The Argument



by looozer USER (6 Reviews)
January 16th, 2005 | 16 replies

Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Ian MacKaye Ė guitar/vocals
Guy Piciotto Ė guitar/vocals
Joe Lally Ė bass
Brendan Canty Ė drums
*and there are others, but that is the nuclear, songwriting group

Please allow me a minute to cry out to god and beg that Fugazi make more albums. Okay, now that Iíve had that moment, Iíd like to say that this is my favorite album by one of my favorite bands. Am I biased" Yes. You canít help but love a self-righteous hardcore band that is within 2 hours of you though. The guys from Fughawz (thanks, Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain) have been around since the late 1980s. They started off as an emo band, but evolved throughout the 1990s to become a post-hardcore band. They have intricate instrumentation that leaves you floored. Itís amazing that a band could produce hard music, yet not allow fans to mosh at their concerts. The Argument is a further maturation, and while Fugazi still has the capacity to rock, the lads have matured into songwriters who can use the proverbial pen and sword in creating music.

This is just some empty noise and a cello droning. There are no lyrics, or other instruments that youíd assume Fugazi would use (meaning guitar/bass/drums). For that reason, Iím not going to rate this. You neednít bother to hit your skip button though, because itís short-lived. That brings us toÖ

A full 18 years removed from Minor Threat, Ian MacKaye is still fighting the system. While it does have some grinding guitar parts, it is surprisingly peaceful for a Fugazi song. Itís pretty average for a Fugazi song in terms of quality, but it has a different feel than most. Get used to itÖ this album is the most unique out of their catalogue. 4/5

Full Disclosure
It starts out with some rapid guitar and screams of ďI donít wanna.Ē This is not the most listener-friendly track, and Iím sure many have skipped it. It rewards patience however, and you can hear guy almost whisper the title during the chorus. After a few moments of almost-pop bliss, the boys do what theyíre best at, and it breaks down into an intense instrumental serenade, before finishing like it began. 4/5

Epic Problem
I have heard suggestions that this is about writerís block, but it could be about a variety of issues. If that is the case though, then this is an amazing triumph for Ian. The song builds, driving through a group of progressions that fit together with varying degrees of success. Some hail this as the masterpiece of the album, and they are partially right. Iím assuming they skipped Argument when making that assessment. 4.5/5

Life and Limb
This is a pretty strange song. It isnít exactly boring, but the instrumentation is neither powerful nor catchy for most of the song. The subdued vocal style that works later on in the album does not fit here. If it were a building, it would be the leaning tower of Pisa. It has all the right ingredients, but it turned out a bit crooked. However, this is a poor analogy, as I would much rather look at the tower than listen to this song. 3/5

The Kill
This is one of my favorite songs, and possibly the least Fugazi song since Long Division. Itís slow, calm, and bass-driven. It is peppered by some guitar, but it is relegated from being the main focus for most of the song. As the title suggests, it is likely about a state execution. Those not blessed with patience might fall asleep before the song is over, but the narrarator himself is doing the same. The song ends when Guy discovers a new use for sodium penathol (lyrics!), and the song trails off without much development. 4/5

Fugazi wrote this" This makes The Kill seem par for the course. Itís like you could dance to it. It IS strange, and it has piano in it. Itís all right, but nothing special, and Fugazi can do better than this. 3.5/5

You might as well skip this one. I usually do. It is somewhat worse than Life and Limb, and might be better than a grand total of zero songs in the Fugazi catalogue. Who wants to hear about Guy pissing in your modems anyway" 3/5

You might be thinking that Brendan is a spectacular drummer right about now. Heís good, but the sound youíre hearing is two drums. This is more like it. Ian attempts to inspire listeners and call them into action. He encourages people to become active, and fight for the ideals they believe in rather than apathetically bumbling along in society like 99% of Americans do. This is some pretty intense stuff, with Ianís vocals reminding us of the Minor Threat days while the others provide some intense (and interesting) music as a backdrop. 4.5/5

This song would only be half as cool if you could understand what Guy was singing. The combination of the guitar riff and mumbled vocals really appeals to me, and it evolves into a song withÖ acoustic guitar" It canít be! The song is dissonant, but not overtly so, and it creates an interesting sound without turning off the listener unlike some earlier Fugazi. It ends with a bang, as the band strums a final chord. 4.5/5

This might be the only Fugazi song written post-9/11. While this might seem unlikely, the month between the attacks and this albumís release might have been ample time to record this song in the studio that the band owns. It starts with some quiet radio/television-like noise, and then two starts and stops before the band really cuts in. The band makes good use of the ďoctave chordĒ (which is not actually a chord, but two notes played an octave apart, and commonly used in emo). Ian breaks into a quasi-falsetto voice to deliver the following lines:

When they start falling, executions will commence
Sides will not matter now. matter makes no sense
How did a difference become a disease"
I'm sure you have reason, rational defense
Weapons and motives, bloody fingerprints
But I can't help thinking it's still all disease
Here comes the argument
Here comes the argument
Here comes the argument

It's all about strikes now, so here's what striking me
That some punk could argue some moral abc's
While people are catching what bombers release
Well I'm on a mission to never agree

Here comes the argument
Here comes the argument
Here comes the argument
Here it comes

Ianís voice doesnít sound pained or gut wrenching, but rather listless and depressed for a change. The song is beautiful in the same weird way that Salad Days was. Unfortunately, it might also be the last song for the band, just like Salad Days was for Minor Threat. The distorted guitars kick in at the end, and add the punch necessary to drive home what could be likened to a 21st century Dulce et Decorum Est. 5/5Ö more if possible

Overall Ė 94/100 A
If all the songs were as good as some of the songs, I wouldnít hesitate in giving this album a grade of 100. However, having 3 weak tracks on what is essentially a 10-track CD does not bode well. It begins and especially ends well, but The Kill is the only bright spot in the middle of the record. This effort is extraordinary in some aspects, but most Fugazi albums have less glaring weak spots. I would still recommend that everyone either download or preferably buy (because itís cheap and Dischord puts out lots of great records by great bands that they couldnít afford to have if it werenít for people like you buying records like theirs) this album. The band manages to perfectly stimulate your audio receptors for most of the album, and even manages to stimulate other parts of your brain. There is lots of excellent music on the song, and some tracks fall short of the full 5/5 mark only because Argument is an amazing song.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
keep on phishin'
November 29th 2004


Good review.

Would this be a good first album from Fugazi?

November 29th 2004


I hear ya, Fugazi defintley need to make another records, it's been four long years since this fine release. "The Argument" was the first Fugazi album I got into and almost by accident as I was just downloading random things and I feel in love with the song "Oh" which I see you don't like much but It still stands as one of my favorite songs. It's just got such a powerful buildup and great lyrics. I liked your comparision of "Salad Days" to "The Argument" too I've never though of that I would reccomend that song to anyone just getting into them. Overall this album opened up alot of doors in musical tastes as I was only thirteen at the time and had little experince with this "Indie" and I still really enjoy it, great great review.

Dark Hero
November 29th 2004


Great review :thumb: Fugazi owns.

November 29th 2004


I was skeptical about this album but I'm glad to see that Fugazi is still puming out great music. I've heard some stuff from this album and I do admit I like the older material better, but this is still a great piece of work and an excellent return for Fugazi.

November 29th 2004


[QUOTE=keep on phishin']Good review.

Would this be a good first album from Fugazi?[/QUOTE]
I don't know. It depends on your musical background. If you come from a more hardcore background, Repeater would be the best place to start (I own all their albums except for Instrument, so I'll review them all by Christmas unless someone beats me to it). End hits is pretty good too. If you have a more emo background, you might be more interested in 13 Songs or Steady Diet of Nothing. In on the Kill Taker and Red Medicine are kinda weird, and should be reserved for a tad later probably. The Argument isn't your average alternative rock album. It has a lot of dissonance, but it isn't really that strange or experimental. I guess I'd recommend it as a starting point. I bought it about a year after it came out, and it was my second Fugazi album. I would argue that it is their best. Check out http://www.markprindle.com if you want a better idea of where to start for the moment... all Fugazi albums are good, and most are similar, so it shouldn't matter too terribly much. This is one of the Fugazi albums that doesn't really fit with the others as well.

November 30th 2004


I heard 'Epic Problem' and I didn't like it much at all. Oh well, nice review anyway.

November 30th 2004


Best Fuagzi album in my opinion. I'd give no song less than 4/5 and i'd give the album as a whole 4.5. I'm slightly annoyed at the fact my CD starts skipping half way through the title track, which is an awesome piece of music. Other highlights for me include the chorus for 'full disclosure', the outro to 'epic problem' and the piano in 'strangelight'. Although i don't agree completely with what you say it was a good review.

May 2nd 2005


I thought tracks 2 & 3 were the best on the album, but each to his own.

January 22nd 2007


It's a great album for just chilling around the house and listening to.

Guy's voice is really good on it.

January 22nd 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

album sort of owns

March 17th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Definitely their best album. Every song is really well structured and more complex than Fugazi's other albums. Anyone who likes this album needs to listen to Unwound.

September 11th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

cashout is one of my favorite songs right now, this album is so damn good. there are so many damn good songs on this album.

October 4th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed. I can't single out a best song on the album, but Epic Problem is really working its way up to my favorite at the moment. I've never listened to an album this obsessively in quite some time.

October 5th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

I think I might lean a little more towards 13 songs being their best album, but this is definately top notch.

October 27th 2007


Full Disclosure is their best song. I just LOVE that guitar melody near the end of the song, after the last chorus has exploded and the guitar just sings on its own.

June 6th 2016


"This is one of my favorite songs"

rating: 4/5

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