Propagandhi
How to Clean Everything


4.5
superb

Review

by Pete Mossberg USER (22 Reviews)
June 16th, 2006 | 31 replies | 11,915 views


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist


4 of 4 thought this review was well written

When I, and most people with me, think of Propagandhi today, we think of a bunch of grumpy old cynics who emerge once a decade to deliver a slab of disgruntled, political progressive thrash. However, everyone was young once, and so were propagandhi back in 1993 (that's right - predating the 1994 "punk" rock explosion). Back then, they were revolutionary bubble gum-punks who played fast, happy-go-pissed-off skatepunk for a select audience, which got them signed to up-and-coming label Fat Wreck (which I assume needs no further introduction). In the vein of then only labelmates Lagwagon, this record is filled with major key hooks and catchy riffs (as opposed to the significantly more somber and serious Propagandhi of latter days).

Opening the album is "Anti-Manifesto" (which could be considered the album's single, since it appeared on the first Fat compilation, "Fat Music for Fat People") sets the tone for the music, and a closer look at the lyrics should (but not necessarily "would") scare away the most mindless and shallow of listeners, as they profess their strive to be something more than a faded sticker on a skateboard. That being said and sung, the band plows through a plethora of subjects, all of them being on the opinionated side of things and most of them being verbal boots to the crotch of modern society. Like second track "Head? Chest? Or Foot?" and third track "Hate, Myth, Muscle, Etiquette" alike, both sharing the same subtext; get off your ass and do something about the state of the shithole we're living in. You need a good kick in the ass; oppose them or let them destroy us.

As history would tell us, then bass player John Samson would later go on to form emo-rock group The Weakerthans, and his penchant for cutesy, self-deprecating prose is already evident here, in the first verse of "Showdown (G.E./P.)" (G.E. being short for John's part of the song, "Green Eyes" and P being short for some big word that's the title of Chris' part of the song). A bit malplaced, one could think. And yes, it is. But if you think about it, it's no more out of place than ditzy comic relief song "Ska Sucks" - an anti-ska ska song is just the kind of pre-pubescent humor Propagandhi grew out of, for better or for worse. For what it is, the "a message to you, Rudy"-reference is a chuckle.

But you can always trust Propagandhi to always shift back into "agitated"-mode before too long, and they never let you down. Song titles like "Middle Finger Response", "Stick the Fucking Flag up Your Goddam Ass, You Sonofabitch" and "Fuck Machine" would probably warrant a "Parental Advisory"-sticker on the cover, but they speak their clear language. Whether speeding at 200BPM through poppy numbers about sexism and the apathetic middle class or breaking it down with minor key guitar picking while dissecting militarism and fatuous patriotism, Propagandhi does it with the perfect balance between intelligent dogma and blatant fuck you's. Even second novelty song, reggae-spoof "Haille Selassie, Up Your Ass", delivers a sharp-teethed message against organized fanaticism and the militarism it inevitably leads to.

Closing the album is the track most reminiscent of today's more disheartened Propagandhi - "Who Will Help Me Bake this Bread?" is a borderline-desperate plea for people to actually utilize the independent mind they were born with, this message brought to you by one of the best songs on the album, alongside the opening track and "Stick the Fucking Flag Up Your"-gah, you know which one I mean. After the last real song, the boys manage to squeeze in yet another joke-song with a cover of Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me" (cleaverly retitled "i want 2 vant me") in classic skatecore manner, and leading that into 7 tracks of the members saying the word "fuck" a bunch of times. Whether or not this is meant to further cement their urgent message is still unclear to me.

With a sound influenced by a few bands (like NOFX and RKL) and stolen by so many more (like NOFX), this album is nothing short of a classic. And even though Propagandhi may denounce it now, it's a prime example of how fast, melodic skate punk should be played, and it stands its ground to this day. The only reason this reviewer doesn't give it a full score is either that he's bitter or because sometimes impact is sacrificed for slapstick.



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user ratings (247)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ibanezman575
June 16th 2006



15 Comments


good review, great cd

skavid
June 16th 2006



7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great album, great band, and great review.

Zebra
Moderator
June 16th 2006



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this album. Ska Sucks is always fun to listen to even though I enjoy ska.
Nice work on the review, you did this album justice.

kno_kontrol
June 16th 2006



448 Comments


grrrr, I was working on this review. Oh well, you did a good job nonetheless. This album is pretty great I think, Anti-Manifesto has a great melody to it.

smokersdieyounger
June 16th 2006



672 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like it all except the cover track, the swearing and haile sellassie. Great record though.

Laafe
June 16th 2006



347 Comments


whats a good introduction to this band?

great review btw.

Zesty Mordant
June 16th 2006



1196 Comments


This is a pretty good album, but I prefer the post-Samson Propagandhi of TETA and PCL.
Plus, Samson would go on to form Weakerthans and they equally kick ass.

ThisUserIsAPipebomb
June 17th 2006



39 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Best Propagandhi CD in my opinion. It's amazing. A classic that really shaped the way I view the world and punk.


Good review too.

STFDood84
June 17th 2006



179 Comments


Really good CD and a borderline pop-punk classic, but nowhere as good as TETA or PCL, and it can get repetitive at times. Todd just fits the band and message better than John did back on their first two albums. And btw reviewer dude, NOFX has been around since 1983, Prop since 1990. Who's ripping off who? Bad Religion, No Use For A Name, and NOFX all but created the skate-punk sound WAY before Propagandhi even formed.

tom79
June 17th 2006



3365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Middle Finger Response is very good, probably my favrote from this at the moment.

Digging: David Dondero - South of the South

Pete
June 17th 2006



189 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

STFDood84 - Seriously, I clearly stated than Propagandhi stole their sound from NOFX, and that NOFX later stole their sound fomr Propagandhi. Heck, Fat Mike even said that if NOFX were to become a cover band for one band, he'd want it to be Propagandhi. I know my sh!t, dude. Probably better than you. Also, I tried to be a little light and comical in my tone in the review, but you didn't get that so nevermind.

jaredrl
June 19th 2006



99 Comments


*claps

I really wanna listen to this. Fat Mike said it was Fat Wreck's best release.

Pete
June 19th 2006



189 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow, cool, my first featured review

RandyfromPennywise
June 21st 2006



752 Comments


Nice review there Pete.

stinkypoptart
September 4th 2006



1169 Comments


i, like ska sucks. these guys seem like they're pretty good.

LearntoSwim
November 17th 2007



68 Comments


which album is "fuc k religion" on? i have it on a burned cd but i cant find the actual album it's from.

armchairidealist
May 3rd 2008



12 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The highlight of this album is 'Hate, Myth, Muscle, Etiquette'. There's one line 'comfort, convenience, placating, construed to suck me in to their trap- i need a good kick in the ass!'. I don't think the depoliticisation( is that a word) of ordianary people has ever been so perfectly described.

descendents1
May 3rd 2008



702 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That song is so good.

FirstDrop
May 4th 2008



4 Comments


fucking good album!

StrizzMatik
August 9th 2008



3183 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album is Prop's weakest by far, IMO.



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