Wednesday, January 28, 2009

January 28: The Damned, "Damned, Damned, Damned"

Artist: The Damned
Album: Damned, Damned, Damned
Year: 1977
Label: Frontier

While the Sex Pistols may have be more well known, the reality is that The Damned had both a single AND an album out first...and BOTH were far superior! The Damned's debut record, Damned, Damned, Damned is an absolutely classic of both punk and rock music. Twelve songs, just over a half hour of music, and one Stooges cover make this album an outright essential.

Damned, Damned, Damned opens with a simple, catchy, driving bassline from the new legendary Captain Sensible. What follows are a dozen quick, cutting, and mighty tunes. While many punk bands went for some sort of "message" in their music, whether it be political or otherwise, The Damned left that all at the door and simply made deliciously fun songs.

Throughout Damned, Damned, Damned, it becomes evident that each of the band members are extremely accomplished at their instrument, setting them high atop the pile of "punk" bands. Drummer Rat Scabies is absolutely awe-inspiring throughout the record, with precise start/stop rhythms and brilliant fills. The duo of Brian James and Captain Sensible on guitar and bass respectively create moods from outright rock to dark and spooky. Dave Vanian's vocals age pointed, forceful, and yet not so aggressive or loud that they turn away casual listeners.

Sticking to the punk ethos of simple chords and lyrics, The Damned set themselves apart by their intensity alone. The band understood that you don't need to yell to be loud or intense musically and therefore, their albums are far more accessible than the records of a majority of their peers. Furthermore, with the lack of political elements, the lyrics are such which anyone can easily relate.

Since the mid 1970's, there has always been an argument of "who" started punk music. Some say The Ramones, some say The Stooges, some even say the Sex Pistols. Obviously, after hearing Damned, Damned, Damned, it is clear that the last of these choices could not be possible as The Damned did it first, and did it better than the Pistol's could have ever dreamed.

Standout tracks: "Fan Club," "See Her Tonight," and "So Messed Up."

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