Album #486 – Damaged

Album #486

Damaged was Black Flag’s first album to feature lead singer Henry Rollins. Always one to not shy away from his views, Rollins singing style is much more yelling and has the anger and punch that is present in so many of their songs. Guitarist Greg Ginn wrote most of the album’s material. His guitar playing is certainly underrated and also adds character to these songs. Like many of his contemporaries, he can actually play. Robo’s drumming style is powerful and resonant. The picture on the album’s cover is of Rollins punching a mirror. As you can see, he hurt his hand as a result. The album’s cover is emblematic of the tone on this album. It is fast, angry and rebellious. Like most hardcore punk, the themes on Damaged are isolation, frustration, depression, abandonment and anger. But, there is also a humorous side. The song TV Party, mocks slackers who sit home, watch TV and get drunk. Probably the most catchy song on the album, it is impossible not to smile while listening. The other songs on Damaged are equally as powerful with the song’s title usually punctuated by loud chants. There is definitely a lot of energy here. Rollins added that to the group when he joined. This is what I love about hardcore: the energy, the fearlessness and the anger. It may be angry and aggressive but, there is something that excites me when I listen to this album. It will never be everyone’s cup of tea. I can just imagine my parents and siblings telling me to turn this album down, if I listened to it as a teenager. But, hardcore was the closest to the people. It spoke for a generation who were tired of being pushed around. Many identified with this album including Kurt Cobain, who said it was one of his favourite albums. To me, Damaged will always speak for those who don’t have a voice and prove that music is more than just flash and image. Black Flag were as raw and real as it gets. Other highlights include: Rise Above, Six Pack, What I See, Thirsty and Miserable, Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie, Depression, No More and Damaged I. Overall, I give Damaged, 5 out of 5.

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