Big Black
Songs About Fucking


4.5
superb

Review

by Neoteric USER (86 Reviews)
September 15th, 2007 | 64 replies


Release Date: 1987 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Albini's best piece of work and a complete classic.

During the 80s, along with other contemparies such as Sonic Youth and Ministry, Steve Albini’s Big Black were branded ‘Pig***’ music by music critic Robert Christgau. The term gives off a particular dark feel of music that is loud, harsh and most importantly of all, noisy. Big Black sound unique and there is quite a lot of factors that add to why it’s so unique. First point, there is no real drums on here, there is only a drum machine (noted in the liner notes as “Roland” respectively). And my second point is Albini’s special production techniques; he is faithful to the analog way of recording (though in 1987, I’m sure there was no other option), the drums must always sound live which means lots of lovely reverb, the guitars must be filthy raw and the most important trait of an Albini recording is that the vocals are low in the mix. This has helped shaped many albums but most of all and most importantly, Songs About Fucking.

Words cannot describe how violent this album is; the guitars are drenched and drowned with fuzz making it hard to pick out any clear guitar line, the drum machine usually gives off a jack hammer effect and Albini sings with such brutality that it sounds fierce even with the vocals low in the mix. The songs go by fast with most of them not reaching the typical three minute barrier. The songs are packed with controversy fuelling Albini’s desire to offend. Who else could write a song like “Fish Fry” about a man cleaning out his truck after throwing a dead body into a pond from it? And who else would have the balls to cover the Kraftwerk classic “The Model” and possibly make a version that is nearly as good as the original? Big Black are certainly one of a kind and Songs About Fucking is the magnum opus of their career.

What makes the album what it is, is the tight rhythm section from Dave Riley and Roland the drum machine. They provide the basis of the songs with the static, fuzzing guitars obliterating any ounce of silence. A sense of joy tingles up the spine with the jack hammer intro of “L Dopa”, the jumping bass line of “Kitty Empire” or even the balls out approach to the second half of “Power of Independent Trucking”. All the tracks have some sort of special moment to them and it makes each track a worthwhile listen.

Songs About Fucking is a classic, it is influential to many other bands but what stops it from getting top marks is that the second side doesn’t live up to the first side. Even Abini notes: “The best was side one of 'Songs About ***ing'. I was real pleased with the way we did that. We just hopped into the studio, banged all the songs out and hopped out. Didn't take long, didn't cost much, just real smooth. Side two we recorded at a more leisurely pace and I think that hurt us.” The second side has a fair share of astounding songs but none of them live up to the sheer brilliance or intensity of the first side. Any fan of punk music or industrial music will enjoy this a lot. If it’s not the warmth of the sound that sucks you in then it will be the force of it all. Albini has made his best album with this and while projects like Shellac or Rapeman pertain to this sort of sound, it has never beat it.



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user ratings (661)
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
MrKite
September 15th 2007


5020 Comments


Really great review. I've been interested in this for a while, now.

Fort23
September 15th 2007


3770 Comments


I read about them in Our band could be youur life, so Im pumped for downloading this. good review.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
September 15th 2007


2126 Comments


Nice review, Sir Derek. Awesome album too, though I do prefer Shellac to Big Black.

smokersdieyounger
September 15th 2007


672 Comments


He's my favourite producer, so I really need this record.

JAD
September 15th 2007


200 Comments


I really need this too. Steve Albini is an awesome producer.

Great review.

Zebra
Moderator
September 15th 2007


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This isn't my favorite Albini produced album but it's up there.

PhoenixRising
September 15th 2007


277 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is good sh-t. Not my absolute favorite musically, but hugely influential and undoubtably intense.



Good review.

joshuatree
Emeritus
September 15th 2007


3742 Comments


great review of one of my all-time favorite bands. steve albini kicks some serious ass.

Neoteric
September 15th 2007


3243 Comments


Thnx 4 cmmnts.

Brain Dead
September 15th 2007


1150 Comments


the girl on the cover looks like she's doing it.

Neoteric
September 15th 2007


3243 Comments


You don't say.

MrKite
September 15th 2007


5020 Comments


Maybe she's just taking a shit. Stop trying to make everything seem like sex, for fuck sakes.

Neoteric
September 15th 2007


3243 Comments


You forgot the part where the album is called Songs About F[i]ucking[/i].

PhoenixRising
September 15th 2007


277 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

All this time I thought is was Songs About Sh-tting...This Message Edited On 09.15.07

DesolationRow
September 16th 2007


833 Comments


I've been meaning to look into this for quite some time.

Stellar, concise review, Derek.

ValiumMan
September 18th 2007


493 Comments


I have to be in the mood for this one. When I am, it's great though. Has a very raw and "desolate" feel.

Great review as well.

Aficionado
September 18th 2007


1027 Comments


I love Albini's work, I haven't heard too much of this though.

Shadowed Reflection
December 18th 2007


275 Comments


Good review, but I don't think you get how to use the word "respectively" properly.

DeLarge
February 2nd 2009


15 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah this is one great album, a classic, got it on vinyl from a old store, and im gonna keep it till i die, very influential album for so many bands in early 90s.This Message Edited On 02.02.09

Meatplow
May 17th 2009


5524 Comments


holy fuck this is good, an instant classic the moment I heard it. i listened to it on repeat about three or four times since, can't get enough :D



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