Minutemen - Paranoid Time (Cover Artwork)


Minutemen: Paranoid TimeParanoid Time (1980)
SST Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

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

A group of guys from the working class area of town played a show with a rising new band called Black Flag in 1980 in San Pedro, California. This group of guys was Minutemen, and Black Flag's guitarist and SST's founder, Greg Ginn, was impressed. He asked them to record a single for the fledgling re.
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A group of guys from the working class area of town played a show with a rising new band called Black Flag in 1980 in San Pedro, California. This group of guys was Minutemen, and Black Flag's guitarist and SST's founder, Greg Ginn, was impressed. He asked them to record a single for the fledgling record label and Paranoid Time was born.

This was SST Records' second release, and fit perfectly in a catalogue next to Black Flag's Nervous Breakdown EP. Paranoid Time matched its predecessor's intensity and creativity. Much like Black Flag, Minutemen were in the process of changing the meaning of punk rock. Their music broke from the distorted buzzsaw power chords and started moving in a slightly funkier direction. D. Boon used higher treble levels than anyone in the punk scene at the time to give the music a higher tone and jazzier sound. Mike Watt used his bass for more than a rhythmic anchor; the bass lines hop and bounce, giving the music greater depth. Drummer George Hurley stood out above many of his peers in the indie rock scene, using beats slightly more complex than the standard D-beat. And while the music was complex, it wasn't pretentiously so. There are no solos to be found on this album. Like Wire, Minutemen let the music stand on its own, instead of using it to show how great its maker is.

Lyrically, the album shared a lot with its punk contemporaries. The songs all dealt with the paranoia of growing up in Cold War America and of the impending Reagan administration (though I guess they didn't know that was impending at that point). But unlike their hardcore peers, Minutemen didn't take the easy way around these issues. The lyrics were abstract explorations of these issues, not straightforward tirades. The songs demanded your attention in order for you to understand them

This EP is infinitely important to independent rock. There is no excuse not to own 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.
dimsim3478 (October 9, 2010)

This is one of the few releases I can honestly give a perfect score to. Sure, the Minutemen are unusual (which means that it takes a little while to warm up to their music), but once you start to get Minutemen fever, it completely consumes you! With that short and fast style of hardcore, as well as the maturity of a politician, Minutemen have clearly stood out as one of the best hardcore bands of all time. Having said that, they are not very hardcore at all... The band plays a very experimental style of punk, incorportating elements of many other genres.

"Paranoid Time" consists of those 7 great songs over the course of a fun-filled 6 minutes and 31 seconds. Begin with the simple and artistic "Validation" and ending with the anti-war chants of "Paranoid Chant", this EP is a must listen for any fan of any type of rock. D. Boon is an amazing guitarist, with these funk/jazz/punk-ish style guitar chords under his nice vocals. Mike Watt, the band's bassist, plays these catchy little bass riffs throughout the EP, while ol' Georgy Hurley is drummin' around in the background.

"The Maze", the second track on the album, features a strong example of Mike Watt's bass guitar skills, while "Definitions" is really the most artistic song on the album, starting with D. Boon singing (with a little bit of Watt's bass in the background) and escalating into a great punky outro. "Sickles and Hammers" is probably the worst song on the EP, but is still a very good instrumental song. The classic anthem "Fascist" is one of the band's most famous tracks, and you can definitely see why when you listen to it. The EP then gets to "Joe McCarthy's Ghost", a song that really depends on the chorus. All I can ever think about when I listen to that song is chorus, which is simply "Joe McCarthy" sung repeatedly by Watt and Boon. Finally, the EP closes with "Paranoid Chant" which features those legendary lyrics:

"(Watt and Boon screaming) PARANOID... (just Boon singing) SCARED SHITLESS..."

As you can see from all that I've had to say, this is a must-listen release that with guarantee satisfaction (maybe not on the first listen, but you'll get there...). A perfect score from me!


teeto (April 27, 2008)

Since spring hit I've been rockin' "two nickels on the dime" in the car every day(theres so many songs I don't even know em all yet)

briennis (April 24, 2008)

i thought about writing a review of this that said "if you cant find something to love about this ep, you should probably wikipedia 'punk' and learn a thing or two."

Torgo (April 23, 2008)

God.... so legit.

mattramone (April 23, 2008)

An auspicious start for one of the best bands ever to play rock music, period. If you've not seen it, We Jam Econo is cr00sh.

DrGunn (April 23, 2008)

such a fun EP. really shows what they were capable of and promises a lot of things that (unlike most bands) they would deliver on in later releases.

but don't buy this by itself (unless you're getting the vinyl), get post-mersh vol. 3 which has this plus a bunch of other minutemen EPs and the politics of time LP. way more bang for your buck.

defianceohioequalslove (April 23, 2008)

Talk about an underrated band. One of the greatest bands ever, no question.

GlassPipeMurder (April 22, 2008)

Ordered this on interpunk last year but it was sold out. Still haven't got it, but score is for the Minutemen, one of the best punk bands ever.

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