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

Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

Dead Kennedys

1980

Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

Album Summary

Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables is the debut studio album by the American punk rock band Dead Kennedys. It was first released on September 2, 1980, through Cherry Red Records in the United Kingdom, and later issued by Jello Biafra's own Alternative Tentacles label in the United States. It is the only Dead Kennedys album to feature drummer Bruce Slesinger and guitarist Carlos Cadona.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.17

Votes

3295

Genres

  • Punk
Reviews
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5

I think what makes the Dead Kennedys one of my favorite punk bands is multifaceted, but a major point of that is that it's not just angry-three-chords. There's elements of surf rock and even some early horror stuff on this record. East Bay Ray is a fantastic guitarist and second to maybe only Joe Strummer. Jello Biafria's lyrics, sarcastic-yet-serious delivery really seals the deal as well. Favorite tracks: "California Uber Alles", "Kill the Poor", "Holiday In Cambodia", "Let's Lynch the Landlord"

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5

This album inspired me to become a poli sci major. When I was 14 I made a choker made from an old white crew neck t-shirt collar on which I sharpied the words "economy is looking bad, time to start a war." It went well with my homemade iron-on "jail to the thief" anti-Bush patch.

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5

Classic British punk

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5

Thoroughly enjoyable and nicely varied for a punk album. I didn't feel like I was listening to the same slurred song for thirty-five minutes like I often do with bad punk. There's also just a lot of great songs on here. 'Kill the Poor,' 'California Uber Alles,' 'Holiday in Cambodia,' I could go on. This was a great introduction to the Dead Kennedys!

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5

Dead Kennedys honed the hardcore punk sound unlike any other band at the time. While other big bands like Black Flag, Bad Brains, and Minor Threat got really good at playing loud and fast, Dead Kennedys did that while also wielding razor-sharp lyrics to give hardcore a pointedly political edge to it's attitude. Let's Lynch the Landlord, California über alles, and Chemical Warfare are not just for moshing in the pit! Stylistically, the boys pull from a few other sources for inspiration. Surf punk, notably used by the B-52's, gives Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables plenty of personality. This is combined with vocalist Jello Biafra, whose iconic voice and energy gives Dead Kennedys a lot of prominence. Further setting themselves apart from the other hardcore punks bands at the time, Dead Kennedys utilize varied songwriting to keep things fresh. Holiday in Cambodia, for example, uses dynamic changes in the intro and breakdown to great effect. When it comes to the simple high-energy riffs though, they still know how to bring the house down. East Bay Ray's noisy guitar and Ted's tight drums deliver killer punk sounds in spades. I would be remiss not to mention Klaus Flouride on bass, who expertly keeps up with the band while holding down a perfectly solid bass groove. This is obviously hardcore punk perfection. What more could you want from a band who calls out snide college leftists who think they know how great state communism is? Pol. Pot.

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4

NAZI PUNKS FUUUUUUUUUUUCK OOOOOFF

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2

Not really my thing, I didn’t find it entertaining and most songs weren’t good

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5

Nothing like a trip back to my punk high school days, love dead Kennedys, a great album

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5

Great, with a couple of benchmark punk tracks and the others all very very good.

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5

one of the best punk albums ever..brilliant!

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5

I cannot overstate how much of a vibe this album is. Doesn't matter that it was made over 40 years ago.

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5

Love this, though took a while to get used to JB voice again.

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5

A pure classic hardcore punk album with intelligent and deeply sarcastic lyrics mixed with surf guitar and elastic band vocals. Lots of punks weren't expecting that. Best Tracks: Kill The Poor; Holiday In Cambodia; Viva Las Vegas

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5

Still love this album after all these years.

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5

It's going to be five stars if you don't want to read the rest. Basically, when I was about 10 I heard about the Sex Pistols and they sounded like the most exciting thing ever. They were okay but a bit ploddy and the singer seemed like a Wally. This, with its breakneck pace, vicious humour and sheer anarchic fun, is the band I wanted the Pistols to be.

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5

Если Холидей то ?

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5

Song called "Let's Lynch the Landlord" = instant 5 stars Song called "I Kill Children = instant 5 stars 14 tracks but the whole album is barely 30 minutes? = instant 5 stars.

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5

Great album, huge part of my personal punk renaissance of 2020-2022

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4

Enjoyable but I agree that Jello Biafra’s vocal delivery leaves something to be desired. Still, highly amusing.

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4

I've listened to this a couple of times before a few years and it never really hit me properly but I really enjoyed it this time round It's just incredibly frenetic and unapologetic punk, with some really bizarre lead guitar lines and inspired vocal delivieries that make it stick out from the more by-the-numbers punk bands

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4

I loved DKs as a teenager, so great to find that their music definitely holds up. I love Jello Biafra's warbling voice, which is filled with equal parts scornful disdain and childish humour. Also love East Bay Ray's trademark surf-style guitar which is so characteristic of the DK sound. Some of the songs the puerile silliness gets too much, but this still blows must punk albums out of the water. 4.5*

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4

It sounds a little bit dated, but still one of the best punk records of all time!

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4

još uvijek imam u bilježnici maloj koju mi je Lucija kupila da si zapisujem iza Becka šta je sve bilo jer se inače ne sjećam baš kristalno jasno, jutro sutradan. al se ipak sjećam kad su mi jedna grupica ljudi pisali u tu bilježnicu albume koje trebam poslušati, inače pankeri su i to društvo znate. ovaj album je odmah bio prvi za preslušavanje, prošlo je 4-5 godina sigurno, a ja se nisam udostojio poslušati u cijelosti album ili bar ono sjetit se to preslušat, i evo ga, došlo je vrijeme. /// razumijem da, veoma važan album na punk sceni, energetski potkrepljen, sirov, buntovan, anarhija brate! Pogotovo je sjeo sinoć nakon živciranja.

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4

Once you get past the wobbly voice, there's plenty to like here. Best track: Holiday in Cambodia

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4

I find myself quite conflicted. "Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables" is political, fast, and urgent, with much brilliant pointed commentary and erudite references. It is also satirical almost to a fault, and trying to parse the attempted wit from the caricature that is Jello Biafra may be futile. The spirit behind the album is passionate and infectious and quite commendable, but listen too closely and it may fall apart a bit. Biafra is apparently not an anarchist, though you could understandably mistake him for one on some tracks. It's the overboard satire that seems designed to push all of the buttons that leads to confusion. But not an actual anarchist, which is good, because while an interesting thought experiment, anarchy is idiotic. "California Uber Alles" was the most notable shark-jumper for me. Comparing Jerry Brown to Nazis is a bit much. And here I thought comparing anyone slightly more fascist than yourself to actual Nazis was more of a 21st century thing. And through no fault of this 1980-released album, today may have been the wrong day to listen to "I Kill Children," regardless of the intended meaning and effect of the song. There is a lot to like here, though, and Dead Kennedys' influence cannot be mistaken. Political punk this angry rose to the surface again in the 1990s with Rage Against the Machine and System of a Down, the latter of which I definitely hear developing out of DK's surf-rock spaz. I think both of those bands do it better though, toning down the satire a little in exchange for more bite.

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4

Ooh some punk! The album opens with the song kill the poor the start of the song is rather anthemic but after a short bit of time it forms into a rather good punk song. Then is forward to death a fast paced minute long rocker it does good for its time limit but not great. Exactly the same with when ya get drafted. Lets lynch the landlord is a banger though a proper punk tune screaming, poor production just great amazing energy! Drug me like tracks 2-3 is a ball of pure energy but somehow I just prefer this. Your emotions on the other hand is just a good piece of energy nothing too special but works. Chemical warfare ends side one it’s one of the longer, better ones yeah just great really especially when it slows an odd highlight. Starting off side two is California über lines it has a great build up at the start this is one of the longer and slower songs but it’s still brilliant for a punk band. I kill children starts off quite cool with the spoken bit, the song eventually turns into a punky affair filled with lots of pauses and silence for effect. Stealing peoples mail is another one of those just great energy but little song kinda things still good though. Funland at the beach goes for a similar thing but it has some brilliant guitar work in comparison to the other short energetic ones. Ill in the head is alright probably my least favourite I mean it’s alright but the guitar breaks don’t work for how frequently they occur. Now for the penultimate track and the albums longest ( by far) holiday in Cambodia the intro to this is odd and unnecessary but after it forms this amazing track great guitars especially yeah the best song! The album closes with an Elvis cover in the form of viva las vegas it’s only really a song that I know through the chorus but it’s actually a decent rendition better than I thought they would do. One of the better punk albums but not my favourite the typical rule here is the longer the song the better.

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4

Good, very Sex Pistols, completely unsurprisingly.

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4

This is one of my favorite punk albums ever. it's got cracking tunes that barrel along at a breakneck pace, without becoming repetitive. The songs are smart and funny, and Jello Biafra presents them with force and charisma. It is serious, but never self-serious. Following Holiday in Cambodia (an all-time classic) with a cover of Viva Las Vegas is the perfect encapsulation of what is great about this record. There's always room for Jello.

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4

If you were angry and disaffected in the 1980s, the Dead Kennedys were your band. There is a singular anger and urgency to this music that's startling the first time you hear it. It's noisy, snotty, hectic, and full of attitude. But there's more. There's point of view and and a sharp satirical edge. The comparisons to the Sex Pistols are apt, except DK are smarter, more musically sophisticated, more politically minded, and not at all concerned with their own image. Their lyrics are far more caustic and outlandish. But sometimes they're also incredibly incisive. "Kill the Poor" is basically "A Modest Proposal" for the nuclear age. 40 years on, some of the politics feels almost quaint (like, who would write a song about Jerry Brown now?), but some of it is still timely in today's political climate. Jello Biafra's vocal is perfect for this kind of music - authoritative, pissed off, occasionally snide and/or bemused. This isn't for everyone, but it's a really important album in the development of American punk and hardcore, and it's never boring. High 3, bumped to 4. Fave Songs: California über alles, Funland at the Beach, Viva Las Vegas, Holiday in Cambodia, Stealing People's Mail, When Ya Get Drafted

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4

La punk serait elle en train de devenir seduisante? Les Dead Kennedys nous font nous poser la question quelques albums après leurs camarades des Hives. Les cannettes de bières et les coliers à piques semblent en effet avoir été abandonné par la cause punk. Affaire à suivre.

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4

Good punk album, reminds me of Sex Pistols a bit

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4

Intense, interesting, lots of attitude and character.

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4

geggjað

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4

Their surf-rock influence really stands out here.

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4

Now I’m not a fan of punk but this is something I can actually get behind. While it’s angry and still kind of ugly it does have a sense of fun that I’ve not heard from other first wave punk bands. The original pressing doesn’t out stay it’s welcome and I was even pleased to heard Police Truck on the extended version (as the whole thing did make me want to listen to Tony Hawk songs)

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4

Lekker! De stem van Biafra is zo herkenbaar, ik word daar altijd vrolijk van.

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4

Classic punk rock! Proudly own a copy of this.

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4

Side A: American punk was inevitable, and its characteristic elements are nice to hear even if the genre tends toward one note. The B side blows all that away. The Kennedys get weird, timeless (California), and manage to pack the second half of a brief record with impressive musical working.

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4

This is punk rock. Well informed and insightful lyrics, fast paced and driving sound, middle finger to the establishment. I think I have to go overthrow a government now.

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4

how they make music if dead

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4

Ganska bra!!!!

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4

Bangers with little to no downtime inbetween. This albums reminds of something that I’ve noticed while listening to quite a few classic punk records, that being the music’s suprising sophistication in comparison to it’s stereotype of being simple

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4

Baaaaangers man stor fyra!

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4

this feels like a bunch of teenagers with strong political opinions coming together and writing beserk but powerful songs

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4

Reminds me of playing Tony Hawks on the ps1 and I love it for that

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4

Mérite définitivement une place dans les 1001. Un des meilleurs albums de early punk qui existe

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3

3/5 did not make it.

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3

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! Me gusta, me gusta, sí, ese aroma a lo que Duff McKagan aportó a GN'R, esa cosa cruda y cagarse de risa, total ya está todo mal. Sí, aguante.

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3

Liked it! Don't recall ever listening to much from this group.

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3

Another US act I've been meaning to check out, that got thrown at me this week. Good hard rocking punk.

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3

DKs were massive when I was at school. I was only ever a casual listener. This was sure no holiday in Vietnam.

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3

Better than I expected. I mostly avoid US punk.

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3

Context is everything. Holiday in Cambodia and California, Kill the Poor and Über Alles are classic. But, if listening to this album for the first time and knowing nothing about Jello Biafra or the time of this album, I'd hate it. Eric Speichert had acquired the infamous Frankenchrist 12" (the album after FFfRV) with original fold-out insert and brought it to school. He was avid vinyl collector and super proud of that album. For me, my fourteen-year-old self was super-excited (pun intended) to see the penis / vagina insert (pun intended). But super-let-down when he showed it to everyone... LAAAME... "This is why everyone was pissed off...? There's no context... you can't even see anything..." Looking back on this, Biafra was the perfect loudmouth, antagonizer punk rock advocate for free speech. He (and ICE-T) helped build resistance against Tipper Gore's drive to censor musicians and scale back first amendment rights. But today, that's all forgotten, glossed over. We all understand and expect those rights. The 'free speech vs. censorship' fight no longer exists. That fight has evolved into who can out free speech each other? Who can be the most nasty, vile, personal, incendiary and provocative. Oh, and bonus points are scored if it inflicts in anxiety, mental anguish, or suicide. The genie is out of the box and looking back at some of Biafra's sarcasm, double-talk and weasely antics in today's world, It's hard not to discard him for being a troll who likes to hear himself instigate and watch shit burn. It's even harder to look back at your once punk rock icons like Biafra (and even Excene Cervenka) and think to yourself, "I know they weren't perfect, but is it possible they could've been terrible people all along...?" As for the music on this album, it's loud, obtrusive, maniacal and chaotic. Great for what it was and in the context for which it existed... but time moves on, and and this album hasn't time traveled well.

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3

Classic punk album, I was surprised by how many songs I recognized (and liked). The rest of the album doesn't really hold up to the hits in my opinion, and I don't see myself really putting this on a lot.

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3

My attitude about political or activist music has been going downhill a long time... It’s hard to feel like it really affects anything, and it all ends up on Google Play advancing the cause of neoliberal capitalism... still, this did dare to be more objectionable than most, and rocks pretty hard throughout. Biafra makes some weird singing choices but you can’t deny it’s distinct.

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3

3/5 Herd this for the first time just last week, now here it is on this list. One of the best of the genre that I've heard. Chemical Warfare, California Uber Alles, I Kill Children, Holiday in Cambodia, and Even Viva Las Vegas...all songs I enjoyed!

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3

Cet album a eu le mérite d'attiser ma curiosité étant données les récentes découvertes de mon camarade d'écoute eltrapeze au sujet de l'implication de Jim Morrison dans la mort de JFK. Affaire à suivre.

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3

Not a fan of punk music but quite enjoyed this. Holiday in Cambodia and Let's Lynch The Landlord are really fun. The vocalist is pretty enjoyable too.

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3

I remember this band, and I had heard a few of these tracks before. It was a good reminder for me that this album was recorded and released as long ago as it was. I didn't hear much punk or anything close to it until the mid- and late-80s, so my memory sometimes conflates my first hearing something with the time of an album's release, so I had always associated this band with late 80s. I actually like knowing those things because, for me at least, understanding the social, political, and cultural context in which an album was created and released adds a lot to the experience. Thinking of American culture and politics in the late 70s, and especially San Francisco's -- where Jello Biafra ran for mayor in '79 -- and the assassination of Harvey Milk, etc., the energy and frenetic style of this album feels spot on. This group performs so well. Weird, wild, and fun (as well as funny at times), but doesn't go so far off the rails that it all denigrates to my ears into abstract cacophony, which can happen sometimes for me when listening to punk/thrash and similar styles. Good stuff here.

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3

El punk era esto. Aquí hay inspiración de más de una banda. Temazos como "Kill the poor" o "California Uber Alles". Esto si hay que escucharlo al menos una vez.

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3

Old punk still isn't great. California Uber Allies is the only memorable song for a reason

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3

I respected this, but didn't like it. I could tell why it's on the list.

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3

4/14, 29%

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2

I mean this is fine, not particularly a fan of Dead Kennedys or their style of early punk but can appreciate it. 5/10.

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2

Political energetic punk, reminiscent of Sex Pistols, but not quite as tuneful. Not my taste.

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2

Dont like this type of music, really.

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2

Some good some not so good

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2

One of my college roommates loved these guys. He was my inroad into hardcore punk. I did not not like it. The first time I listened to this album (this time) I was enjoying some of it. Nostalgia had something to do with it, but I’ve also come to like proto punk and other punk adjacent genres. There is some good guitar stuff throughout. The energy comes shooting out of the speakers. The lyrical social commentary is anti-establishment, pro-down-trodden, and anarchical. The poor get fucked over and corporations control everything. Not much has changed. Upon second listen (this time), my feelings are similar to those from college. My biggest issue is how Jello Biafra uses his voice, his affectations. It’s thoroughly annoying. The way he sings makes it difficult to understand the lyrics. Maybe that’s part of the point, but I had to look them up. To end on a positive note, I do like Holiday in Cambodia.

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2

I get that it's an important album but fuck me Jello Biafra is insufferable.

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2

2.5 / 5. Not bad for a first listen. I can definitely get into this one. need to hear it more though.

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2

Fine.

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2

Although I love their politics I found them a little too one note.

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2

Too heavy for me - appreciate the talent but I’m not into this sun-genre

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2

Low-variation punk. Not horrible, but does nothing for me. 2/5

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2

Lekker rauw, maar toch iets te punk en noisy.

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2

It is a punk rock album. The lyrics are really eccentric. It was kinda of meh overall but that is all punk rock albums. It was relatively short, but there were 14 songs. I will not be revisiting the album.

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2

Engelse punkrock. Leuke melodie'tjes, maar beetje vervelende zangstem. Wel geinig, niet heel geweldig. **

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2

Not for me.

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2

I only kinda dig it

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1

Ulgh, another Punk Album with hardly any musical variation within the album and between other punk albums. Viva las vegas was the only fun song to listen too, but that's a cover..

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1

Icky

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1

holiday in cambodia is the best song on this album and it still sucks

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1

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, wat akelig.

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1

Nope, not for me.

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