FYPM - Dumbed Down (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Dumbed Down (2017)


Dumbed Down is another fantastic album from minor hardcore legend and Cleveland native Tony Erba (9 Shocks Terror, Face Value, Cheap Tragedies). It’s the second LP from the singer’s most recent project Fuck You Pay Me, and it might remind you of a cross between the NYC hardcore of Agnostic Front and the streetpunk/hardcore of Atlanta’s Anti-Heroes. Musically, it’s consistently raging and aggressive. Lyrically, it’s angry, confrontational and not at all politically correct. Of course, the vocals are delivered in Erba’s familiar, gruff shout.

Dumbed Down is a little on the short side for an LP with nine songs clocking in eighteen minutes, but FYPM does manage to cover a lot of ground in that brief time. The title track starts things off and acknowledges that we do seem to be getting dumber in this country. It’s only the first of a handful of pissed off diatribes. “Ammosexual” sets its sights on America’s gun culture. “Dark Side of the Spoon” rants against the evils of heroin. “Steubenville City Limits” talks about the folly of Ohio’s sports obsession and its unfortunate consequences.

Some of the songs take an even darker, more philosophical bent. “Opt Out” discusses suicide as the ultimate form of defiance. “50 White Dudes with Machetes/Crisis Actors” is the most ambitious song on the record. It takes on the macho culture of hardcore and briefly features a tongue in cheek ‘major label COC’ riff. Not every song is deathly serious. “Douche Chills” and album closer “You Hate Me and I Hate You” add a little bit of bitter levity. There’s also plenty of sonic diversity between the individual tracks, which is no small feat in hardcore.

There are definitely things on this record that may offend the sensitive, but you know, they have the word fuck in their band name. They sort of warned you. Ultimately, in this day and age their hostility seems justified. FYPM is a band made up of veteran hardcore guys, and it shows. They all graduated from the school of hard knocks, and the rage comes across as very genuine. Dumbed Down is a powerful album full of catchy, pummelling songs. It will likely be one of the best hardcore LP’s of the year. If hardcore is your thing, you should jump on this.