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Fugazi - Red Medicine (Cover Artwork)

Fugazi

Fugazi: Red MedicineRed Medicine (1995)
Dischord Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


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

I will forego an introduction to who Fugazi are and what they have accomplished in their eighteen year-long career. If you don't know them, you should. If you are interested in learning, a quick search on Google should provide you with more than enough information. I'll leave it at that. Red Medi.
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I will forego an introduction to who Fugazi are and what they have accomplished in their eighteen year-long career. If you don't know them, you should. If you are interested in learning, a quick search on Google should provide you with more than enough information. I'll leave it at that.

Red Medicine is an album of transition. This is a band finding that they have grown as much as they possibly could inside of one genre and begin to wander outside of it into the stormier waters of experimental noise while simultaneously attacking the multi-headed beast known as pop. The grandfathers of post-hardcore are starting to get a bit older here and the lyrics and musicianship show that they are beginning to feel the effects. From the noisy intro of "Do You Like Me?" to the slowly unraveling guitar work at the end of "Long Distance Runner," this is Fugazi trying to bridge the gap between hardcore and just about every other kind of rock music. They largely succeed.

The musicianship on display here is absolutely phenomenal. Guy and Ian show that they are just as proficient with more subdued guitar playing as they are with the recklessly noisy kind. Joe's bass gives almost every song a groove that you just can't help but move to. Brendan's drumming continues to be a work of precision art, never succumbing to the temptation to abandon rhythm for flash. All of this is topped by some of the band's most interesting lyrics. Part stream of conciousness, part political rant, lines like "Your eyes / like crashing jets / fixed in stained glass / but not religious" ("Do You Like Me?"), and, "It's cold outside and my hands are dry / skin is cracked and I realize / that I hate the sound of guitars / a thousand grudging young millionaires" ("Target") are always delivered with passion and style to spare. Guy's sometimes creepy, sometimes vaguely effiminate singing is the perfect counter to Ian's gruffer talking and shouting. Bassist Joe Lally even steps up to the mic for the excellent "By You."

The only faults I can really find with this album are the sequencing and the song "Version." I'm sure this track was very fun to record, but it is not very fun to listen to after the first time. I almost always skip it. The song is just three-and-a-half minutes of noise punctuated by violent blasts of what sounds like a saxophone. The sequencing also puts all the aggressive tracks at the beginning and end, leaving all the more ambient pieces in the middle. These are only small qualms with a particularly intriguing album though. Red Medicine has a lot to offer. The entire album is pervaded with a sense of uncertainty, and on some songs, such as "Forensic Scene" and "By You," it even gets a bit creepy. When all is said and done, this is one of my favorite Fugazi albums and I highly recommend it.

 

 
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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.
bigsmilemagazine (July 14, 2010)

Check out this interview with Fugaziís Ian MacKaye http://www.bigsmilemagazine.com/review.php?id=1045 from 1999 never been read online by the public.

misterspike (July 4, 2008)

In On The Kill Taker is still my all-time favorite Fugazi record. But, I have to say that Red Medicine has grown on me with each listen. For me, this is where Fugazi started to really make their musical progression more evident -- a trend that would continue for the rest of their recorded output.

Fugazi fans should check out the page of free Fugazi bootlegs (approved by the band!) on The Internet Music Archive. Great stuff.

deadelectromix (January 12, 2008)

It's actually a clarinet, not a saxaphone.
(Guy plays clarinet, which makes that instrument about 10x as cool in my eyes)

thurstonXwhore (February 13, 2007)

Best Fugazi album to date. Oh, wait.... No, yeah, best Fugazi album to date.

Anonymous (February 15, 2006)

reviewer is gay.

Russe11 (November 26, 2005)

The Argument was actually my first Fugazi cd. I only liked "Epic Problem" the first few times I heard it, but after about the 6th or 7th listen I fell in love with the whole album.

kenfuggit (October 13, 2005)

"There are two kinds of people in the world: those that get Fugazi and those that don't. I feel sorry for those who don't."

There are two kinds of people in this world, those idiotic enough to believe that there are only two kinds of people in the world, and the rest of us, who know better.

-Ken

(if you can name the reference, I'll give you mad literary points)

Anonymous (October 13, 2005)

sorry just liked the 13 songs and Repeater albums Fugazi then became more and more uninteresting, but those first Fugazi albums and Embrace still do a lot for me.....

ElVaquero (October 11, 2005)

Definitely agree on the "creeper" comments. I bought The Argument fairly soon after it came out and I didn't pick it up again until I got hooked by "Waiting Room" and the rest of 13 Songs. You definitely have to listen to each album a handful of times before the awesome becomes apparent.

GreenVandal (October 11, 2005)

""Bed for the Scraping" may very well be the best Fugazi song ever."

Amen! Score is for that song.

homie (October 11, 2005)

While not their best album, it is still pretty great. They are one of the few bands that truly got (get?) better with time. There are two kinds of people in the world: those that get Fugazi and those that don't. I feel sorry for those who don't.

sickboi (October 11, 2005)

"Bed for the Scraping" may very well be the best Fugazi song ever.

poopypants (October 11, 2005)

ah, i commented before reading...good job mentioning the sequencing, its my biggest beef w/ the album too (the flow as i said)

paul

poopypants (October 11, 2005)

i only have 3 fugazi albums and this is my least fav of the 3.

i LOVE end hits
the argument is damn good

this one is cool but i dont know...it doesnt do for me what end hits and the argument does...seems kinda unbalanced and doesnt flow as well

paul

Anonymous (October 10, 2005)

"Wow, your 'tough guy' stance makes your opinion much more formidable"

um, tough guy stance? wow, get your head out of your ass. i am pretty sure he was just saying that he isnt afraid to admit it, because he isnt afraid of the pissy fanboy reaction he usually gets from people like you. the good music police.

GreenVandal (October 10, 2005)

I really want the instrument DVD.

The first Fugazi album I bought was repeater like 3 years back (I think...) and I didnt like it at all for the first couple of listens. But around the 6th time, it just clicked. There is not a single song on that record that I dislike. The 3 songs portion definetly weakens the package, but that album just fucking owns, and proves to me that this is a badn that takes time and patience to enjoy.

You wont hear it all on the first spin, but recurring listens will unravel a much greater sound that you didnt hear at first.

Least thats how it worked for me.

Russe11 (October 10, 2005)

I love this album. And if you haven't seen the Instrument dvd yet, you really need to. It's definately my favorite documentary and probably my favorite dvd I own.

Anonymous (October 10, 2005)

"I do not like Fugazi. Whatsoever. And I'm not afraid to admit it."

Wow, your 'tough guy' stance makes your opinion much more formidable. However, I just can't understand your undying adulation of the Fugazi-lite At The Drive-In.

Anyway, judging by the crap you've posted glowing reviews of on here over the past few years, I am not at all surprised. Fugazi might be a bit too "cerebral".

Anonymous (October 10, 2005)

scotts an ass

Anonymous (October 10, 2005)

The comparison is more on their influence than their music or their ethics... I think they both kind of defined a new way of thinking about music that was not completely original, yet recognized on such a global scale that they're the epitomes of it. While Fugazi definitely don't have the influence-by-numbers of the Beatles, I think they are kind of the Beatles of the underground.

-Will

david_arquette (October 10, 2005)

That's the thing about Fugazi. If you don't like them, you at least have to respect them.

-David Arquette

lushj (October 10, 2005)

"I don't know... I kind of see Fugazi as the 80's answer to the Beatles..."

In what way?

P.S.- I also admire Fugazi's determination to do whatever they want musically, even though the music is not my thing.

Anonymous (October 10, 2005)

"If you just take them for their music, though... You either like it or you don't"

wow. what insight

Anonymous (October 10, 2005)

This band definitely isn't the awesomeness most people make them out to be, but I think it says something when a group with a large following sticks together for so long without compromising their artistic integrity or buying into big business.

If you just take them for their music, though... You either like it or you don't. There's quite a bit to choose from, but their sound is never soft enough to be hooky in a pop sense.

I don't know... I kind of see Fugazi as the 80's answer to the Beatles...

-Will

lushj (October 10, 2005)

"I do not like Fugazi. Whatsoever. And I'm not afraid to admit it."

Hello Scott! Welcome to the 'org's "Abivalent About Fugazi Anonymous" group. There's a few of us out here in the ether. I like their business ethics, but musically, eh.

off_the_fucken_map (October 10, 2005)

yes they most definitly have the creeper effect. im glad they finally infected me cause i cant get enough.

Anonymous (October 10, 2005)

The Argument is by far the best album ever laid to tape.

Anonymous (October 10, 2005)

"Version" is better than Magic Johnson in 1988.

Mr_Pink (October 10, 2005)

Fugazi has a creeper effect on some people. Try them again down the road.

ElVaquero (October 10, 2005)

Agreed. 13 Songs is completely undeniable.

Anonymous (October 10, 2005)

scott scott scott...man fugazi is where its at and where its been and where its going. listen to 13 songs. cant be denied.

maverick (October 10, 2005)

This was the first Fugazi album I heard. My brother and I were driving somewhere and he put this in the car stereo. I think I was, like, 14. I hated it.

A good number of years later, I was helping my brother move into his house before another year of college started. At the time, he was listening to his entire CD collection alphabetically, in order to do a bit of spring cleaning on the non-essentials and whatnot. When we got in the car, Franklin's self-titled record was ending, and in went the first Fugazi album. Over the next two days, I heard every single Fugazi album from start to finish, all the way up through the middle of The Argument.

The only song -- the only song -- that stuck out in my mind was "Arpeggiator."

I do not like Fugazi. Whatsoever. And I'm not afraid to admit it.

-Scott

corpseofmymotivation (October 10, 2005)

Does anyone else find Fugazi boring as all fuck?

I did for years, but then I picked up this album and realized how great they are.

BrandonSideleau (October 10, 2005)

Fugazi BORING????? Damn dude, what have you been smokin'? I can think of only a few more intense bands.

GreenVandal (October 10, 2005)

Repeater is really fucking awesome, but I listen to this and The Argument more then it...I havent heard end hits or steady diet of nothing yet, so I'm going to reserve judgement of my favorite until I know em all.

13 Songs should not be underestimated either.

kenfuggit (October 9, 2005)

Does anyone else find Fugazi boring as all fuck?

-Ken

Anonymous (October 9, 2005)

I think this album is the start of their "late period" and the three last albums--this one, End Hits, and The Arguement--are one awesome, complete work. This CD got me interested in Fugazi again, as it fell off a ton after "Repeater".

Can we all agree that "Repeater" is Fugazi's best?

--Cos

awkward (October 9, 2005)

jesus christ i'm stupid.

awkward (October 9, 2005)

what the fuck? i rated it 5 stars. internet getting spooky on me again.

awkward (October 9, 2005)

man oh man, this album has some amazing tracks. my definite favorite being "combination lock"... how can an instrumental be so catchy? i cannot just listen to it once. repeat is the only option.

GreenVandal (October 9, 2005)

I think they will release one more record and do a final show before they break up. I mean, they are only on hiatus and they are obviously still writing songs (well, Ian is anyway).

I think they will be done by next year, but they will go out with a bang rather then the whimper associated with all other dischord band implosions.

All I know is that when that final show in D.C. is eventually announced, I will be on a plane within 10 minutes and nothing will stop me from getting into that club.

All speculation of course...but a man can dream cant he?

darkstarm (October 9, 2005)

this has always been my least favorite of their 7 major releases. it is a very transitional record. some of the stuff on here is just plain fucking weird. but then again, it's still fugazi, and they're still the best. it kills me that i'll never get to see them live.

GreenVandal (October 9, 2005)

"Bed for the scraping" is so fucking awesome. I dont know how I failed to mention that. The two intertwining guitar parts remind me of Mega Man music. Delicious.

Anonymous (October 9, 2005)

I think 'End Hits' is good, but not great. It's got stuff like 'Break', 'Five Corporations', 'No Surprise', 'Arpeggiator', but a lot of it doesn't stick.

'13 Songs' is a current favourite...

superdude (October 9, 2005)

This was a pretty good review, but here's how I would make it better:

1. This is not a Fugazi review

2. The reviewer should mention how they rip off Minor Threat

3. The review should review it within the context of communist propaganda. It is after all, the Red Machine.

4. The only faults I can find are the San Andreas faults

clamum (October 9, 2005)

Good review.

Haven't heard that much Fugazi but I think I'll have to check them out.

ElVaquero (October 9, 2005)

this album is good

Godfather (October 9, 2005)

this is one of their best

gladimnotemo (October 9, 2005)

Hot damn. This is probably my favorite Fugazi record right now.

Anonymous (October 9, 2005)

love this album. do you like me, forensic scene, combination lock and long distance runner are my favs here, but i enjoy the whole thing. i've even come to like version. i also like the part in the instrument movie where guy cuts his hand while doing the crazy guitar sound at the end of by you and him and ian start screaming.

i rank the fugazi albums:
1) repeater
2) end hits
3) red medicine
4) the argument
5) 13 songs
6) in on the kill taker
7) steady diet of nothing

Scruffy (October 9, 2005)

I agree that the first four songs are some of the best they've written. This was the first Fugazi I bought, and, honestly, I didn't buy more for a while after that. But I bought it because of the first song. Awesome.
I wish I would've bought Repeater first. At least I didn't buy End Hits first. The only song I like a lot on there is Five Corporations.

GlassPipeMurder (October 9, 2005)

you don't need to click 'i'm feeling lucky'.

Anonymous (October 9, 2005)

"1. google search type: failure
2. click im feeling lucky
3. enjoy"

wlcome to like 5 years ago dude

Anonymous (October 9, 2005)

I enjoy End Hits and Arguement more than the rest.

joeg (October 9, 2005)

still good but my least favorite fugazi album as well. 13 songs or argument would be my fav.

elliot (October 9, 2005)

yeah, this is probably the least accessible fugazi album. seems like a lot of the people who got into them in the early 90's because they thought they were a cool "grunge" band got waaay bummed out when they heard red medicine. and that rules.

adam (October 9, 2005)

This always struck me as a really harsh sounding record. I haven't spun it in a while but my overall impression is that it's a pretty cacophonous, uneasy, mean album (yet interesting for those reasons). Personally, The Argument (or if you want to get really specific, that and the "Furniture" single) are my favourite Fugazi works.

-adam

BrandonSideleau (October 9, 2005)

what can i say....Fugazi's awesome

Anonymous (October 9, 2005)

1. google search type: failure
2. click im feeling lucky
3. enjoy

AlmostPunkEnough (October 9, 2005)

This is my least favorite Fugazi album.

i agree. but that's not saying much since they're all pretty great.

ghostmonkey (October 9, 2005)

without shadow of a doubt, greatest live band i have ever witnessed. not my favourite fugazi lp though, In On The Kill Taker takes that spot.

Anonymous (October 9, 2005)

awesome!

TheOneTrueBill (October 9, 2005)

This is my least favorite Fugazi album.

corpseofmymotivation (October 9, 2005)

One of my favorites.

GreenVandal (October 9, 2005)

I can never pick a favorite Fugazi album...but the first 4 songs on this one are four of the best songs they have ever written, and hearing them back to back to back to back is great. The rest is incredible as well, but those first four are just killer.

At the moment, I like this one better then the Argument, but my opinion on that changes like every other day so yeah...

Russe11 (October 9, 2005)

Oh, and to answer your question..The Argument. Its just a fucking classic. However this is also an essential album to fully understand the progression of fugazi from album to album.

Russe11 (October 9, 2005)

I love fugazi so much. If there was ever an award for an always proggressing, yet consistant band, fugazi would take the cake.

Anonymous (October 9, 2005)

I'm always interested to check out Fugazi material, only having heard 3 or 4 albums. Like Vandal was saying, some of the tracks they recorded of "noise" are actually pretty annoying, but there's always hidden gems n in each album. Which is a better purchase, this album, or the argument?

-Not-To-Regret

Damn Oilers!

colin (October 9, 2005)

i still prefer 13 songs but fugazi's fukcin good.

then again i' drunk sa sfuck so i doubt theyd approve.

Anonymous (October 9, 2005)

Ill do it for you,
First!

Fugazi knows whats up.

-Sirens

GreenVandal (October 9, 2005)

Yup. I wrote this one too.

Should I say first?

Nah.

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