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Propagandhi - How To Clean Everything (Cover Artwork)

Propagandhi

Propagandhi: How To Clean EverythingHow To Clean Everything (1993)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Ahh, Propagandhi. Trouble makers, rabble rousers, vegans, feminists, pacifists, socialists; more liberal than anyone you've ever met. All that good stuff. We love 'em for it, because it's like an extreme version of us. But we can't forget about how great their music is, even from the start. I've .
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Ahh, Propagandhi. Trouble makers, rabble rousers, vegans, feminists, pacifists, socialists; more liberal than anyone you've ever met. All that good stuff. We love 'em for it, because it's like an extreme version of us. But we can't forget about how great their music is, even from the start.

I've always prefered early Propagandhi for its classic Fat Wreck approach, and as one of the first bands on the label, they helped define that sound before abandoning it for more hardcore and metal horizons. While I think Less Talk, More Rock is their best, How To Clean Everything shows the band heading towards that perfect mix of politics and comedic with a technical and diverse punk backing.

"Anti-Manifesto" smashes you in the eardrums with lighting fast strumming and muting by leader Chris Hannah and a killer speedy beat by Jord Samolesky. And how classic is the "By the way I stole this riff (*shreds*)? Love it. Then, rounding out the trio is our beloved John K. Samson, in his first of two albums with the group before forming The Weakerthans. But you all knew that, right?

Clean shows the young Canucks at their most juvenile and crass in their political rants and the most silly in their other tunes. It makes perfect sense: Main vocalist Hannah was only 20 when he and the band wrote the songs. "Ska Sucks," for one, is hysterical, being a ska song about the ska revival not being "cool, you stupid fucks". Complete with an ironic "oi!", goofy laughter and the hilarious "A message to you rudie / Fuck you rudie!, it's one of the most unabashedly fun and youthful songs in the Propagandhi canon. They used this irony again in "Hallie Sallase, Up Your Ass," a reggae song critiquing rastafarianism. It's a more serious track though, a minor key "fuck you" to all faiths and extremist thought (besides their own...haha), ending in a chorus of "Fuck religion! "This Might Be Satire" is exactly that, with pop punk as the target. That said, it's a catchy as hell silly teenage love song with a sinister date-rape twist. Then there's the comedy sprinkled in the politics. From the title alone, you know "Shove The Flag Up Your Goddamn Ass, You Sonofabitch" is gonna be an awesome and fun anti-Americanism cut, first cursing out his own dad. THEN I'M GONNA SHOVE IT UP YOUR FUCKING ASSSSSS!

"Head? Chest? Or Foot?" might be my favorite song on the album. It embodies what I loved about Propagandhi. Angry yet fun, technical without losing the pop element. They lost this balance with Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes, though I have loved everything they've done. "Who Will Help Me Bake This Bread?" has my favorite line on the album: "You can rearrange my face but you can't rearrange my mind", though it's hard to imagine anyone ever beating up Chris Hannah.

The harsher, political jabs are distilled nicely by Samson's softer vocal style and more romantic and introspective lyrics. His "Girls with the greenest eyes / The first time you had kissed" peeks up between Hannah's verses in "Showdown (G.E.P.)". The juxtaposition between the two may seem striking now, but when the record was new, I loved the brief break from being shouted at by Hannah. "I Want You 2 Vant Me," an obvious cover retitled to get around copyright perhaps (paging John Gentile...), is fucking fantastic and another good breather from the serious stuff. They do so much with the song and take it in a bunch of different directions, ending with a silly a cappella coda about a girl named Megan. And then a bunch of "fucks" to end the album.

How To Clean Everything is my second favorite Propagandhi album after Less Talk though I know opinions vary widely regarding the band. It captured their youthful energy perfectly and their budding technical chops showcased perfectly on the next album. A classic album all around by a great and important punk band, and a perfect example of what "the Fat Wreck sound" used to mean.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Propagandhi - Failed StatesPropagandhi - Supporting CastePennywise - Unknown RoadCobra Skulls - AgitationsScreeching Weasel - Anthem for a New TomorrowNOFX - Punk In DrublicOperation Ivy - Operation IvyDillinger Four - Midwestern Songs of the AmericasPropagandhi - Potemkin City LimitsDead to Me - African Elephants

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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.
nicknocturnal (July 6, 2013)

They never toured? I saw them in Denton Fucking Texas in 1996 when Less Talk, More Rock came out...that's a pretty long ways from Canada. Saw them again in Austin, Texas in 2001 after Today's Empires, Tommorrow's Ashes came out. Maybe you didn't see the flyers.

greg0rb (July 6, 2013)

I walked around with a Mohawk unironically for most of the last half of the 90s. Does that count?

elliot (July 5, 2013)

I assume anyone who has heard every Propagandhi record, yet still says this one is their best, is the type of guy that would still wear a mohawk unironically.

1776 (July 4, 2013)

What's amazing is how good this album is, and how it's good in a pretty totally different way than the also-great Supporting Caste.

telegraphrocks (July 3, 2013)

Good album, but I'm glad they don't sound like this anymore.

...really glad.

woodprop (July 3, 2013)

Probably my favourite album growing up. I don't know if I'd feel the same about it if it was written today as widespread access to mp3's has ruined my musical attention span, but it holds a special spot.

nocontrol (July 3, 2013)

stop comparing this album to ones they put out 10 years later, thats stupid.this album introduced me to prop and its one of my all time favorites. great fucking record.

davebrave4 (July 3, 2013)

Seriously great review. Touches on all the album's most memorable moments. And it's reassuring to see that gregorb does in fact listen to at least a little punk.

rabbit (July 3, 2013)

whenever i think of propagandhi i think ''but wait a minute dad... did you ACTUALLY say freedom?'' and a little part of me dies

strumz (July 3, 2013)

still the best for me

sometwo (July 2, 2013)

Also, I appreciate how punknews times out one's comments after a mere 5 minutes or whatever. Ensures everyone's comments are sufficiently punk-stupid.

sometwo (July 2, 2013)

A fun album for sure. As I've aged I've realized just how sloppy and untechnical the album is though. Listen to it back-to-back with NOFX's White Trash, released a year earlier, to really hear how embryonic Prop is here. Still, it is a classic angsty slopfest. Just because they were young, it don't mean they were wrong.

I've recently thought of it as the 'Straight Outta Compton' for 90s suburban punx.

publichousingv2 (July 2, 2013)

Favourite band ever ever ever. I used to think HTCE was a blemish on an otherwise perfect discography, but I've come around to it lately. Fun album.

mikexdude (July 2, 2013)

Elliot:

They didn't tour that much until later on. That's from the horses mouth. There's a really good oral history on the internet somewhere. Four or so years ago I hated this band, now I consider them among my favorites. Funny how life works.

eazyd2 (July 2, 2013)

the only good progapanadi album. fuck all their other emo lesbian bullshit

daveyjones (July 2, 2013)

my favorite prop record, by far.

levidolphin (July 2, 2013)

This is by far the worst record from my favorite band. It makes me really sad when someone screams out "play ska sucks" after they just got done playing something from Failed States.. People are so fucking retarded.
Potemkin > Failed States > Supporting Cast> Todays Empire> everything else

gugl0003 (July 2, 2013)

"A band that tours isn't a real band, maaaaaaaan." - somebody who has never expressed themselves artistically or made any money in their life.

elliot (July 2, 2013)

Hi, I've seen Propagandhi twice in the last four years. What exactly are you talking about?

mikexdude (July 2, 2013)

He's mad because he lives in Cincinnati. I would be too.

FelixT (July 2, 2013)

You mad bro?

HorshackeelONeill (July 2, 2013)

Less Talk, More Rock was shit besides the Jesus Saves, Gretsky Scores tune. The moment I heard that minute and a half rant on the Shell Corporation, I was like, "fuck these guys". Yeah, I'm sure they were buying all their gas for their tour van exclusively from mom and pop gas stations. Oh wait, that's right, they never toured. Bands that put out records but deprive their fans the opportunity to see them live are not real bands. Just a studio act. Might as well listen to fucking Lawrence Welk. Loved the first record and a few cuts off of Todays Empires, Tomorrows Ashes, but other than that, meh. Overrated fucking crybabies. I'm gonna go eat a burger, have a milkshake and go pump $50 worth of Shell petroleum into my vehicle. Thanks for listening fucktards.

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