Today I got thinking hard about Fugazi “Repeater“. I have never really associated with punk rock music much. When I was young, impressionable, and full of anger it was Industrial that filled that void for me. Generally if I found myself drawn to punk it was the style with glib humor (Dead Milkmen, Dead Kennedy’s, The Clash, The Dammed). Surely never the post hardcore scene. This was the exception though. I bought a cassette of Fugazi Repeater when I was 15 and I played it until the tape wouldn’t play any more. Sometimes we find a record that transcends genre. Those that read this page (I’m making a big assumption that many people do) know the real focus is on new albums specifically in the dark genre. Today I want to step outside of both constraints and pose this question.
When thinking on this question, what checks the boxes for me? Because it is a big question. I hope one worth thinking about.
What was my criteria?
- Is it real? When I, a white boy from Velveeta Valley Clarkston hear gangsta rap can I comprehend or relate? Not really. However when I hear Biggie Smalls, do I know real from an image when i hear it? Maybe. That is what Iam MacKaye and Fugazi was to me. They truly embodied the concept of anti consumption punk rock. They didn’t just say Anarchy in the UK. They lived it. They would only do shows for $5 and lived the ideals they preached.
- Did it stand up? So I spun this album 3 times today after not thinking about it for a decade. It still stands up. The music embraces the spit and vinegar of The Stooges, while showing the complexity and expertise not associated with peers in this style. The lyrics were thought provoking and hit you on a different level today then they did the last time you listened. Like a great book. I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy 7 times in my life. 14/17/24/29/32/36/41. Every single time it has held a new meaning and an new weight. That’s how i felt while spinning Repeater today.
- Did it change me? This aspect goes to impact. I have a lot of records in my top 30 albums in any genre. They all had a big influence on what music means to me. I do think with a good portion of them you could group together these 7, these 5, these three. Repeater is really outside the box for me. Yet it still told a story about who I was. About who I would become. About how I saw the world differently because I had opened my eyes to something I didn’t associate with my self concept. People are not just one thing. We are complex creatures made of a lot of parts. Sometimes the smallest parts have a lot to say about shaping the core of who we are.
So I am very curious as to what is the album that changed you, but is totally outside of the genres you usually listen to? Tell us in the comments below. I will choose the entry I like the best and send you a special prize and publish your answer in Sounds and Shadows.