Part 7 in a series from my co-blogger (T) and myself (M). This time we take on two different albums from one band.
GBH – City Baby Attacked by Rats
I was working at a record store in 1983 when a co-worker played this album for me, asking me to settle a debate with another co-worker. “Is this punk or speed metal?” I listened to the first four tracks or so, shrugged my shoulders and said “Why can’t it be both?” They looked at me kinda weird and the one guy said, “Well, you know, it’s got that whole fast guitar thing going on, so I’m thinking it’s more metal than punk.” Whatever, dude. I mean, yeah, it’s got fast guitar. Fucking Yngwie Malmsteen plays a fast guitar too, but we’re not gonna call him anything other than a wanker, okay? The world isn’t black and white, guys. It’s not an either/or premise here. Labeling shit is for people who live in tight confines. That ain’t me.
Label? Call it what you want; thrash, punk metal, whatever. City Baby – and GBH by extension – doesn’t need no stinkin’ label. Violent, offensive, dark, dirty, crude, mean and faster than fuck, City Baby – framed by Abrahall’s guttural vocals and Blyth’s blistering guitar work – is an attention deficit’s delight. Blasting through the songs at an average of about two minutes, each tune does what it has to do and then quits. It grabs you in, fucks with your head, gets your heart pumping, slaps you around and then drops you on the floor. Then you get up for another. By the time the album is done, you’ll wonder if you just went through some Yngwie nightmare, where it’s proven that masturbating with your guitar may get people to call you a genius, but pounding your way through some punk-rock-on-speed and leaving people breathless, worn out, scarred, and begging for more counts for a hell of a lot more than having 14-year-old kids with used Fenders trying to mimic your licks. It’s when the 14-year-olds with used Fenders break shit in their garage while going apeshit trying to play “Bellend Bop” that you know you kick some major fucking ass.
So, if you’re in the mood to get your heart pumping, get your throat burning, and maybe jump off your couch a couple of times and move around like you’re still 18 and can take a musical beating, then crank up City Baby and prepare to feel that familiar surge of power and excitement like you had the last time you were at a show. And then prepare to feel the agony of defeat as you lay on the ground holding your knee and cursing father fucking time. Not saying I did that, but…yeah.
Oh, and dude — if you get offended at “Big Women”, you deserve to be forced to listen to nothing but Yngwie fucking Malmsteen records for the rest of your life.
GBH – City Baby’s Revenge
This was my first real exposure to GBH. Great Big Hair, Great Britain Hardcore, Grevoius Bodily Harm. Whatever the fuck it meant. Years later I found out what it meant in a different country, but that’s a different story for a different time. Right now we are talking about City Baby’s Revenge.
I don’t know if this was a part two to City Baby or just some cocaine-fueled idea that went too far. Doesn’t matter. The song kicks about why they hate politicians and why they hate their attitude. I have no idea what was going on in the UK at that time, but it seems to me like a politician did something bad. Fuck if I know, but the song fucking rocked.
Fuck, I was a kid. Make the fucker kick and I’ll like it. Make it fast? I’ll like it more. Talk shit about the privileges of politicians? Well, just call me fucking Bill Cosby in full on motherfucking dancing mode cause I’m happy as a motherfucker.
This shit was good. It pulled up everything a kid needed to hear about. Politicians. Women’s rights. Vietnam. Bad dope.
I think that’s sarcasm, but who fucking knows. Maybe it was good for me to hear about in the long run.
‘Cause without it you wouldn’t have the turtle you know and love today.
Oh yeah…I’m modest, too.
Hit a kid with all those topics when I’m still trying to find my Cap’t Crunch cereal. Make me think that wars ten years before my time were bad, the president sucks, politicians are corrupt, bad dope kinda sucks, and maybe me calling my mom a bitch wasn’t that cool of a thing to do at seven in the morning.
Kinda grabs you.
That was this album. This is what made you rumble when you sat down. Shake when you stood up. Made you pay attention at school and made you shiver as you fell asleep. The album that some guy wasted off his ass on speed or LSD, or maybe both, would steal from your locker, give back to you broken and apologize for it. This made you think that there might be fucking something out there you didn’t know about. It was an eye opener. And for me — just a start.