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Fugazi - Steady Diet of Nothing (Cover Artwork)

Fugazi

Fugazi: Steady Diet of NothingSteady Diet of Nothing (1991)
Dischord Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: HamishHamish
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Fugazi has long been one of my favorite bands, but I was always a bit suspicious about picking up this particular CD. I had all their other albums (aside from the Instrument Soundtrack), but Steady Diet of Nothing just never leaped out at me. I had heard too many Fugazi fans refer to it as the "we.
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Fugazi has long been one of my favorite bands, but I was always a bit suspicious about picking up this particular CD. I had all their other albums (aside from the Instrument Soundtrack), but Steady Diet of Nothing just never leaped out at me. I had heard too many Fugazi fans refer to it as the "weak album." One day I finally broke down and purchased it. My only regret is that I didn't ignore the fans and pick it up sooner. Is it as good as most of their catalogue? Probably not. Is it weak? Hell no! Just because it's not quite as good as Repeater or Red Medicine, that doesn't mean that it's still not fucking incredible. Even at their weakest, Fugazi still blows away 99.5% of bands out there. And no, that's not hyperbole. I know that most of you who haven't heard Fugazi's music still hear about the band all the time. You hear about how they never compromise, how they're incredibly influential, how they just keep knocking out great album after great album. You probably get annoyed and assume no band could possibly be as good as people make Fugazi out to be. That's where you're wrong, they're even better.

If you haven't heard the band before, I'll try to summarize their sound. Take a really great drummer and bassist, playing complex but fairly orthodox rhythms. Then add two guitarists on top of that. They play really complex parts, refusing to just go with simple riffs and instead play unpredictable and unexpected things. Not only that, but they guitars are played in odd ways, making crazy sounds that you've never before heard a guitar play. And both of those guitarists are singers too, one with a gruff voice who either talks calmly or yells as the top of his lungs, and one who sings very flamboyantly. The lyrics are abstract and usually complex, and you have to read them multiple times to figure out just what they're talking about, but when you do, you realize just how smart and insightful they are. And over their 15 years together, Fugazi refuses to stay stagnant. Instead of writing for an audience, they challenge themselves, always expanding their style and trying new things. Their music is not "punk" or "hardcore" in the accepted sense. Fugazi doesn't write genres, they write music. The only problem with Fugazi is that you usually have to listen to their albums a couple times before you "get" it. If you don't like it at first, listen a couple more times and it will hopefully sink in.

This brings us to Steady Diet of Nothing. A lot of people say it's mellow. I fail to see this. Yeah, there are slow parts, but there are also lots of noisy, distortion-parts. In a lot of cases, the band seems to be going for a quiet/loud dynamic. And as usual, crazy guitar parts are abound. But for the first time in Fugazi history (circa-1991, that is), there are weak songs. Not painfully weak, but certainly not all that memorable. "Polish" is the one song (from an album) that Fugazi has refused to play live. It's not bad by any means, but it's not all that interesting either. "Reclamation" has a great opening guitar bit, but the verse is pretty dull and Ian's vocal delivery is not his best. And "Nice New Outfit"? That track just irritates me. The guitar part doesn't do anything and Guy's vocals just don't work. "Latin Roots" has some nifty guitar parts, but fails to make an impression. Four out of eleven songs being dull, you might think that this is not a great album, but that's where you'd be wrong. The rest of the record is fabulous. "Exit Only" starts the album out fast and furious with some amazing guitar interplay and Guy's vocals are soul-searing. "Long Division" is dark and brooding with some of Ian's best lyrics. And did you hear the bass and drum work on that one? Mother of god! "Dear Justice Letter" starts along well enough and then it hits the jaw-droppingly great chorus. The vocal interplay between Guy and Ian is top notch, not to mention the cool part where Guy rolls his R. Every Fugazi album has that part where you just go "wow!" and that is it. Not to mention Ian's "fuck you" to the Gulf War, "KYEO." The way the guitar gets more and more intense blows me away every time. And to make to save time, we'll just say that "Runaway Return" and "Steady Diet" are great.

If you've never heard Fugazi before, this is not the place to start. For the most part it's amazing, but the weak spots keep it from being a good introduction to the band. For that, I suggest Repeater. And 13 Songs is really accessible in comparison to their other work, so I suppose that's also a good place to start. I would rank the albums: 1) Repeater 2) Red Medicine 3) End Hits 4) The Argument 5) 13 Songs 6) Steady Diet of Nothing 7) In On the Kill Taker. So to sum it up, yeah it's got weak spots. But it's also got some absolutely incredible parts. In fact, the majority of the album is incredible. If you love Fugazi already, get this album ASAP.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Fugazi - 13 SongsFugazi - The ArgumentFugazi - Repeater + 3 SongsFugazi - In On The Kill TakerMinor Threat - Complete DiscographyFugazi - End HitsFugazi - Red MedicineDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeThe Clash - London CallingRefused - The Shape of Punk to Come

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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.
Anonymous (June 1, 2004)

best song here is KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN and it's one of the best fugazi ever realeased, the rest of it is "spotty" at best.

AnaMorph0sIs (January 6, 2003)

This album disappointed me at first, but after listening to it 4-5 times it started growing on me. Having listened to Fugazi for 3 years now, this one is actually the album I most frequently listen to.

Anonymous (December 30, 2002)

Fugazi, being the pioneers that they were, still are, and will always be, are allowed to put out mediocre albums just because no matter how sucky they are compared to their past albums, they are still better than everyone else's best albums. But I'm not going to lie and say that this album wasn't disappointing.

Anonymous (December 30, 2002)

I DO wake up and think "I need to listen to some Fugazi". The new album is good for the mind. It is almost tranquilizing.

Anonymous (December 30, 2002)

Great album, but i like in on the killtaker better-oldpunker-

waste_elite (December 30, 2002)

instrument is a documentary of fugazi through the years. there's live footage from older and newer shows (one highlight is the show in some gym where guy leaps up and pulls himself through a basketball hoop, classic), interviews, fan reactions, little arty refrains, studio footage, and a view into the day to day life of the band. very imformative and highly entertaining.

Anonymous (December 29, 2002)

This is my only Fugazi album...

It's very very good but I don't wake up in the morning and think "I need to listen to some Fugazi". I'm thinking I need to buy "13 Songs" with my Xmas money.

Anonymous (December 29, 2002)

And for the ice cream eating motherfucker part, quite funny.

Anonymous (December 29, 2002)

Fugazi is a good panda.

howard (December 29, 2002)

The instrument dvd is pretty good. It's a bit on the long side, and a bit arty at times, but it's definitely worth buying, especially to laugh at the guy who thinks that Ian MacKaye acts like a "rock star."

Anonymous (December 29, 2002)

this is my favorite Fugazi album. i guess i'm one of the few

evildeadalive (December 29, 2002)

What's the instrument dvd like?

waste_elite (December 28, 2002)

fugazi is the type of band that takes a while to "get" so to speak. after you get hooked, this stuff will blow you away. one of the best, most creative and interesting bands still around, no question about it.

repeater is still my favorite, followed closely by 13 songs and in on the killtaker. the argument was excellent as well, these guys still got it.

everyone needs to buy the instrument dvd if you haven't already...

Anonymous (December 28, 2002)

amazing band. one of the best ever!

fave song ; long distance runner

Anonymous (December 28, 2002)

this is one of the best reviews i've read on this site. every review should be like this.

anyway, i have this cd but im reluctant to listen to it. fugazi seems some what inaccessible to me. i think im gonna try 13 songs before i try this one.

-reEko

Anonymous (December 28, 2002)

fugazi means other things. You notice how every vietnam or WWII movie has a phrase that means things are fucked up and its never the same?

Fugazi is an actual word, a nonslang word. Ive heard ian define it 5 different ways.

BrandonSideleau (December 28, 2002)

Fugazi means "fucked up situation" and the letters stand for Fucked Up, Got Ambushed, Zipped In- no shit, it's true read the site. Ian got it from a book he read called "Nam".

Anonymous (December 28, 2002)

Why is this on here? I've never heard of this band. Fugazi? Are they Japanese or something? What kind of name is Fugazi? Who the hell do these guys think they are? I think they could learn a couple of things about punk rock if I lent them my Minor Threat, Rites of Spring, and Embrace records.

Vien (December 28, 2002)

Fugizzle my nizzle.

Hamish (December 27, 2002)

End Hits does not suck, it just takes FOREVER to sink in. But once it does, it really sinks in. Oh wow. But seriously, all you Fugazi haters, listen to their stuff more. It takes a while. I guarantee you'll love them after multiple listens. As for In On the Kill Taker being my least fav, it has some AMAZING songs (Last Chance For a Slow Dance, Sweet and Low), but I think it overall isn't as memorable as the other albums. I still really like it though.

maverick (December 27, 2002)

I've heard every song Fugazi has ever recorded, save some of their newest album and EP, and the *only* song that stuck to me was "Arpeggiator." That song rules. Everything else by Fugazi has done nothing for me.

I still respect them immensely, however. They define "DIY."

-Scott

Anonymous (December 27, 2002)

End Hits sucks dude. In On The Killtaker is so much better.

BrandonSideleau (December 27, 2002)

Songs like "The Kill", "Strangelight", "Life & Limb" and "Nightshop" were so cool on the last album, mezmerizing. But yes it did have to grow on me. Once it does you will find the music absolutely masterful.

Anonymous (December 27, 2002)

Good review, but i can't believe In On The Killtaker is your least favourite! Oh well, you're entitled to your own opinion, but damn son.

Anonymous (December 27, 2002)

Long Division is such a fucking great song.

TahoeJeff (December 27, 2002)

these guys kind of had to grow on me..I like 13 songs and red medicine though

Anonymous (December 27, 2002)

eh, i've never been a huge fugazi fan. sure i like some of their work but i don't see how amazing these guys are. maybe i should give them some more listens and it will sink in.

BrandonSideleau (December 27, 2002)

I love the newer album "The Argument", and this album is great too.

evildeadalive (December 27, 2002)

I personally cosider this to be one of their best.
Damn fine review.
In On the Kill Taker last??!!!
Thomas has bad taste in music.

Anonymous (December 27, 2002)

Fugazi is not as good as everyone says they are. The only album I like is 13 songs. I'll give that album a 7 on a 1-10 scale. Also, Repeater is crap. I'll give that a 2. I have never heard this album, but if it is considered weak then I will pass.

Thomas

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