D.O.A: Hardcore ’81: CD

Do you ever wonder why you were so damn angry as a teenager? Consider the popular music of the time. “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes, “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie and “Lady” by Kenny Rogers ruled the charts as the top three singles of 1981. Hearing these songs over and over is enough to make Gandhi want to give the pope a haymaker to the side of the head. It’s almost inconceivable that an album like Hardcore ‘81 could even exist in the same frame of time that pabulum like this was sucking all the air out of the world. But as anyone who likes punk rock knows, the best work is done in a vacuum, especially if that vacuum insulates you from the world of pop music. D.O.A. reflect blue collar values in both their music and their work ethic. They seemed to be on tour almost perpetually throughout the 1980s, making them one of the hardest-working and most-appreciated bands in the punk business. Hardcore ’81 is evidence of this. What we’ve got here is fourteen punchy songs with sing-along lyrics and minimal, but never sloppy production. What else do you need? Lots of timeless faves are here, including “D.O.A.,” “001 Losers Club,” “Fucked Up Baby,” and more. Also included on this CD is D.O.A.’s 1984 four-song E.P. Don’t Turn Your Back on Desperate Times. These are four tight, angry, politically-charged anthems that absolutely deserved to see the light of day again. It’s an excellent bonus to a must-have album. D.O.A. is a truly important and essential punk outfit, but they will probably never get a decades-delayed or posthumous nod of approval from the mainstream music establishment in the way that the Sex Pistols, Clash and the Ramones have. Is this a bad thing? From a fan’s standpoint anyway, staying off the big shot’s radar is a blessing. It means that we will never be overwhelmed with the butt-puckering wave of nausea that would come from hearing “Slumlord” or “My Old Man’s a Bum” used as the musical background in a cell phone or luxury car commercial. For what it’s worth, the people who matter know D.O.A. and Hardcore ’81 rule all hell. – Jeff Fox

 –guest (Sudden Death)