ARTIST: The Minutemen
TITLE: What Makes a Man Start Fires?
YEAR RELEASED: 1983
CHART ACTION: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Punkers may know Split Red, 99, Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs
LINEUP: D. Boon, Mike Watt, George Hurley.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Prolific trio releases second full length album (with three EPs in there to boot) and moves toward longer songs and diverse song structures.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: One thing about writing short songs is that you need a lot of them to fill an album side. That’s no problem for the Minutemen. Even with them now focusing on longer songs (two reach over two minutes), there’s still 18 tracks clocking in at 26:05.
This is a leap forward. The band is comfortable shifting from genre to genre, changing tone and structure even within a song, and expanding and exploring their capabilities. Mike Watt wrote most of the music here, so it’s heavy on the bass. Boon sang lead on all of these, and his voice is now more confident and compelling.
With this record, the Minutemen are well on their way to becoming one of the most important US bands of the 80’s.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Two of the EPs listed above are smaller, and not standalone anymore, so I’ll grab them when I do their Post-Mersh compilations.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No, but you can get it with the Punch Line if you desire.
GRADE: A-: With this many songs, there’s going to be a couple of those that fall short, but of the 18 tracks most are good to great in execution and songwriting.