Year 5, Day 33: Hardcore’s most influential album… “Damaged”

Year 5, Day 33: Black Flag – Damaged

black_flag_-_damaged_cover

Track List

  1. Rise Above
  2. Spray Paint
  3. Six Pack
  4. What I See
  5. TV Party
  6. Thirsty and Miserable
  7. Police Story
  8. Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie
  9. Depression
  10. Room 13
  11. Damaged II
  12. No More
  13. Padded Cell
  14. Life of Pain
  15. Damaged I

About the Album

Damaged is the debut studio album from American hardcore punk band, Black Flag. Recorded in August of 1981. the album was released on December 5, 1981 through SST Records. The album was considered by many experts and fans to one of the genre defining and quintessential hardcore punk albums.

Thoughts on the Album

The 1980’s were a quagmire for most genres of music, but none bigger than the west coast, California punk scene. That is where Black Flag and debut album, 1981’s Damaged comes in. A visceral and imposing physical presence, Damaged has yet to find an equal. There is a ferocity on this album that can’t be contained. Black Flag illustrate their problems and frustrations in an incredibly vivid and enthralling manner. What you get is the sound of pure adolescent rage lashing out, but in a manner that is more than just a whole ‘nother layer of noise. It’s delivered with such conviction, vigor, and precision that is elevated to an art form.

The album is fast paced, loud, raw, and gut-wrenching. Rise Above acts not only as the album’s opener, but as the catalyst. At almost two and half minutes long, it’s faced paced and in your face.

Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!

It is a song that details the relationship between the general public and hardcore punk scene. A song about how the band will rise above the restrictions of society. Blink and you’ll miss the second track, Spray Paint. 34 seconds and it’s over before you know it. It’s quick, punchy, and catchy.

TV Party, is probably one of the strangest, and funniest songs I’ve ever heard. It is more of a hardcore punk “party” song. It’s set up with gang vocals. Satire and parody at it’s finest. A song that criticizes the lazy beer drinking fools who will at every moment, make any excuse to stay inside and watch television, instead of taking risks and venturing out into the world. Six Pack, mocks those alcoholics and drug abusers for their weak excuses. Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie, a song that mocks the selfish for their attitudes. It’s songs like these that paint a picture of a sense of vague hopelessness that blankets both the hardcore community and humanity in general. But it comes back to Rise Above, which can be viewed as a positive anthem.

Conclusion

While there are no bad songs per se, there are quite a few mediocre ones. That seems to plague the punk genre a lot. It’s an incredibly solid album that deserves all the praise it receives. Tracks like Rise Above, Six Pack, TV Party, Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie, and Thirsty and Miserable really make the album shine. Considering how “controversial” the album was and how it could “brought upon the fall of America’s youth”, it serves as a guide for many in punk. It’s become an important album of it’s time (and from it’s time).

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