Screeching Weasel - First World Manifesto (Cover Artwork)

Screeching Weasel

Screeching Weasel: First World ManifestoFirst World Manifesto (2011)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:

Contributed by: bastard_squadbastard_squad
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Welcome to Screeching Weasel Version 4.9. I have been a fan of this band in its varying shapes and forms for going on 20 years. There's been some really high points for me: 1991's My Brain Hurts and 1993's Anthem for a New Tomorrow are what I would consider their best. Snotty at times, introspect.
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Welcome to Screeching Weasel Version 4.9.

I have been a fan of this band in its varying shapes and forms for going on 20 years. There's been some really high points for me: 1991's My Brain Hurts and 1993's Anthem for a New Tomorrow are what I would consider their best. Snotty at times, introspective at others, and then bratty as a surly pre-teen when the mood strikes. All of these things are what have made me a fan of the band for this long. Have there been low points? Sure, there have: 1998's Television City Dream did nothing for me and 2000's Teen Punks in Heat wasn't really any better.

Onto the newest record: It's very catchy–it's as punchy, addictive and sugary as 1996's Bark Like a Dog. While not my favorite record they have released, it is certainly well-played and -put together. I do hesitate to say that my favorite song on the record is the second track, "Frankengirl", if only because it has guest vocals by Dr. Frank of the Mr. T Experience, and it makes me long to have another MTX record. I'm not going to go through every track as there are many by-the-numbers Screeching Weasel songs, a couple that seem like Riverdales B-sides and some others that sound like leftovers from Ben Weasel's 2007 solo album, These Ones Are Bitter.

What I do want to focus on is what knocks this record down multiple levels and stops a lot of the replay value. It's the bookends of the record–what would be two of the "best" songs on the record would be so much better if it weren't for their lyrical content: "Follow Your Leaders" and "Little Big Man". Here you have two songs that are essentially an adult pushing 50 years of age engaging in petty squabbles and the sonic equivalent of an internet fistfight. I don't understand the need to write the two songs; it isn't because I'm associated with any of the people that he's slinging mud at so much as that I don't want to listen to the mud-slinging. "Follow Your Leaders" takes aim at various punk rock attitudes and patrons of musical gatherings like The Fest and Punk Rock Bowling that apparently bother Mr. Weasel so much that he feels the need to write songs about them. Knowing that Mr. Weasel hasn't taken part in either of these events but has no problem starting his own or even attending others really makes it seem even more shallow. "Little Big Man" is written about an unnamed individual involved in the punk rock world that apparently has Mr. Weasel foaming at the mouth and seething enough to put lyrics (that sound like they were written at three in the morning after fuming over some personal squabble) to song. The only word that comes to mind after hearing this song–which also closes the album–is "embarrassing."

It's a good record, but would be so much more and get a better score from me without the drama.


People who liked this also liked:
Teenage Bottlerocket - They Came from the ShadowsDear Landlord - Dream HomesAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitOperation Ivy - Operation IvyScreeching Weasel - My Brain HurtsDead To Me - Moscow Penny AnteJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyNOFX - Punk In DrublicOff with Their Heads - In DesolationDillinger Four - C I V I L W A R

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
anytime (November 27, 2012)

Love it, hate it, still catchy.

sean021122 (February 26, 2012)

This record as well as ben weasel, dan vapid, and johnny jughead are all steaming piles of monkey shit. As human beings they are pathetic losers. As musicians, their integrity and craft died around 1992 when they put out their last quality record called "wiggle". Everything they did after, no matter who was in the screeching ben band sucked period. All sellout pop punk mainstream sellout crap. If you want anything recent of sw that is actually good, get 'television city dream'. It's the only thing worth owning after 'wiggle'. And as for this record, it sucks sucks sucks. And ben can keep punching defenseless women all he wants, he will never achieve the infamy axel rose has gotten as his alter ego in 'rock'. I don't know how either of them can look themselves in the mirror and not want to cry. I urge all women, those that love them, feminists, and anyone with a heart and an ounce of compassion, kindness, deceny... to boycott ben weasel and in all forms of his money grabbing tripe... And I hope some girl punches him back a thousand times physically, emotionally, and mentally to equal all he has done to spread his hatred for women and for all others in this world that he can't relate to or are different than him...

Anarchypants (June 14, 2011)

This album makes me want to punch two women in the face.

Amoeba (June 1, 2011)

Best record in 2011 so far... nothing else to say

Rich27 (April 1, 2011)

This album is a bit of a disappointment. Would agree with the "bookend" comments - BW sounds like a much younger man with these lyrics and surely it's stuff he's written/commented on before. "Frankengirl" is one of the better tracks and it really does sound like MTX more than SW. I do like "Come and See The Violence Inherent In the System" though - lyrically nothing new but a more varied track in terms of it's structure.

Overall this will struggle to make my top ten this year when I had high hopes for it before hearing it.

RondoMondo (March 24, 2011)

This album is catchy as fuck, definitely a good cd. Shame Ben flushed the band down the toilet with his actions

magnetbox (March 18, 2011)

The dude from Off With Their Heads comes off as a huge asshole as well (not to mention he seems like an overdramatic whiner) but he gets his dick sucked on this website.

walerhola (March 18, 2011)

ahahaha punk music where someone can say what they think and people get upset? sad stuff...
if it was one of the other 'punk' bands this site seems to follow like rise against or something busting on SW wonder how things would look.

nicksocial (March 18, 2011)

Mentioning Punk Rock Bowling in a song isn't the same thing as shitting on it... then again, if more of you understood that, that song probably wouldn't have been written in the first place.

sickteen (March 17, 2011)

only one listen so far, but I like it.

In regards to ben weasel, dude seems ok. Maybe a little controversial, but nothing to write home about.

We all have our problems, have done things, or know people that are in prison, or have had friends that killed them selves, or whatever. I try to look at stuff in the big picture, Mr Weasel is just a dude thats highly opinionated that puts out quality records. To quote krist novoselic from territorial pissings, "Come on people now smile on your brother everybody get together, try TO love one another right now."

joeydevil (March 17, 2011)

I like this album, btw. I don't give a shit about Ben Weasels politics. I just like good songs and there are some good songs on here.

joeydevil (March 17, 2011)

I don't think it's too poppy for SW. "Bark Like a Dog" is waaaay poppier, in my opinion.

palpitations101 (March 17, 2011)

Killer production. But WAY TOO POPPY!! I can't believe I'm saying that for a SW record, but I also can't believe no one else has said it.

SW best, hands down, was the Major Label Debut. Has everything that makes them great. Anthem rules too, but the production is so bad, and not in a good way, in an intentionally shitty way.

Whatever. I don't want to listen to a guy who hates me for liking his band.

Hey_Asshole (March 16, 2011)

In the end, what do his personal politics have to do with Screeching Weasel as a band? It is not like they are a political band. He is not forcing his opinions down your throat, so what does it matter? Plus, anything he says has to be taken with a grain of salt anyway, given that his whole persona is based on acting like an asshole to get a reaction.

Seriously, I hate sitting here debating Ben Weasel on the internet. I really do not give a shit about him one way or another. Was a big fan of SW, not so much anymore. So, end of discussion. Just because, in their real life, people disagree with you does not mean you need to go off and piss and moan. Seriously. Boo fucking hoo, someone in the punk community is a conservative, better complain about them on the internet.

pito (March 16, 2011)

@ Hey_Asshole

I'm not just talking about that interview (now Ben Weasel is changing opinions of course, given that Scott Walker is putting his wife's job on risk in his own deared Wisconsin), but about the many posts that you could find on the Riverdales Message Board and on the Pop Punk Message Board over the last years where he's rambling against Obama, attacking government spending, taxes and ended up even explicitly endorsing Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement (not to mention his almost racist view on war in Afghanistan and foreign politics... with a typical american-centric view on the world). This is not centrist, this is cheap ideological right wing propaganda!
But what is even more funny about it is that if you look closely he seems to be much more obsessed with how liberals are naive ignorant assholes to the point of becoming ridicolous (deep down you can see the same egomaniac Ben Weasel that used to write on MRR back in the days). I still believe that the guy wrote some of the best punk rock records in the 90's, but seriously, politically he really deserve a good kick in the ass!

jacknife737 (March 16, 2011)

Nice review: btw.

jacknife737 (March 16, 2011)

It's got catchy songs: that's all i've ever wanted from Screeching Weasel: an enjoyable record.

ilikeilike (March 16, 2011)

Totally forgettable record unfortunately.

deathmachine808 (March 16, 2011)

This is good. Not amazing, but truly any record with more than 2 good songs these days is decent in my book. This has 4. 'Little Big Man' is one of them, no idea what this reviewer's whacking on about, even Brendan likes it*. If you're an SW fan this album is: 1/3 Bark Like a Dog, 1/3 Ben Weasel second solo album, 1/3 TV City Dream. Sadly not of the 'Enemies', 'Wiggle', 'Brain Hurts' caliber, but I don't really think anyone was expecting that. Roll on the next one.

*that may be a lie.

irish_punk_is_gimmickry (March 16, 2011)

ben backed away from his pro-palin stance becuz he knew it would be bad for sales.................

ben weasel is for palin, pro-bush, pro-life, pro-war. read his fukkin twitter...............................

Hey_Asshole (March 16, 2011)

At this point, if I could not seperate Ben Weasel's antics from what the band's actual output, I would never listen to them.

Dante3000 (March 16, 2011)

Hey_asshole: I didn't know about the Palin comment. Though that doesn't play into my opinions on the music. But let's be honest, nearly every extreme conservative says they're "centrist" or "independent." No one wants to say they're, "Crazy conservative." I'm not saying Ben is but self describing as a centrist doesn't hold much weight with me.

I do agree the bookending of the album is a huge killer in my interest but the center content doesn't do to much to change the mood. It just seems uninspired. I was never the largest SW fan so maybe I'm the wrong person to opine.

LinoleumMagazine (March 16, 2011)

Picked this up yesterday and so far I'm digging it. It doesn't compare to their classic albums from the early 90's, but it's still enjoyable and I REALLY like some of the lyrics.

irish_punk_is_gimmickry (March 16, 2011)

fat wrex should do a palin/weasel cross-promo when you buy the record..... chance to win a hunting trip with ben & sara??? free rape kits with purchase??? win a date with bristol???

88fl_rules (March 16, 2011)

I really like it

regreteverything (March 15, 2011)

Setting aside the petty nonsense that has everyone up in fucking arms, I genuinely enjoyed this album. If Ben wants to write songs about how shitty Fest is I say let him. It's just another catchy song my son can spin around in circles in the living room to.

irish_punk_is_gimmickry (March 15, 2011)

whatever you do, just don't give any money to this fucking scam artist......................

why is he obsessed with nofx, btw??? ben weasel is such a shameless namedropper and scene freak even tho thats all he complains about............

JerryCola (March 15, 2011)

This is a pretty forgettable record.

Out of all of Ben's work, the only things I'd say that First World Manifesto is better than are those two most recent god-awful Riverdales albums, the first S/T Screeching Weasel record, and it's maybe better than Teen Punks In Heat.

But I dunno, both Teen Punks In Heat and this album hit some pretty embarrassing marks, but in two different ways. Teen Punks had embarrassing songs about Ben's "Erection" and it also had "I Wanna Fuck," like Ben was a 14 year old kid discovering porn for the first time. But First World Manifesto has a pretty embarrassing title track "Follow Your Leaders," mocking the modern punk scene for 'not growing up,' while also having an album closing 'diss' song "Little Big Man," taking shots at people that Ben has gotten in arguments with on internet message boards and blogs. I don't see how one can seriously criticize people for not acting like adults while also acting like a petty child in a bunch of internet/message board feuds. The ironing is delicious.

There are a couple of more serious songs on here, yet they all sound like songs that were unused leftover ideas for his solo album These Ones Are Bitter, or songs never used from his flash in the pan band Sweet Black And Blue. Which I'll say that I enjoyed These Ones Are Bitter when it first came out, but over the years it's lost any replay value and I haven't had much desire to go back and listen through it.

The only really great song on this album is "Frankengirl" and that's because it sounds a lot like a Mr. T Experience song and has Dr. Frank on vocals.

So yeah, don't waste your hard earned money on this. Almost all of the bands that are openers for that Weasel Fest in Chicago, not including The Queers, are releasing far more relevant and far better quality albums than this version of "Screeching Weasel," I'd suggest to put your time, and money towards one of those bands.

MN_DrNIck (March 15, 2011)

I enjoyed it. Not the best thing they've done though.

StraightToHell82 (March 15, 2011)

6/10 is dead-on.

Ben Weasel deserves pain.

bastard_squad (March 15, 2011)

Hey_Asshole: Give this one a shot if you liked Bark Like A Dog at all.

Hey_Asshole (March 15, 2011)

Pito, you know that he does not really support Sarah Palin, right?

??I like Sarah Palin as a public figure though. She's a great performer who excels at playing the role of the heel, and I love people like that because I do the same thing, albeit on a much smaller scale. I don't agree with her politically on much, but she drives all the right people bananas."

In another part of that same interview, he pretty explicitly states that he in a centrist. He disagrees with most of conservative politics, and disagrees with Sarah Palin. Not sure where disagreeing becomes support. read the interview here: http://www.bigcheesemagazine.com/features/article/screeching-weas el

As far as the record, not listened to it. Probably will not. Hated The Riverdales reunion records, do not see myself feeling any different about this.

sketchyjoe (March 15, 2011)

It's an alright album. Musically I'd say it's a better than any of the non-Lookout releases with the possible exception of Bark Like a Dog, kind of more Riverdales at times than Screeching Weasel times but a bit more complex in song structure and definitely catchy and listenable whereas the last Riverdales album was a pile of shit. A couple of the songs are definitely too mid-tempo for my taste though. Frankengirl is lots of fun with its Dr Frank cameo, Baby Talk is a fucking great song and Little Big Man is horrendously catchy though it does feature probably the worst lyrics on the album.

Lyrically, my favourite part of Screeching Weasel was the way that they'd often deal with a serious issue or emotion in a cartoonish fun way, like My Brain Hurts or Kathy Isn't Right which isn't really done here to any significant extent. The songs that aren't fun inoffensive silly ditties are stringently 'anti-punk' anthems, which I don't have a problem with on a broad conceptual level as a significant aspect of punk rock is recognising the failings of your own scene and puncturing dogma and preciousness with giggling bile (and there are plenty of great songs about it like Electro Hippies' Am I Punk Yet? or Propagandhi's Back to the Motor League, Turkish Techno's Meth Not Meat, Screeching Weasel's very own Slogans etc.), but Ben Weasel doesn't do it here in that sort of scattershot 'I don't know who's right but you're fucking wrong' entertainingly sarcastic way, he does it in a patronising 'I am right! WHY CAN'T EVERYONE BE MORE LIKE ME?' way. He may be an outsider but it smacks of someone who's on top applying downwards pressure rather than lone misfit doing it with upwards pressure, which aways soils that sort of thing. That just might be my extracurricular knowledge of who he is tainting my interpretation of the songs though, but that's how it comes across to me. I did read a recent interview when he was talking about how he deliberately cultivates the persona and sometimes gets annoyed when people can't recognise that but the act of consistently pretending to be an arsehole probably is in itself an arsehole thing to do. Also, his voice has somehow got MORE nasal.

Like I said, it's alright.

ReducerSF (March 15, 2011)

I loved this album. After being 11 years out of the courts, to me this is an awesome comeback.

JayTee (March 15, 2011)

Wisconsin Republicans are stoked.

Chadreligion (March 15, 2011)

Ben Weasel wants you to Ben Dover.

ThoughtAboutThrowingUp (March 15, 2011)

Ben Weasel's gonna Ben Weasel, get over it.
This record is really good.

drunkwithpower (March 15, 2011)

Sounds tired and forced. You would never guess these guys have been at it for 25 years.

pito (March 15, 2011)

What could we expect from a guy who endorsed Sarah Palin and find the time to throw shit at the the fest or punk rock bowling...

Make_Way (March 15, 2011)

I think this will be one of the Screeching Weasel albums I just turn on and listen to mindlessly, no need to delve into the lyrical content too much. I dug the majority of this album the few times I've streamed it, and I can easily say a few songs here and there could have been trimmed from the final track listing, but overall, a great listen.

facetofacereunion08 (March 15, 2011)

Didn't do much for me on first listen...but will give it another shot. I feel like I have grown out of SW a bit...used to love them

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