands), Lorna Doom (bass) and Don Bolles (drums). The music is pretty much straight-forward hard-core punk..the musicians are top-notch for what they are playing and Darby is unique with his sneer and lyrics. And the lyrics appear to be pretty autobiographical and sometimes political although I'm not sure if it's serious or tongue and cheek or both. This music is very influential; I hear early Husker Du and just about every other hard-core punk band. The album kicks off and the stage is set with the 43 second "What We Do Is Secret." Here's the Incognito. "Communist Eyes" is just a great hard-core song..thumping bass, Smear's guitar, Darby's sneer. Seeing through the Communist eyes. Hard to tell if he's serious or not but he compares it to a double-edge sword and suppression. "Lexicon Devil" might be their biggest song. Kind of a classic rock guitar riff. Has to be autobiographical with a leader making people believe anything with words. "Manimal" is slower and more in the heavy metal category, at least in the beginning. Humans have the power to nature and destroy. The second side starts with "Media Blitz" and comments on media control. "The Other Newst One" is the closest thing to a pop song. It's slower..very Ramones-esque. The band goes horror and Black Sabbath at the end with "Shut Down (Annihilation Man)." This nine-minute long song was recorded live in the studio. Darby brings all his evil out and comments on Joan Jett, Sid Vicious and a lot more. An appropriate way to the end. The first time I came across The Germs was in the film "The Decline of Western Civilization" which prominently featured Darby Crash. I think I went immediately out and tried to find a Germs' album. I need to watch this again. (GI) is a great and influential album. I actually think The Germs were one of the highlights of western civilization in the 20th century...there was a lot worse.
Another one of these 'influential but not actually entertaining to listen to' ones
Les Minutemerde ont encore échoué dans leur couverture, on les reconnait immédiatement.
Classic album. If only Darby lived.
Hard punk f******
One of my favorites albums of all time
5 Absolute quintessential punk fucking rock. Lexicon Devil is what got me started (s/o THUG2) and I’ve listen so many times since. Top shit
A proto-hardcore classic
Great classic punk
Classic punk, hilarious start for these guys, but a great addition to punk history
Echt lekkere harde California punk. Zit ook nog wel een hitje op
In 1979?!? Nonstop action like a grindhouse film of music.
yaaas lawd, yaaaassss
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.
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.
Fun good punk album, I'm always amazed listening to such old punk albums that would still hold up today.
Explosive! These guys are from California but sound like a DC band. Loved the voices and the aggressive snare sound
This was excellent, loved it. Like a cross between Dead Kennedys and the Ramones. Definitely a keeper!
Nasty and heavy
Unfortunately most of this album was not available on Spotify. I found it all on YouTube. It was pretty good.
Punk with rhythm. Love it
Not my cup of tea but I can why it was influential on hardcore punk.
16 songs, 38 minutes. One of those tracks is 25% of the album. This alone was enough to make me think I'd enjoy this one and I was not disappointed
Très solide punk, belle découverte, définitivement à réessayer
Solid old school punk.
Over forty years old and still sounds fresh.
A lot of energy but didn't really stand out for me. I'd never heard it before, so that was good.
Classic punk rock at its finest.
Sometimes these foundational cornerstones of a genre leave me less impressed but I could see the point of the hype on this one. The sound is iconic, the lyrical sensibility clever, self-aware, and very punk. No love on YouTube music though, another where I ended up finding an (easily searchable, clearly identified, complete and decent quality) YouTube video on some unofficial channel, still can’t figure out how that works other than I guess no one is trying to fight it.
Punk is not my genre but I didn't hate this.
violent genius but oh, so sad
Amazing early punk album
This album is so critical and crucial to so much music that was insprired by and came after it. The bass is mixed perfectly on this thing, I wish all hardcore/punk albums sounded this good. Incredible record.
This was very cool. My favorite part was when the official Spotify lyrics said [Incomprehensible].
Yep, that's punk alright.
Listen, I love punk. Like, I REALLY love punk. But this one is rough. It's frantic and aggressive and unrelenting and young Darby sure does want you to work to get past his vocals. That said, the musicianship is really on point. These grooves are just so good. But here's what I love the most about it: this came out the same year as The Clash's "London Calling" and, though both punk, the two couldn't be more different. While The Clash was playing with adding in jazz, reggae, and pop influences, Germs was like, "how hard can we go before we break something important?" I'm reminded of a quote from the great indie film, "SLC Punk" where Stevo is talking about the UK/US punk debate: "I don't know who started it, and I don't give a shit. The one thing I know is that we did it harder, we did it faster, and we definitely did it with more love baby." The Germs support the argument. We did it harder.
Classic hardcore punk with some decent moments - Richie Dagger's Crime a definite highlight. I do have a huge soft spot for LA punk, and this lot certainly make the cut.
what production alchemy did 70s punk bands use to make their drums sound like that
Great for so early
I actually listened to 90% of this last week when it came up, but never got back to it until today and then started from the beginning again. One of the things I've enjoyed about this project is that it's helping correct some of my blind spots when it comes to classic punk. Before drawing this, I'd only known Germs by reputation and due to Pat Smear playing with Nirvana in their later days. This was my first (and second) time listening and I loved it. Took a bit of time to get accustomed to Darby Crash's vocals but the music kept me riveted enough to keep my interest in the meanwhile - the bass sound throughout, in particular. Definitely see myself resisting this one! 4/5
Very raw fun punk album, something to be in the mood for but very interesting
Germs are cool
Who says you have to know how to play an instrument to make good music?
Hardcore punk rock is a lot to take. But it gets the job done!
Nice discovery more pop than I would have expected
Actually not that bad, even though a bit raw for me
Band is good. Guys voice doesn't do it for me.
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.
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.
Bah, it's kind of a fun story, but not particularly excited about this album
Good but higher energy than my background work music
Most of this album is pretty bad, but I did enjoy Lexicon Devil and "shut down." 5/10 album.
Never heard of this band or any of the songs. I'm enjoying some of this old punk.
Good punk sound with unintelligible lyrics.
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.
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
Crusty early punk with surprisingly tight musicianship and solid drumming. Spotify only had 4 tracks available, would love to hear more.
Spotify did not have the full album, only some mixed records. Not bad, but really tough to tell from very rough live songs.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Punk en estado puro. Un tanto ruidoso y prácticamente todas parecidas. Me gusta el punk, pero más melódico. En ocasiones, demasiado estridente
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.
Punk rock! And the best kind, short and quick. I could imagine that this album possibly influenced many an underground punk band afterwards.
Rating: 6/10 Best songs: The gash
Standard Punk. The album they referenced was not fully available on spotify so I could not listen to the whole thing.
Listened to about 5 mins of this. I get it. I don’t think I really care for early ass punk music…
Interesting to see this listed as the first hardcore punk album ever! Glad to have listened. In terms of actual music, it felt slightly better than most early punk albums. I'd say a 3.5 at the beginning...shrinking to a 3 with some of the later tracks, but back to a strong 3.5 when considering the influence and what hardcore grew into!