heard on the wire

Day 20 — a song I listen to when angry

The thing is, I’m rarely angry. When I do get angry, it’s usually prompted by an atrocity, a politician or a gurning idiot on the TV — I shout at the TV a lot. Music doesn’t chime with that.

So since there is no song that I listen to when angry, I’ve picked two songs that brim with anger and frustration (after all, it’s a 30-day song challenge, not a 30-song challenge).

First up, Stiff Little Fingers: Jake Burns gravelly tones are perfect for voicing the anger of working class youth in seventies Northern Ireland, in songs like Suspect Device and Wasted Life. But neither can match the simmering anger at the futility of a wasted life in SLF’s cover of a Bob Marley song.

That punk and reggae had such a symbiotic relationship is, on the face of it, surprising. But the roots reggae of black Britain and the largely white punk movement both grew out of the economic stagnation of the seventies and the austerity which then, as now, forced working class people to pay for the failures and greed of businesses, banks and politicians.

The Clash best embodied that relationship, first covering Junior Marvin’s Police and Thieves on their self-titled debut LP and later in their self-penned magnum opus (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais.

But neither has the raw anger of this track.

Stiff Little Fingers :: Johnny Was
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The second record is by a band that released just one single, subsequently recorded a Peel Session, then disappeared — which is pretty much all that Wikipedia has to say about Period Pains. But boy did they hate the Spice Girls.

Period Pains :: Spice Girls (who do you think you are?
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