The name of the Dead Kennedys refers to the unfortunate incidents where the former USA President and his brother were assassinated separately in the 1960s. It is a good indication of what their political stance is, and boy their music is political. It’s intended to be, and this release which is a re-release of their 1981 and 1982 releases in one package still blows away much that exists today in contemporary music. Jello Biafra was the main man of the group, being its singer and icon.
Is it worth a listen, despite all the notoriety about the Dead Kennedys and their music? Let’s find out.
Advice From Christmas Past is a parody based piece that kicks off this recording. It is a mockery of the ghost of Christmas past and is quite humourous. This intro then leads into the next track.
Government Flu then kicks in with a catchy riff, before going into a super-fast piece about being brainwashed by the government about catching a disease. It is interesting to hear this song during the COVID-19 era, it is short, sharp, and brilliant. “The government flu…flew…through…YOU!” screams Jello Biafra at the end of the song. A great way to kick off an album.
Terminal Preppie has Jello Biafra talks about a lifestyle in a hilarious way about University students. It is a brilliant effort about the lifestyle that one can have during that time, and has a clarinet in it, too. Definitely brilliant, and worth hearing.
Next is Trust Your Mechanic which sounds menacing, with Jello Biafra singing about a mechanic who is untrustworthy, and other consumerist based behaviours. This is a brilliant effort and very humourous too. It goes from slow to super fast in an instant, making it very suspenseful as well.
Up after that is Well Paid Scientist is a song about a scientist who loses it in an attempt to better his life through his work ethics. It has some brilliant lyrics and is very suspenseful. A super-fast tune, and is very ingenious music. The ending is brutal too.
Buzzbomb begins with a psychotic drum roll. It tells the story of someone who loves his car to the nth degree and causes havoc by driving well above the speed limit. It is a great song and has an interesting surprise ending. A must-hear.
Forest Fire talks about the irony that comes with a man-made disaster such as a forest fire. It once again is hilarious, in an almost satanic sort of way. Another good listen, fast and powerful too.
Next is Halloween. It is a lot slower tempo-wise. It’s a catchy and well-written piece about causing mischief in suburbia on Halloween. A good effort, although it is rather long. “Why don’t you take your social regulations, and shove them up your ass!” is a great statement.
After that, we come to Winnebago Warrior. It’s a hilarious piece about traveling across the USA and doing stupid things as a result. Epic, and brilliant. It’s difficult to know who Jello Biafra is referring to, but it is great all the same.
Riot talks about the human stupidity of causing a night riot in a city with others. It mainly begins with bass guitar riffs, before launching into a very intense and almost Nirvana like-sounding piece about chucking a complete and senseless riot for no particular reason. Interesting to hear. “Tomorrow you’re homeless, tonight it’s a blast!”
Bleed For Me is a rather sick and twisted tale about murder. It’s very warped, and probably not the best idea to listen to or have this song on the album. It’s catchy but is too sadistic for most people to listen to. Which is understandable, it is not the best number on the album either. It does talk extensively about the negative aspect of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, mind you.
Next along is I Am The Owl which is about a stalker pursuing some unusual peeps. Again, this is quite a nasty topic, but still, it is set excellently to music. It sounds really evil, but that is probably exactly intended to be. Perhaps these guys have interests in immoral activities? Whatever the case may be, it is a dark and close-to-the-bone statement.
Following is Dead End, which is not very humourous, which is unusual. Instead, it is about the losses and loneliness that the more negative side of life can bring. It’s a gloomy tale that sounds rather depressing. Very unusual for these guys.
Moon Over Marin talks deeply about a future where humanity has utterly destroyed the environment. It is a sad reminder of what we are actually doing to the world ourselves. Like the track before it, it is more a warning rather than a humourous dig at things. Still, not bad to hear, even today. The outro returns to the Christmas past, and we end the album here and launch straight into the In God We Trust, Inc. EP added here as well.
Religious Vomit is so fast and furious, it is a great listen which is against religion, Christianity in particular. A great start to the short EP.
Next is Moral Majority which starts off as a parody of being at Church, complete with choir-like singing. It then goes into an anti-religious rant which tells people that religion isn’t everything. It’s a good message, and interesting to hear.
After that is Hyperactive Child which discusses a kid who cannot concentrate in a regular set of circumstances. Short – yet interesting, a good tune.
Kepone Factory tells the story of poor industrial conditions causing disease. It is very hilarious and definitely short, sharp, and sounding good.
Dog Bite is just pure nonsense. It doesn’t mean anything really as a song, except for being very fast a tune. Likely filler, but good filler at that.
Next is the classic left-wing political piece Nazi Punks Fuck Off which teaches the listener how bad such people as the Nazi punks are. Indeed, this is likely true. A middle finger raised to Fascism, and fortunately is a solid listen.
Part two of California Uber Alles which is We’ve Got A Bigger Problem Now starts off sounding like a jazz band, before launching into a brutal piece covering Ronald Reagan’s presidency and agenda. It goes to and fro from the jazz sound at the beginning to the hardcore punk of the main part of the song. A must-hear, and great listening.
Rawhide is a country music parody. It sounds excellent and is a very good way to finish off this EP, and indeed, hybrid album. Fast and funny.
This album, although not seen as the best effort by the Dead Kennedys, is still a good listen, even today. It is short, sharp, brutal, and hilarious. The only real problem with this album is sometimes that the humour here is a bit off target, and can come across as just plain ridiculous and nasty. Despite that, a very good effort indeed.
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