Big Black
Racer-X


4.5
superb

Review

by BMDrummer USER (51 Reviews)
February 23rd, 2014 | 25 replies


Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A turning point in their career, as well as one of their greatest releases.

Big Black were still kind of settling into the vibrant Chicago punk rock scene. Big Black were of course much more unique than a lot of the other bands around at the time, using guitars that sounded like buzz-saws, a drum machine, and their incredibly dark lyrics. Steve Albini had put out Lungs himself which was at least interesting, soon after getting a band together he put out Bulldozer which was a very noisy punk rock EP. Now they are at this point, Racer-X. This EP is one that brings tons of new things to the table, which I will go over below.

Racer-X is an album that shows somewhat of a maturing sound and an interest in music outside of punk rock. They are slower, more subtle, and are playing like real musicians. The album's opener "Racer-X" is one without any punk rock rhythms and it shows a significant change in sound and a newfound sense of dynamics. Steve is delivering more of a spoken word kind of vocal delivery instead of yelling like the mad man we were used to. The lyrics also aren't very dark, they're about Speed Racer. "Shotgun" is a bit more up to speed with the punk rock they were known for, but the rhythms are more complex and the dynamics have a larger presence. This EP also shows a larger sense of dissonance than Bulldozer, which is very well portrayed on Shotgun. "The Ugly American" next is an even faster song very rooted in hardcore punk with some more somewhat complex drum machine playing. That's the end of side one.

"Deep Six" is perhaps the most interesting change in Big Black's sound, with a swinging rhythm and overall excellent musicianship. This song has a matured sound, but the lyrics aren't very mature since they are about a conversation with a trucker. "Sleep!" is a very straight ahead punk rock song in terms of rhythm, but it is much more dissonant lyrically and melodically. According to the liner notes it is a song about whether we deserve life and if death is just an eternal sleep, or something like that. Now to end the album is "The Big Payback", a cover of the James Brown song. This song is also evident of a maturing sound, and Steve's buzz-saw guitars complement it nicely. The end of side two.

So overall, Racer-X is a very important and interesting EP in Big Black's catalog. It shows a maturing sound, with more subtlety, dynamics, and complex rhythms. Not to say this album is complex, but it is less about straight ahead punk rock. This EP is a very solid and great addition to their career, certainly not for everyone, but I really liked it. One of their greatest releases.



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user ratings (55)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
SitarHero
February 24th 2014


6817 Comments


I always liked the other Racer X more.

ArsMoriendi
April 14th 2014


23320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Certainly my favorite Big Black release. Good review.

Digging: Coil - Love's Secret Domain

ArsMoriendi
April 23rd 2014


23320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

So more people seriously need to listen to this.

BMDrummer
April 24th 2014


14216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Big Black is so underrated on this site, only 13 ratings on this EP.

BMDrummer
August 5th 2014


14216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Deep Six sounds a little bit like Elliot Rodger

Supercoolguy64
January 28th 2015


8519 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

brother is speed

brother is sex

ArsMoriendi
January 28th 2015


23320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, this still stands the test of time. I might bump this to a 5.

Supercoolguy64
April 19th 2015


8519 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the ugly american fucking rips anal tissue

ArsMoriendi
April 19th 2015


23320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Sleep! is my favorite Big Black song honestly. It was also the one that got me into them.

Supercoolguy64
April 20th 2015


8519 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

reading through the liner notes to this, these guys were fucking weaboos lol

ArsMoriendi
April 22nd 2015


23320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Hopefully I'll like "The Big Payback" more one day, because the rest of this reeks of being a 5.

ArsMoriendi
November 28th 2015


23320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I know right? It's the best thing Big Black has ever done.

ArsMoriendi
November 28th 2015


23320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah it is haha, great album

TVC15
June 9th 2016


9719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Aww my comments were wiped from here too... Man I remember the first time I heard this: I was in the dentist office and the entire 2 hour stay (cos my entire fam were getting fixed up too) I was listening to Big Black's discog for the first time and my first post concerning the band was on this thread... And funny thing enough, on my ride to the dentist office, I was listening to Mr. Bungle's album California haha. Love ya Ars, I still think this is their best EP and their best anything still being Songs About Fucking

Digging: Denzel Curry - TA13OO

ArsMoriendi
June 9th 2016


23320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I might even put this above Songs About Fucking on the right day great shit LPFTW

Shoegazefan9789
June 9th 2016


974 Comments


Rules

danielcardoso
November 11th 2016


11731 Comments


jams

ArsMoriendi
November 11th 2016


23320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

EP is one of the best things ever, nice daniel!

TVC15
November 11th 2016


9719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Is this your first Big Black album Dan?

ArsMoriendi
November 11th 2016


23320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

If so, great first choice



Check Songs About Fucking



Atomizer rules too, but is kind of overrated on Sputnik



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