ARTIST: The Minutemen
TITLE: The Punch Line
YEAR RELEASED: 1981
CHART ACTION: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The title cut has made its way around compilations and mixes.
LINEUP: D. Boon, Mike Watt, George Hurley
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: 18 songs in 15 minutes.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: When you hear of a band throwing out 18 songs in 15 minutes, you may think that they’re just blasting the punkiest of punk or the deathiest of death metal. But no, the Minutemen do no such thing.
They may write economical songs, but they are varied in tone, style and feel. Yes, almost all of this is political, not personal. (Though Boon would always make the political personal, same with Watt at this stage.)
The brevity makes the hard core leftist politics go down smooth so you don’t even realize it, unless you read the lyrics. Then, Boon and Watt make definite their worldview even with a few lines or words. It’s a darn enjoyable record, helped by its brevity, but hurt by its production. The Minutemen would do better, however, this is as good of a place to start with them as any.
NOTES & MINUTAE: The sound issue can be explained by the economy in which they recorded it – late at night in a cheap studio on used tape. However, for all of that it doesn’t sound horrible – and on cassette it was quite passable.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No, but it’s combined on a couple different collections.
GRADE: B+: It’s a great introduction to them. A few songs really stick with you.