Classic: Judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.
Shouldn’t this have been called “Bad Luck?”
As much as I don’t care for the compartmentalizing of music into tightly specified labels there have been trailblazers along the way who have become almost synonymous with their respective genres. Black Flag is one of a few bands that my mind thinks about when the term “punk” gets tossed around. Almost everything about the band reeks of the term. It took a few band tweaks but Damaged finally got an official release in 1981. The lead-up to it’s release was a tad tumultuous and the recording process a bit bizarre but Black Flag sorted out the scraps and created a punk classic with this thing.
Black Flag had been a hard working band throughout the late 70s who cycled through members the way my body digests fresh cherries. Their early years have been documented in a variety of ways and collections of demos but Damaged was their first success at recording a full-length LP. Many consider it to be their best while some prefer the earlier versions of the material present here. Fans of the band can be almost as contentious and argumentative as the history of the band. I prefer the Rollin years to any of the others. I’ll also concede that this isn’t my favorite album of theirs during this era.
It is quite obvious that Rollins didn’t really have a permanent spot in the band yet. The songs are a collection of pieces written and performed in the better part of the half decade preceding it so the singer was ostensibly working off of a fairly rigid template. His furious delivery and young angst comes through here and there but for the most part his delivery seems a bit too calculated and restrained for the music. The music is catchy but it lacks the energy of a perfectly synchronized group. It is obvious that Ginn and Dukowski had performed and recorded their parts separately and had orchestrated the singing themselves, for the most part. None of this is bad. If anything, it gives the album a much more deliberate and memorable consistency. From front to back this LP is stuffed with memorable anthems and classic staples that would eventually come to define the Punk moniker.
Black Flag’s Damaged is a perfect example of a perfect album. It was one that remained fairly dormant and ignored for years. Thankfully it now receives the praise it deserves. The unfortunate thing is that I no longer feel like a badass when I don my aged Six Pack T-Shirt since they are now being sold in nearly every shopping mall but I consider that a small price to pay for the exposure that this band now receives. It is as important as any Ramones or Misfits album and should be heard by everyone. Sure, it might not be my personal favorite but that is a bit of a “Sophie’s Choice” type of situation. As long as your favorite punk band isn’t Green Day you aren’t wrong.
What I See
Thirsty And Miserable
Life Of Pain