#tbt Big Black / Songs About Fucking (1987)

By Randy Nieto
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Big Black – Songs About Fucking (1987)

Almost 30 years ago, Big Black released their best selling and last record ever, Songs About Fucking. Despite what the title and cover would have you think, the content of the songs on Songs About Fucking are not quite as salacious. The topics range from the importance of independent trucking across the U.S., to Parkinson’s Disease. Gangster warfare seems to be a subject that comes up multiple times, as one song written about a Colombian Necktie (an especially disturbing method of South American gangster assassination) and another about witnessing a car bomb on Casimir Pulaski day feature on the record. Utilizing a drum machine, the attack on most songs is particularly brutal, with high tempo bass drum and snare pounding away and dissonant screeching guitars loud in the mix, unrelenting. But the beauty in this record lies in the melodies and passionate vocals that lie within the onslaught, like a diamond hidden in a piece of coal. Albini’s lyrics, usually somewhat pragmatic, are fired with passion on this record, and you can hear the sentiment behind such songs as Bad Penny “Such a bad penny, I always come back to you”. And lastly, the inclusion, by mistake I might add, of a cover version of Cheap Trick’s “He’s a Whore”, cap off the record perfectly and is the most subdued and melodious song on the record. If the tagline of the album is true, that how “slowly, without trying, everyone becomes what he despises most”, I have a feeling this album did the exact opposite for Albini and crew. If you think you can appreciate beautiful music hidden in loud, fast, dissonant tones, much in the way someone comes to appreciate the taste of alcohol over time, this album is worth checking out. Listen to “The Power of Independent Trucking” below.

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