Thursday, September 8, 2011

Suicidal Tendencies - "Suicide's an Alternative/You'll be Sorry" (Dylan's Dumb iPod #5)

I still don't think Suicidal gets enough recognition. This album dropped in 1983 (exactly 20 days before Metallica's Kill 'em All), and most other hardcore band of their ilk weren't really playing around with metal riffs yet (Age of Quarrel wouldn't drop for another few years). It's funny that Suicidal gets lumped into's not that they don't fit, because as far as attitude and lyrics, they definitely do...but looking at their career as a whole, they've pretty much always been a thrash band, and Grant Estes is an awesome guitarist here. Compound that with the whole Venice White Boyz thing (something I talk about fairly extensively in Drug Dogs #3. Not dead. Just slow) and...I wish I could go back and get an accurate read on this band.

The song is pretty rooted in teenage nihilism and opens up with maniacal laughter (that I assume is Muir's) that actually used to get on my nerves whenever I'd listen to the album in my car, and my girlfriend used to hate. Like many of the songs on the album (oh...and their name) it's pretty brazen in that it's a song about someone's obsessive desire to commit suicide. I mean, how bonkers is that? SUICIDE'S AN ALTERNATIVE...TO YOUR CRAPPY LIFE, YOUR CRAPPY JOB, YOUR NONEXISTENT FUTURE...TO EVERYTHING! I suppose it is. It's a message I've wanted to paint on an overpass for years now.

The lyrics follow a pretty old-skool punk pattern, with Mike Muir's vocals getting faster and more spastic as the song wears on, blending into a sort of a shizophrenic call and response with himself where he states that he's sick of something, and then answers himself with why ("sick of life/it sucks!") I also like the line "sick of chicks/they're all bitches" because I'm interested in anything that would've ruffled MRR's totalitarian punk feathers. That and the fact that these bands already had reps for being cholos and gangbangers anyway.

It morphs somewhere in the middle (is "You'll be sorry" another song? I've never been able to figure it out) and he goes into some narrative about him signing a contract (presumably with the devil?) and that trademark sing/talk thing (the same one he does on "Institutionalized"). This creature from Hell asks him to sign a contract and promises him power and fame, to which Muir gets indignant and tells the devil to screw off and maybe even punches him the face. It's pretty wild really.

Anyway, this isn't my favorite Suicidal album (How Will I Laugh, but it's a damn good one. Everything's firing on all cylinders, and in the (sliced) vein of self-absorbed lyrics smothered in adolescent rage and myopia, it really reigns supreme.

Sick of living
I'm gonna die

Below is a dorky video I found of someone who made a collage of their this song. Weird.

Song is copyright 1983 Frontier Records, yadda yadda yadda.
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