Reason #474 Why The ’80’s Didn’t Suck: Damaged

In the grand scheme of things there were 5 punk albums that changed me forever. The Sex Pistols Never Mind The Bollocks, the Dead Kennedy’s Plastic Surgery Disasters, London Calling by the Clash, Rocket To Russia by the Ramones and Damaged by Black Flag. Out of these 5 the one that scared me most was Damaged. It was angry, but in a primal way as opposed to, say, the Kennedy’s intellectual aggression. Henry Rollins, I mean, come on. True he’s now on VH1 talking up the merits of Celine Dion, but back in 1981 there was no one as frightening, or as righteous, as him. This was Rollins first record with Black Flag, and they never bettered this. Rise Above is the simplest and most effective protest song of the decade, and Six Pack and TV Party were just hilarious. The rest of the album caries on in this way, funny/angry, right through to the bitter end with Damaged 1, the longest cut on the record weighing in at 3:50. The remarkable thing with Damaged, as it is with the best of the early ’80’s hardcore scene, is that it sounds as fresh and vital as it did back when it was released.

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