Thursday, April 12, 2012

Damaged, Album Review

Henry Rollins’ first album performed with Black Flag is like an emotional typhoon.  From ,“Six Pack” and “TV Party”, the humorously sarcastic critiques of the American slacker, to the self-loathing journal entries that make up the entirety of the second side of the album, Damaged is a lo-fi thrash of angst and anger.  The guitars are played as if just being learned: with feedback and wrong notes played constantly. The drums are beat with speed and with no regard for accuracy or technique. The entire album is composed completely faithful to the punk ethic. Using that which was available to them, Black Flag played in an aggressively amateur style, making it the perfect kind of album for confused youths. Anyone who has felt rage at themselves, or the police, or the world, or anything, can relate to Damaged.  The yelped vocal delivery of Henry Rollins makes it quite evident that all of the songs are genuine.  Take the opening lyrics of “Damaged I” for instance: “My name's Henry and you're here with me now! My life, it’s a song, it’s so you won’t even let it happen. You won’t, you won’t let…” These are the rantings of a mentally unstable young adult struggling with depression and the pressures of society. This makes a lot of sense when you consider that Rollins was only 20 at the release of Damaged. Eerily, these themes would pop up again ten years later with another group with a similar sound; the dark lyrics and the noise-driven guitars were clearly influential on Kurt Cobain.  Damaged is the quintessential hardcore album of the ‘80s, yet it remains one of the most notable albums released in the past 40 years.