suicidal tendencies - lights camera revolution

Suicidal Tendencies: Lights…Camera…Revolution! (1990)

I’m back at work, and back in the office. Which means I’m commuting again. The routine and mental/emotional expense is exhausting, and as I went in this morning I thought about what to listen to to cover for today’s Consuming entry. I put my phone on shuffle and the choice was made for me. I was aware as a kid of Suicidal Tendencies, whether it was through the immortal “Institutionalized” ands its rally cry of “ALL I WANTED WAS A PEPSI!” as well as the anthemic “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow” that set as much as a template for the band moving forward as anything else. I love both those songs, and their accompanying albums. But if I’m being honest, my go-to album has always been Lights…Camera…Revolution! It was the one I bought first and listened to the most. So I listened to this again this morning on the way to work. In lieu of a “proper” post instead here are some passing thoughts as each song played.

“You Can’t Bring Me Down” – Feels great shouting that chorus along with Mike Muir on the highway to mentally prepare myself for the browbeating that comes as a natural extension of my job. The song has that “classic” Suicidal Tendencies opening: soft, clean arpeggios with a great Rocky George solo before blowing up into a crazed thrash attack. We also get the return of Muir’s spoken word diatribe. No Pepsi references, but we get the timeless “I’d rather feel like shit than be full of shit” so I’m more than happy. Great opening track.

“Lost Again” – It’s all in that chorus, when they layer Muir’s vocals on top of each other. Also that bass is really prominent, but we’ll talk more about that in a bit. Instead let’s focus on that middle section, which is a straight up Metallica gallop of the best kind. That riff could have easily sat on Kill ‘Em All, but it’ a testament (another huge thrash inspiration I hear here) to how seamlessly Suicidal incorporates it in their sound. It’s so good it comes back at the end of the song.

“Alone” – Based on his delivery of this song I’m convinced Muir could have sang for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but no way could Anthony Kids have sang for Suicidal. Another incredible Rocky George solo opens the song before it goes faster than the speed of light. It’s always telegraphed but I love how the band can start so soft and lovely (sorry) and then just in an instant turn it into a full-speed thrash attack. Speaking of things being lovely…

“Lovely” – Okay, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. This is the album where Robert Trujillo joined the band, and “Lovely” counts as his first writing contribution. So no surprise his bass is so prominently featured. I love the clean funk guitar that comes into the song, too. Now, can you link this to the formation of Infectious Grooves, which emphasized the funkier aspects of Suicidal? Sure. Is that a bad thing? I leave that to you to ponder as we move on to…

“Give It Revolution” – The quasi-title track is deceptive. The opening riff feels a little like a Ratt riff, and nothing like more of the thrash mosh parts the rest of the album is filled with. I remember loving that riff as a lid, probably because it was familiar from my more tame hard rock bands, but the band quickly shifts the way the riff is used: the chorus (I love the gang vocals here) feels pretty typical, but then the second verse they hold the riff in the same key the whole time and man, it is VICTORIOUS. I love it. This might be one of those albums with a perfect or near perfect side.

“Get Whacked” – A symphony warms up, some horns go off, and we get a song where the word “whacked” is used no less than 69 times (I counted), which is both appropriate and amazing.other than the hilarity of Muir screaming he needs some “Whack time” this is the first moment where the song kind of passes by, even though it’s energetic and heavy.

“Send Me Your Money” – Another of the singles from the album, this – like “Lovely” – points the way to what Muir and company would pursue harder in both their Infectious Grooves outlet as well as the next album. Funk bass and mosh power chords meets Muir’s preacher rap and it’s kinda great, despite feeling a little of its time. Trujillo is a beast on this track, and Muir knows it, giving him the spotlight multiple times.

“Emotion No. 13” – Driving aggression, George killing it again with solos right up front in the song, Muir doubling his voice up an octave during the verses…Suicidal were nigh untouchable when they wanted to rip your head off. I know the purists prefer the older, more crossover days but I love what they did when they had the backing of a major label behind them. I think The Art of Rebellion went a little too far in capping the fury (though that would laughably not the case on the super underrated followup Suicidal for Life) but here it’s perfection.

“Disco’s Out, Murder’s In” – the album’s fastest track is also its slightest. It’s a testament to how tight the band could play, but there’s not a lot of meat on the bones here. Even after just playing the song again, the thing I remember is the chorus. The middle section again borrows liberally from the library of Hetfield, but it doesn’t stand out like it did on “Lost Again.”

“Go’n Breakdown” – Love the closer. It again uses that hard rock driving riff that “Give It Revolution” does, but there’s a menace here that pairs nicely with the guitar sirens and Muir’s rap attack. The gang vocal choruses and heavy beats on the 1 and 3 bring that LA vibe to the song, further signifying how unique Suicidal Tendencies were and are as a band. Folks may not think of this track too much, but it’s essential in my opinion.

Ten songs. 43 minutes. Come to town, lay waste, and leave. That’s how I love my music, and Suicidal Tendencies nail that on Lights…Camera…Revolution! Is it sacrilege to say this is my favorite album from them? So be it. Love this record unreservedly.

suicidal tendencies

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