Wednesday, 23 November 2011

12 Angry Men (or 11 and 1 woman)

Pop music soundtracks all moods. The celebratory and the rousing as you punch the air in syncopation, or the downcast and the blues as you mope in your bedroom with the curtains drawn.

Then they are angry songs. It's not just the usual suspects of punks and rappers either. Who of these dozen in your view is the angriest?

1) Marianne Faithfull - "Why D'Ya Do It?"
A ditty composed for her betrayal between the sheets by Mick Jagger. Pulls no punches. Trouble is, I'm guessing Mick is flattered by it. Still, great lyrics and wonderful rancorous delivery.
2) The Bug (featuring Tippa Irie) - "Angry"
The man who puts the 'ire' back in "Irie". I don't know, the singer of "Hello Darling" isn't someone you naturally associate with vexation, but he sounds proper miffed here. Respec' to The Bug for teasing it out of him.
3) The Jam - "Mr Clean"
This one sneaks up on you as Paul Weller's flat nasals build up a portrait of a drab suburbanite, before unleashing his class bile on such a lifestyle. From the 1978 "All Mod Cons" album which was full of vitriol, before Weller himself sunk into the bourgeois smugness that was The Style Council. The impetuosity of youth eh? I prefer to remember him this way.
4) Ice Cube - "We Had To Tear This Mother Up"
Rodney King, LA Riots, nuff said. Cube declares war on the LAPD. Hard to reconcile with the Cube who acts in Hollywood family friendly movies of today.
5) Discharge - "Fight Back"
Can't decide if they were angry or just had a sore throat.
6) Nick Cave - "Scum"
Cave's usual cheery Gothic demeanour and delivery here are replaced with a song that sounds like it's sung with real feeling. I like the way he clears his throat of spittle to open up the song. A touch of class.
7) Swans - "Time Is Money Bastard"
Are you listening bankers> All Swans songs were pretty damned brutal. This is actually quite poppy. But Michale Gira sounds pi**ed off alright.
8) John Holt - "Police In Helicopter"
This one goes up to 11 when it comes to anger. It's not his voice, in which you hear the adamantine resolution, just the simple formula of an eye for an eye.
9) Dead Kennedys - "Moral Majority"
I love the slow build satire of this, before lapsing into swearing and middle fingering at the target of rage. Ah, they don't breed 'em like this any more
10) Husker Du - "Broken Home, Broken Heart"
Bob Mold gives it everything and sounds pretty irritated to say the least. A fine and much missed band.
11) Linton Kwesi Johnson - "Sonny's Lettah"
Police brutality delivered in an icy cold heat, showing that it's not all about screaming at full lung capacity.
12) Crass - "How Does It Feel (To Be The Mother Of A Thousand Dead)?"
Anarcho-punks quite angry shock. I probably wouldn't include this song, other than it got banned for being unpatriotic about the Falklands' War. It's an odd structure with the female vocal section sort of fading out to be replaced by Steve Ignorant's trademark guttural snarl.

So there you have ladies and gentlemen of the Jukebox Jury. Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the angriest of them all?

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